Breastfeeding can be one of the joys of being a new mom. It can also be painful sometimes. For most women, there is a remedy for this discomfort, and there is no reason to stop nursing. In fact, nursing may even relieve the pain.
There may be many reasons why your nipples or breasts are sore, including the following:
* Incorrect latching by your baby -The most common reason for sore nipples is that the baby is not latching onto your nipple correctly. With a little practice, you can correct this at home. Your baby should open her mouth widely and take in a wide area of your areola, the circle of dark skin around your nipple. Your nipple should be in the back of your baby’s mouth.
* Thrush -Thrush is a common infection caused by a candida fungus often called yeast. Yeast thrives on milk and in warm, moist environments. Your baby may also have thrush. Check her mouth for white spots on the side of her cheek.. Speak to your doctor about over-the-counter medications. Some medications for yeast infections should NOT be used on your breasts, so ask before you begin treatment.
* Engorgement- Your breasts may become engorged or full of milk and fluid. This usually occurs after delivery when you milk is first coming in, but it can happen any time you delay breastfeeding. Nursing or pumping (if you cannot be with your baby) will usually relieve this discomfort.
* Plugged or clogged milk ducts- Sometimes your milk does not drain completely and a duct can become clogged. Try applying moist heat to the area and gently massaging it. Be sure to continue to nurse on that side.
* Mastitis- Mastitis is a mild infection that may be caused by a persistent clogged milk duct. To resolve the pain, apply moist heat to the area, gently massage it, and continue to nurse on that side. If the pain persists or if you have a fever or chills, contact your doctor. You may need antibiotics.