Painful breastfeeding


Pain when breastfeeding can be caused by various causes, which can come from the woman or the baby.

However, even at the beginning of breastfeeding, severe pain is not common, so a doctor's visit is recommended in these cases.
In the meantime, however, pain when breastfeeding in the puerperium is so widespread that it is considered normal by many laypeople and sometimes even by specialist staff.

A increased sensitivity of the nippleswhich is not a cause for concern are harmless in the first few days to weeks after the birth of the child and do not occur in every woman.
Also a tingle or a sense of warmth are not initially cause for concern.

These sensations are a sign of the Milk ejection reflex and thus a completely natural process.


Pain while breastfeeding can have various causes, such as incorrect positioning of the baby, or Cleft lip and palate to have.
In some cases, too bacterial, or mycotic Infections the reason.

Some infants also have a pronounced one Milk ejection reflexwhich can cause discomfort in the mother.

If such symptoms occur, it is advisable to have them clarified by a competent person.


Pain when breastfeeding, which is extremely uncomfortable, with other complaints such as fever go hand in hand and / or exist over a longer period of time, should be from a midwife and / or one Gynecologist to be clarified.

If you experience pain while breastfeeding, an inspection of the breast and nipples should be carried out to check for possible infections different shape of the nipples, Hematomas or Rhagades (Skin cracks) to exclude as a pain trigger.

In addition, the Oral cavity of the newborn, since the cause of the pain can also be found here.
In addition, a competent person, such as the midwife, should observe the creation of the newborn. In 80% of cases, the wrong fitting technique is the cause of the pain when breastfeeding.
In these cases the application technique should be optimized.

The so-called asymmetrical application technique procure.
Furthermore, the breast, including the nipples, should also be viewed shortly after the newborn is placed and for possible changes, such as deformed nipples, be respected.

If the cause is not directly visible, a palpation examination of the breast and a blood test can be helpful in establishing the diagnosis.


Are there injuries to the Nipple tissue before, there are some tricks you can use to relieve the pain it causes.
To do this, you can spread the last drop of breast milk or the baby's saliva on the nipple and then let it air dry.
This usually helps better than Wool wax. The application of Gel pads to cover the nipples or a Nipple protection in the bra procure.

In severe cases, only one can Breastfeeding break Get a remedy, as only taking a break will help heal the damaged nipples.
During this time the breast should be emptied, for example with a Breast pump guaranteed. This further stimulates milk production and it is possible to feed the infant with the breast milk obtained.

Wrong or correct application technique?

The most common cause of painful breastfeeding is improper donning technique.

Therefore, learning how to put them on correctly is an important part of breastfeeding. The problem here is often that the infant has not grasped enough breast tissue with the mouth and thus primarily sucks on the nipple itself.

However, for optimal breastfeeding, the child must also suck in a large part of the areola. If the baby is ideally positioned, no pain should be perceptible in the area of ​​the nipple and no smacking of the baby should be heard. If you can hear smacking, there is air between the mother's nipple and the child's mouth, which can irritate the sensitive breast tissue and cause pain while breastfeeding and sore nipples.

Read more about sore nipples at: First aid for wounds

However, pain during breastfeeding can occur despite the correct application technique. For example, the infant itself can cause pain when breastfeeding by using a different suction technique.
Mention should be made here of sticking the tongue, for example.
The concept of tongue-sticking combines several infant behaviors. This includes, for example, pushing out the nipple at the beginning of breastfeeding or when the flow of milk decreases.

Deviations in the area of ​​the infant's oral cavity, such as a shortened tongue or a changed shape of the palate, can also cause pain when breastfeeding.

Please also read our page Problems in breastfeeding in the child.

The shape of the mother's nipples can also cause pain during breastfeeding. These include, for example, flat or inverted nipples and inverted nipples.
In some cases, women who are breastfeeding can perceive the milk ejection reflex, in which fine muscle contractions push the milk towards the nipples, and find it uncomfortable or even painful. Puerperal mastitis, an acute bacterial inflammation of the female mammary gland, which usually occurs in the 2nd to 4th week after birth, can also trigger the pain when breastfeeding.

