Hey, That Hurts!
Your breasts have never been subjected to the jaws of a hungry newborn before, so for most moms, it hurts in the beginning. But cracked, bleeding nipples and constant pain are a signal that you need some help; your baby may not be latched on correctly. A lactation consultant can help correct your baby's latch through positioning and exercises, and she can also offer advice on how to heal your nipples.
Sometimes nursing pain is caused by an infection called mastitis, when bacteria enters the breast and multiplies in a milk duct. If you have it, the infected area will become hot and red, and you'll also suffer flulike symptoms. Nursing, safe antibiotics, and warm compresses help heal the infection.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2004.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.