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Thread: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

  1. #1
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    I'm experiencing nipple soreness in the evening during cluster feeding. I can get through an hour total on each side before the soreness becomes too much and I turn, I become frustrated. My 4 week old cluster feeds over a 4-6 hour period with very short breaks. I don't have any discomfort during the day and his latch is good. I do have and use a silicone nipple shield but I've heard mixed things. I only introduce the shield when the pain is too much. We've had no problems with refusing breast or weight gain. Am I making things worse by using a shield or is this an acceptable short term sanity saver until we get through this phase?

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    I think it's ok to use a nipple shield if that is helping. especially as it sounds as if you're not using it all the time? The major concern with nipple shields is that it can reduce milk transfer and consequently milk production overtime. Assuming baby is getting plenty of milk and you are only using the nipple shield occasionally, this should be okay. If you find your using the nipple shield a lot you would probably need to pump as well as nurse in order to ensure continuing good production for the future.
    The question is why is the shield needed? Shields are designed to help a baby latch who cannot latch. They are not really designed to be used for nipple pain. However some others do use them for that successfully. I understand you're using it for pain that's not what I mean I mean why is there pain? Cluster feeding is a normal part of breast-feeding. baby should be able to nurse as much and as long as a normal baby would without causing pain for the mother so the fact that you were having pain suggest latch is not quite there even if it looks good generally and baby is getting enough milk. It could be that latch is off just enough to be causing this issue.
    When a mom has nipple soreness due to long feedings, the first thing I wonder is if positioning needs adjustment. Have you tried laid-back breast-feeding? Or sidelying? Are you using a breast-feeding pillow? Sometimes these are very helpful but other times they can cause baby's mouth to be at an odd angle at the breast which can cause nipple soreness.
    For shortening the long feedings, have you tried breast compressions? While there is nothing wrong with long feedings assuming baby is gaining normally, if they are causing you pain trying to find ways to shorten them a bit may be helpful.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; February 12th, 2014 at 10:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    I do think there is an underlying latch issue. I mainly feel the need to use the shield on the left side. I'm using a nursing pillow while seated upright with a bolster under the nursing side for support so his head isn't drooping down. The nipple pain is on the underside and left side of the left nipple. When he releases, that side of the nipple is slightly flattened while the right side of the nipple is still round. I have tried laid back nursing several times but I have very large breasts and his face gets smothered in them. We have also used side lying but this seems to increase spit up frequency even with frequent burping. I'm wondering if I may benefit from an in-home LC visit.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    I think basically any mom can benefit from a visit by a good board-certified lactation consultant. You also may find that your local La leche league leader will do a home visit (some of us do) and that would be free.
    When I've helped mom's with large breasts, sometimes they feel more comfortable with the laid-back position if they are not laid so far back. All laid-back means is that you are reclined rather than sitting straight up or hunched over-the recline can be very slight.
    One nice thing about laid-back is that it is a position that facilitates bringing baby to the breast at many different angles. If you are continuing to have injury in the same area, it might help to bring baby to the breast at a different angle so that baby's mouth is positioned differently part of the time.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    Also nipple injury is a much more serious issue then spit up. I would not worry too much about spit up at this point it's pretty normal. So if side lying is helping you feel more comfortable especially if you only do it on that one side or some of the time, it still might be something to consider doing.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Also nipple injury is a much more serious issue then spit up. I would not worry too much about spit up at this point it's pretty normal. So if side lying is helping you feel more comfortable especially if you only do it on that one side or some of the time, it still might be something to consider doing.
    I believe I have a bleb! Small, painful white spot on left nipple. Working through the tips in womanly art of breast feeding! I'm surprisingly relieved to discover this!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    Blebs can really hurt but yes they do explain nipple pain and of course can be 'treated' so I understand feeling relieved to discover what the possible source of the problem is. The tips in the womanly Art of breast-feeding are very helpful. Kellymom.com also has a good article on treating blebs (milk blisters) and friction blisters, which are different and also hurt.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nipple soreness during cluster feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Are you using a breast-feeding pillow? Sometimes these are very helpful but other times they can cause baby's mouth to be at an odd angle at the breast which can cause nipple soreness.
    how can I tell if the angle is causing a problem?

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