Sore nipples are by far the most common issues lactating parents experience. The first step is to check the latch and experiment with different nursing positions. In the meantime, you can apply some of your own breastmilk, nipple cream, extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil on your nipples to aid in the healing process. Add a little then gently rub in the nipple and surrounding area. Another option is to purchase hydrogel pads or Silverettes (pure silver has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties). When using hydrogels, please follow the instructions on the package for proper cleaning and do not use them if the cause of nipple soreness is thrush/yeast infection.
If after trying to fix the latch the issue persists, contact an IBCLC or healthcare provider to figure out the cause of your sore nipples. There can be many reasons for sore nipples such as poor/shallow latch, baby’s oral restrictions/structure, or infection. In general, breastfeeding should not be painful long term.