Ouch! All those serene photos of mothers and babies lovingly staring into each others’ eyes didn’t prepare you for this! But it’s ok mama. These home remedies for breastfeeding pain will help your nips feel better soon, so you can enjoy your breastfeeding journey.
I’ve been there. You want to enjoy those first few weeks of having a squishy newborn, but nursing just isn’t going how you planned. It hurts! So bad. You’re desperate for some home remedies for breastfeeding pain so you can get some relief.
It’s ok to feel a little defeated like you want to quit… like maybe breastfeeding just isn’t for you. But for most moms, the sore (or maybe bleeding, blistered, and raw) nipples can be solved so you can become a pro breastfeeder in no time.
I remember when I had my first baby and I didn’t know what the pain was from, or how to solve it. I went through a lot of trial and error to figure out how to breastfeeding my babies more comfortably with home remedies for breastfeeding pain. These are the tips that worked for me, and I’ve now breastfed for a combined 7+ years!
Of course always check with a professional like a lactation consultant if you are having issues with breastfeeding.
(And just a heads up, this post might contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase something I recommend.)
Check Your Latch to Relieve Pain While Breastfeeding
Usually when you have pain when breastfeeding it can be traced back to the latch. Ensuring that your baby is latching properly will not just reduce your pain, but also help ensure your baby is nursing effectively, emptying the breast of milk, and getting all they need.
To get all the details on a perfect latch, you can check out this post with step-by-step instructions for getting a good and comfy latch.
But to boil it down to basics, you’re going to want to make sure the baby is getting as much nipple into their mouth as possible when latching, including a good bit of the areola. If the only part in the baby’s mouth is just the tip of the nipple, they are definitely not getting a deep enough latch.
Take a Breastfeeding Class to Learn More and Troubleshoot
When I was first breastfeeding I read books, did research, and combed through everything breastfeeding group I could to get answers. I wish there was a virtual breastfeeding class I could have taken, but now there is!
Milkology was created by a certified lactation educator and mom of 3, and is available online anytime to learn at your own pace. There is even a pumping class to become an expert at pumping milk.
Experiment with Different Nipple Balms to Ease Nipple Pain
Most of the time, sore or painful nipples can be chalked up to a bad latch, but even once that latch is corrected you might still have painful nipples while they are healing. A good nipple balm can be a life-saver when it comes to continuing to nurse while your nipples are healing from any type of blisters, cuts, or just general discomfort.
I personally love lanolin, but some moms swear by coconut oil and I’ve even tried balms made with my own placenta. (Yeah I know it sounds weird.) There’s a ton of choices on Amazon, so go with whichever sounds like it will work best for you with ingredients you are comfortable with.
Ideally get a few different kinds to see which works best for you. I’ve even tried healing creams like Neosporin on my nipples while my baby slept (and was sure to wash it off before nursing) to help aid in healing.
Get Some Cooling Gel Pads to Reduce Pain and Swelling
These are not one of the products I’ve personally used, though tons of moms swear by them. If you can purchase some like these they can be used both for cold and hot relief, meaning they can be used to treat a lot of different causes of pain while breastfeeding.
The actual worst pain I had while breastfeeding was from mastitis, which a lot of moms will get at some point. Heat can be a great tool and one of the best home remedies for breastfeeding pain because it helps move clogs out of milk ducts. But also don’t hesitate to talk to a lactation consultant or your doctor if you suspect mastitis because it might require antibiotics.
Give Your Nips Some Air to Help Heal them While Breastfeeding
When your nipples are healing from scratches, cuts, blisters, bites, and the like, sometimes it’s best to just rub a little of your own breastmilk on your nipples and let them air dry.
So many times you just shove your breasts back into the bra right after nursing, but letting them air dry after nursing or pumping can help the healing process. Think about how when you have any cut you have to balance covering it with bandages and airing it out to get it to dry. It’s the same with any nipple cuts or blisters.
One of the most simple and easiest home remedies for breastfeeding pain.
Try Salt Water for Healing Bites or Blisters on Nipples
This is in my opinion, THE BEST breastfeeding tip for pain if you are hurting from cuts or other wounds.
My babies were all biters when firs getting teeth, especially my daughter.
When she was getting her top and bottom teeth she got me so many times with those sharp little chompers that I literally spent a week almost crying every time she nursed. It was brutal… I still have scars on my nipples.
Until I learned about saltwater dips, which turned out to be one of the must know home remedies for breastfeeding pain.
Just dissolve salt in some warm water and dip your nips in it for a few minutes. It is absolutely amazing how quickly this can speed up healing. Make it a self-care moment by taking an Epsom salt bath. That’ll help you relax and feel a bit better and doubles as one of the most comforting home remedies for breastfeeding pain.
Take a Break and Pump While Nipples Heal
If you are ok with giving your baby a bottle or perhaps finger/syringe feeding, then consider taking a break from nursing and pump for a day or two while trying some home remedies for breastfeeding pain.
During times when my boobs were just done (and I was done mentally) I would switch to pumping and bottle feeding for part of the day.
There are risks of nipple confusions and supply drops if your baby or you are not used to pumping. But pumping can also totally save your breastfeeding relationship and journey if you’re about to throw in the towel.
You can have a lot more control over pumping than your baby’s movements and whatnot when they are nursing. This means you can take it easier on yourself and heal.
It’s not the right choice for everyone, but something to consider and maybe talk to a lactation consultant about as one of many home remedies for breastfeeding pain.
Have Baby Assessed for Tongue and Lip Ties
Tongue and lip ties are being found more and more in babies who have latching and breastfeeding issues. One of the top signs of a tongue or lip tie is soreness or pain when breastfeeding.
There are a lot of dentists, pediatricians, and even lactation consultants who aren’t really well trained in identifying them.
I suggest finding a support group used to helping identify them and seeking out a local provider they recommend. I know the Cleavage Club group on Facebook has been helpful to a lot of moms, and the lactation consultants in there can help assess for ties. Plus lots of moms have home remedies for breastfeeding pain there.
See an IBCLC or In-Person Support Group for Help with Breastfeeding
Sometimes you just can quite troubleshoot a problem on your own.
You might want to specifically find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The difference between an IBCLC and other lactation professionals is the level of training.
IBCLC training is quite in-depth and there are rigorous standards. Other lactation certifications are not necessarily as thorough, which is why I suggest seeing an IBCLC specifically if you are not finding solutions.
Another option is to find a group of nursing moms with experience, like the La Leche League, where you can find local chapters. Sometimes someone who has been where you are is the best ally and will have more home remedies for breastfeeding pain that are perfect for your situation.
What is the fastest way to heal sore nipples?
The best of the home remedies for breastfeeding pain that I’ve tried is salt water dips if you have cuts, bites, or blisters on your nipples followed by a thick layer of lanolin. Simple soak your nipples in warm salt water for a few minutes, dry them completely, and apply lanolin or your favorite nipple cream.
How do I get a pain free latch?
Ensure baby is opening their mouth as wide as possible by placing your nipple on their upper lip, when they open wide make a nipple sandwich by smushing down gently an inch or so behind your nipple, and then pull the baby toward you while getting your nipple as far in their mouth as possible. For more on getting a good latch, check out this article.
Does baby still get milk with a bad latch?
Maybe. A poor latch can lead to your baby getting less milk, which can then lead to you producing less milk too. That’s why beyond comfort, it is essential to get a good latch. Get help from a lactation consultant if you are concerned, and you can always try a weighed feeding to see if your baby is getting enough milk. This is where your baby is weighed before and after a feeding to see how much milk they drank.