You might also be interested in the topic: Aids in breastfeeding

Chest thrush

Major discomfort while breastfeeding can also be caused by a Fungal infection be conditional. This is caused by the yeast Candida albicans triggered and in technical jargon as Chest thrush or. thrush designated.

The breastfeeding woman usually complains about a fungal infection itchy, burning and sore nipples.
In addition, the skin around the nipples and the areola can be reddened, scaly and cracked be and whitish Have deposits.

The Immune System of the Infant is usually able to prevent the yeast infection from spreading. In infants with a restricted function of the immune system, the fungal infection can be transmitted and thus a Infection in the mouth of the infant (Oral thrush in babies) come.

Immediate treatment of the thoracic thrush should be given. Usually this is done with the help of locally applied creams / gels with a antifungal agent.
With this therapy, the symptoms should improve significantly within a few days.

Woman's nipple shapes

In humans there are several natural ones Nipple variants.
A distinction is made between so-called Flat or inverted nipples from Inverted nipples.

Flat or inverted nipples can be pushed out by applying light pressure to the areola. In addition, a flat or inverted wart usually improves in the course of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Very few women have a inverted nipple that does not have a nipple. Even women with a special natural nipple variant can breastfeed their child with the correct positioning technique and a good breastfeeding position.

To ensure this they should professional help get, at best already during pregnancy.
It is important that in the case of children of mothers with special nipple variants first no pacifiers and Feeding bottles should be used, as this can lead to the rejection of the differently shaped maternal nipple.

Duration of pain

The increased tenderness of the nipples is usually from not long duration and should be within less weeks disappear after breastfeeding begins.
The perception of the milk donation reflex, for example in the form of a tingling sensation, is usually quite pronounced in the first few months of breastfeeding, but becomes less over time.

Consequences of pain

Painful breastfeeding can affect mother-child bonding.

Generally, pain is a Stressful situation for the human body and ensure the release of various Stress hormones such as adrenaline.

These stress hormones mean that all activities that do not contribute to flight or survival are no longer supported. In stressful situations, this also increases the release of hormones that are important for breastfeeding, such as Oxytocin or Prolactin placed in the back.

The woman's behavior is also influenced by the pain when breastfeeding. Due to the pain stimulus, the infant is removed from the breast or the breastfeeding woman takes one Relieving posture one that can ensure that the newborn cannot grasp the breast ideally.

This in turn means that the infant has a lesser amount of Breast milk and thus the production of breast milk is stimulated to a lesser extent.
Of the delayed milk flow In addition to the pain, it causes increasing frustration and insecurity for women, which can lead to problems with breastfeeding worsening.

In addition, the pain can also have a negative impact Mother-child relationship to have. These are mainly due to the limited release of the above-mentioned hormones, which normally ensure that the mother feels feelings of love and happiness towards her child.

Physical reactions can also be triggered by the pain when breastfeeding.
These include, for example internal tension, one limited immune defense and a accelerated pulse. Due to the pain when breastfeeding, this actually very intimate moment can no longer be enjoyed by mother and child.

Pain from teeth

Babies usually teething at very different times.
Generally, the first tooth breaks around the age of six months by. Many babies who are breastfed already have teeth without biting their mother.

Biting while breastfeeding can have several causes. Your child may want to bite something around you Pain in the jaw reduce when teething.

In this case a Teether Take remedial action before or after breastfeeding. Also one decreased milk production can encourage the baby to bite.

In this case you can try to stimulate the flow of milk before breastfeeding. The mother's screaming in pain can arouse curiosity in the baby and make it bite again to see if it can provoke this reaction again.

Some children also bite when they do fall asleep. If this is the case, the baby should be removed from the breast before dozing off. Biting in older babies can also be caused by boredom.