Skip to main content
Baby Corner logo
Login | Sign Up

Q&A: Why Are My Nipples So Sore?

Shari Bruno, Certified Lacataton Consultant


Q I have a 7 month old little girl named Emily. She has been nursed sinced birth and just recently, every couple of weeks my nipples get so sore, and last a couple of days. I can't hardly stand the pain. Could she be latching on wrong now? I have thought maybe it was teething but she is not biting or anything. I am not ready to quit breastfeeding but it is frustrating when it hurts so bad. Help!!!

A A teething infant is the most common cause of nipple pain after nursing habits have been established. Even if you can't detect any new teeth, your baby's gums may still be sore as they prepare for the teeth and she may be sucking harder because it feels better that way. Not all teething infants bite down so don't discount this being from teething right away. Also, because this is a temporary difficulty it will work itself out so don't despair!

Another thing that might cause you pain could be letting her nurse too long after she's satisfied her appetite. This is very common with older infants who may be eating a variety of foods and cereals that will decrease their need to nurse entirely for nourishment and add to them nursing for the security and pleasure of being close to mom. If this is the case stop her 5 minutes after she stops nursing with gusto and offer a pacifier and cuddling.

Nursing a tired infant will also cause sore nipples as the baby has a tendency to lie back and pull on the nipple. This can be remedied by putting a pillow or other nursing aid beneath your arm to hold her steady, and being aware of her movements while nursing.

While sore nipples can be a hassle, they shouldn't be a reason to stop nursing. Lanolin can help with the pain by putting a comforting barrier over your nipples which will prevent your baby from latching on too hard. This can be bought at any pharmacy and is non-toxic to the nursing infant. Apply after every nursing then place a nursing pad over (even if you no longer need them) to hold the moisture onto your nipples. Also, avoid using any kind of soap on and around your nipples during this time, just plain warm water for cleansing, as this can increase your discomfort. If this doesn't help, you may want to get breast shields which will prevent your baby from pulling too hard on your nipples while she nurses. Give the lanolin a try first though, as this usually works quite well and will help keep you nursing as long as both of you would like to.

Good luck!

Click here to Ask Shari your questions

Shari is the mother of 4, ages 11 months to 13 years. She is a LLL Certified Lacataton Consultant. She provides all mothers who want to breastfeed with information and encouragement.

Related Articles

Treatment & Prevention of Sore Nipples

When to Seek the Help of a Lactation Consultant


Showing 1 - 2 out of 2 Comments
Add Comment or question.

Vanessa Sep 27, 2017 06:07:38 AM ET

Hi, i have a 7 month old who is exclusively breast-fed. he's been nursing more frequently and clamping down on my nipples at the end of feedings. he has no teeth yet but, i've noticed his gums are a bit swollen. my nipples are so sore, it's been a little painful to feed him. couldn't be due to teething. how do i relieve the soreness?

Reply | Report

Ashley May 24, 2012 03:05:56 PM ET

Well i have been breast feeding my 12 month old son and things have been fine up until like a week ago,my breast and nipples have became sore and it hurts some to feed him. i really want to wean him but i am not sure if i am emotionally able to yet. he is my last baby i had a tubal and i guess that's why i am so upset about it....any advice would help. thanks ashley

Reply | Report

Add Comment

You are commenting as .
Please register or login if you would like to be notified by email of replies to your comment.

Your Baby Month by Month
Learn what to expect during your baby's first years with our month by month baby calendar. Choose your baby's age below to see how your baby is developing.

1 Week
2 Weeks
3 Weeks
4 Weeks
2 Months
3 Months
4 Months
5 Months
6 Months
7 Months
8 Months
9 Months
10 Months
11 Months
12 Months
13 Months
14 Months
15 Months
16 Months
17 Months
18 Months
19 Months
20 Months
21 Months
22 Months
23 Months
24 Months

New Today at Baby Corner

Baby Photo Contest - WIN!
Enter your baby into Baby Corner's free baby photo contest for a chance to win prizes!

Baby Photo Contest Home
Upload & Manage Your Photos
See Past Winners!