There are many different adjectives that women could be using when trying to describe nipple pain, including throbbing, cracked, aching, bleeding, itching, peeling, hurting, oozing or sore. About 80%-90% of breastfeeding women experience some kind of discomfort.
Causes of pain in the nipples
In the majority of the cases the pain is caused by suction trauma or incorrect positioning. During the first few days of breastfeeding the nipples could feel tender because the sucking by the baby stretches the tissue of the nipples into his or her mouth.
In case the baby is in the right position, the pain in the nipples should go away pretty soon. When professionals are trying to help women, they usually ask about the position of the nipple in the mouth of the baby and the position of the little one’s body in relation with the body of the mother.
In case the latch isn’t correct, nipple pain could occur because the baby pinches the nipple to get more milk while using the same suction power.
Sometimes the baby pinches the nipple because of anatomical reasons, such as a short frenulum, small mouth, short tongue, receding chin and so on.
In case the pain in the nipples doesn’t disappear or it gets worse, it means that there is something not right. In case the positioning of the baby has been corrected and there is no positive change whatsoever, it means that the source of the problem is something else.
In such cases the possible reasons of nipple pain include sucking problems, improperly positioned tongue, nipple confusion, clenching response or using the breast pump in the wrong way. If the nipples get traumatized, they might be affected by yeast or bacterial infections too.
If this is the cause of the pain in the nipples, then the mother could experience pain even if the latch is correct. There is another cause of the pain that is less common. In this case you should see a white dot at the opening of a duct. It is possible for a clear, white or yellow milk blister to appear.
This also causes nipple pain during breastfeeding. In order to make the condition better, you should breastfeed often and another thing that you could try is to be using warm compresses on the affected area. Also try to take care of your body.
When experiencing pain in the nipples you may be facing the engorgement of the breasts, abscesses or fissures and all this may cause breastfeeding cessation. In this case you should express some milk with your hands to soften the areola before breastfeeding.
If you experience nipple pain when you are stressed or when the nipples are cold then you may be facing nipple vasospasm. In this case it is common for the nipples to look blanched after breastfeeding and they could also change their color to red or blue before they get their normal color back. This can be solved by a hot shower.