Sore nipples can be so painful that women decide to wean. Although some nipple tenderness in the early days of breastfeeding is rather common, breastfeeding in general should not hurt. Nipple pain and sore nipples indicate that something goes wrong.
In most cases sore nipples are caused by improper positioning and incorrect latch or incorrect removal of the baby from the breast. Therefore always turn to your lactation specialist if you experience nipple pain or sore nipples. As soon as the cause for the discomfort is evaluated the problem can be solved. In some cases nipple soreness can be caused by thrush. If thrush is suspected contact your doctor to discuss medication for treating both you and your baby.If the pain is extreme it might be advisable to temporarily interrupt breastfeeding. During such an interruption you must express your milk to avoid engorgement and to keep up your milk production. Your lactation specialist can inform you about breastpumps and hand expression and about alternative feeding methods to feed your baby during this time.
If you want to support the healing process, a topical nipple cream such as lanolin can be applied to the nipple. Moist wound healing is considered the treatment of choice. Avoid any ointment that must be wiped of before feeding the baby. This will irritate the skin even more. Breastshells can help protect sore nipples and hasten the healing process, and nipple shields can also provide temporary relief whilst breastfeeding (always consult your healthcare professional before using these).