What should feel normal?

Your might feel tender for the first couple of weeks as you get used to breastfeeding but this should subside.

It’s not normal for breastfeeding to be painful or for your nipples to become cracked or damaged.

Breastfeeding is a skill that you and baby will learn together as you go. It’s normal to find things difficult at first and during those early days your nipples might get sore if the attachment isn’t quite right. This can usually be fixed by some tweaks to your baby’s latch and a bit of practice.

Breaking the seal

Your baby’s mouth can slide down the nipple during the feed, even if they were originally latched effectively. You’ll see a bigger gap between your baby’s nose and your breast. If this happens, try to unlatch your baby and starting again if you feel uncomfortable during a feed.

It’s better to break the seal by putting your little finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth rather than pulling your baby off the nipple. Your nipples should look the same after the feed. If they look a different shape or colour after a feed this could mean the latch isn’t quite right.

Stopping breastfeeding suddenly can lead to mastitis so try to continue if you can. If it’s too painful to feed on the breast you can book an appointment to speak with a peer supporter who can offer some support and information which may help.

If your baby isn’t feeding at the breast but you would like to continue breastfeeding it’s important to express your milk to maintain your supply. Find out more about expressing your milk here.

If your nipples are damaged or cracked you could try:
  • making sure your baby is attached well at your breast
  • feed from the least painful breast first
  • applying a few drops of breastmilk (breastmilk has some amazing healing properties)
  • using something like petroleum jelly or purified lanolin to help your nipples heal
  • letting your nipples dry fully before covering them up
  • have a peer supporter check your latch for you.

There is lots of breastfeeding support available across Medway. We understand that breastfeeding can be challenging on some days.

If you need to speak to someone please do book a peer support session near you.

Embrace peer support

Use our interactive support map to find your nearest support