Day 4 - Sore Nipples

sore nipples

After four days of breastfeeding I've got incredibly sore nipples. The right side in particular is not going well, and has quite prominent blisters now. They get so bad that the blister pops and I end up getting blood all over my son's face. This is upsetting both because of the pain, but also from the sight of me bleeding all over my little man. There is something inherently wrong with blood all over a newborns lips.

Not sure if you have an infection or a latching issue which is causing you sore nipples or breasts? Click here for 16 different causes of sore breasts and nipples, and their remedies!

This image was reproduced with kind permission from Zen Spa Consulting

I knew that I could expect to be a bit emotional at this time while my hormones were still adjusting to not being pregnant, but I think the lack of sleep and the pain in my breasts is more likely to be the reason. My midwife informs me that my sore nipples should settle down as the milk comes in more fully, as this will mean there's more fluid surrounding the nipple while it's in my son's mouth. I still feel much better after a good cry though.

My midwife also shows me how to use the football hold to feed. I feel really awkward doing this though. My son is so long that I can't comfortably lean against the back of the couch. I will definitely have to practice this hold if I'm going to become comfortable with it.

Thankfully my milk does start to come in today. I'd heard that some women wake up with a lot of breast pain from the sudden increase in size, but I think because I'm still feeding every 1.5-2 hours my breasts don't have the chance to become excessively engorged which is nice. A friend of mine whose daugther was born two days earlier than my little man is having a lot of troubles with blocked ducts, cracked nipples and mastitis. In general this makes me feel pretty lucky, at least I'm only in pain when I'm feeding.

Although I'm not engorged I do catch sight of my breasts in the mirror this night and am pretty impressed. They are so perky it looks like I'm wearing a bra even though I'm not!

Lessons from Hindsight

After having done a lot more research and learning so much from attending some breastfeeding courses designed for lactation consultants and related therapists it is clear to me that my son was not attaching properly.

I had been told a few different things about changing his latch on which really didn't make much difference, and in the end I think probably caused me to have more nipple damage than was really necessary.

Not all nipple and breast pain is caused by latching on problems though, click here for 5 different causes of sore nipples and breasts, and their remedies!

So here are my latching on remedy's for nipple soreness:

  • Detach your newborn if you are having pain and re-attach - DON'T try to fix it while they are still attached.
  • Where possible wait for your newborn to open their mouth really wide
  • Get an idea of what good attachment looks like by watching the latching on videos
  • Take note of the direction your breasts point, they may be different and you might be making it harder to attach on one side by having your baby too far across your body
  • Position your baby with your nipple at the level of their nose so they have to open wide to get it in their mouth - this may mean their head isn't in the crook of your elbow, a newborn's head is quite small
  • Don't restrict the back of their head from tilting back (you can't open your mouth as wide if your head is tilted forwards and neither can they)
  • Try some baby led latch to help improve their breastfeeding reflexes of opening their mouth wide and sticking out their tongue


My Breastfeeding Diary

My First Baby

Feeding Infants - My Son's Birthday
Day 1 - First Days of Breastfeeding
Day 2 - Newborn Breastfeeding
Day 3 - Colostrum - Liquid Gold
Day 4 - Sore Nipples
Day 5 - Milk Production Begins
Day 6 - Co-Sleeping and Breastfeeding
Days 7-10 - Expressing Milk to Improve Attachment
Day 11 - Public Breastfeeding
Day 12 - Cracked Nipples
Week 3 - Symptoms of Mastitis

My Second Baby

Breastfeeding Day 1

Breastfeeding Day 2

Breastfeeding Day 3

Breastfeeding Day 4

Breastfeeding Day 5

Breastfeeding Day 6

Breastfeeding Day 7

Breastfeeding Day 8

Breastfeeding Day 9

Breastfeeding Day 10

Breastfeeding Day 11

Breastfeeding Day 18-23

Breastfeeding Day 24-27


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Looking back, this was definitely a time I should have asked for someone else's help, because the advice I was getting wasn't making breastfeeding any easier for me.

My little guy's poor latch led to mastitis which was awful.

I knew how to treat mastitis and it didn't become a huge issue (see my story here), but it still would have been better to avoid it altogether.

I highly recommend getting some expert advice, and perhaps ask another person if the first doesn't help because getting this bit right now for a small fee of a lactation consultant is much easier and cheaper than paying for formula in the long term.