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Why Your Nipples Hurt and Scab During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Full Guide of 2023

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Why are my nipples scabbing during pregnancyYour poor nipples, chapped and dry, their once smooth surface now rough and cracked. Your new baby, so sweet and needy, latches on eagerly yet clumsily. The aching soreness you feel as your little one feeds is challenging but temporary, soon subsiding as you both adjust to this new nursing rhythm.

Guidance is provided here with medically sound information, compassion for your struggle, and hope for an easier breastfeeding experience in the future.

Key Takeaways

  • Improper latching techniques and tongue-tie can restrict tongue movement and cause nipple friction and damage.
  • Anatomical factors like flat or inverted nipples can make latching properly difficult and lead to nipple scabs.
  • Excessive nursing sessions can overstimulate nipples and cause cracking, thickening, and scabbing.
  • Harsh fabrics, tight bras, and breast pumps that don’t fit correctly can create friction on nipples that lead to wounds.

Leading Causes of Nipple Scabs

Leading Causes of Nipple Scabs
Poor latch technique can cause friction and damage. Evaluating how your baby latches and addressing any issues is important. Tongue-tie, which restricts tongue movement, may also impede proper latching. Assessing for tongue-tie and considering clipping if present can help.

Certain anatomical factors like flat or inverted nipples can complicate latching as well. Identifying any anatomical components causing problems allows you to find solutions. Overstimulation from too much nursing time per session or inadequate healing between sessions can further irritate nipples.

Limiting nursing sessions to a reasonable duration and spacing them appropriately aids healing.

Regularly analyzing latch, checking for physical factors like tongue-tie, and avoiding overstimulation through proper nursing patterns can help prevent and treat sore, cracked nipples during pregnancy.

Poor Latch

Improper latching can chafe you. Check positioning and consult a lactation specialist for tips on getting a deeper latch. Sore nipples from clothing friction or bra irritation raise the risk of infection.

Use lanolin pads inside your bra to protect. Seek help adjusting nursing techniques to avoid painful cracks leading to nipple soreness or mastitis. A lactation consultant can offer solutions to improve the latch and prevent further damage.


You’re tied up by a restriction that causes pain. Gentle patience and care can loosen binds over time. Anatomical variations like tongue-tie may impair latching, leading to chafed nipples. Seek help from a lactation coach to improve positioning and technique. Wear loose bras, use gentle cleansers, apply soothing compresses.

With a trained professional’s guidance, persistent self-care can ease discomfort until freer function returns.

Anatomical Issues

Latching difficulties can chafe you, so keep nursing comfortable with lanolin and loose tops until you get the hang of it.

  • Check for nipple shape variations.
  • Practice different holds and angles.
  • Use a shield if needed temporarily.
  • See a lactation consultant for positioning.

Some nipple types make proper latching tricky. Be patient finding comfortable positions, use lanolin cream and soft fabrics for now. With practice and pro tips from a specialist, you’ll get baby latched perfectly.


Frequent chafing against fabrics can really murder your poor nips. Minor abrasions from gentle touching or clothing irritation are common triggers of nipple pain. Cracked nipples and flaky skin result from pumping issues, massage techniques, or just sensitive nipple tissue and skin changes.

Rest assured these are normal, especially if you nurse frequently. Prioritize soft, loose tops and pump briefly to give those sensitive nips a break.

What Do Cracked Nipples Look Like?

What Do Cracked Nipples Look Like
Those sore, cracked nipples might appear pink or red, with raised ridges or cracks across the delicate skin.

  1. Darkened areolas or scabbing on the surface
  2. Bright red, shiny skin from inflammation
  3. White patches from thickened skin
  4. Discolored yellow crusting of oozing wounds

Variations in nipple color, texture, and damage reflect issues like infections, anatomical challenges, or friction from nursing. Tracking changes over time provides insight. Working with lactation specialists and using preventive measures helps avoid progression or complications.

Persistence and patience lead to solutions. Focus on the joy to come. This too shall pass.

How to Treat Cracked Nipples During Pregnancy

How to Treat Cracked Nipples During Pregnancy
Using an organic nipple cream can provide soothing relief for cracked nipples. Look for lanolin-free options to avoid irritating sensitive skin. Apply after each feeding and allow your nipples to air dry before putting your bra back on.

Adjusting your breastfeeding position can take pressure off sore areas. A lactation consultant can assess your posture and suggest tweaks, like holding your baby with a different arm or using a pillow to elevate your infant.

Focus on getting a deep latch so your baby takes in more breast tissue, not just the nipple.

Taking short breaks from nursing gives your skin a chance to heal. Try pumping for one or two feedings per day and bottle feed expressed milk. Limiting feedings to 5-10 minutes on the most damaged side can also provide relief.

With patience and teamwork, you can overcome this temporary breastfeeding challenge. Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream or hydrogel pads to speed healing. A lactation consultant can watch a feeding and recommend positioning adjustments.

Working together, you’ll find solutions tailored to your situation so you can successfully continue breastfeeding.

Use a Nipple Cream

Try massaging some lanolin cream on your breasts in between feeds. This natural moisturizer will be a saving grace. Before and after each feeding, smooth on lanolin to protect. Try using cold gel packs for engorged breasts.

Nurse in a warm bath, then air dry to soothe fissures. Use silicone shields if skin conditions persist.

Adjust Your Breastfeeding Position

You’re gonna want to check that latch, mama. Deep latches prevent cracked nipples. Bring the baby to your breast, aiming their nose to your nipple. Open wide – the baby’s mouth should cover the areola.

The lower lip should be flanged out. Let the baby’s chin touch your breast first, then latch. If one side hurts more, start there next time. Breastfeeding should not be all pain, no gain.

Take a Break

Take a little vacation from feeding, mama bear! Your cracked breasts could use a short break to heal. Give your nipples some tender loving care by pumping and bottle feeding breast milk or formula. This gives your nipples time to heal without the constant sucking friction. Wearing nipple shields or using a breast pump can provide relief too.

A short nipple vacation lets those fissures close up before latching on again. Don’t worry – your milk supply will be okay.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are nipple scabs dangerous for my baby if I’m breastfeeding?

Nipple scabs are not dangerous for your baby when breastfeeding. Focus on proper latch and feeding position. With patience, the scabs will heal, allowing you both to continue bonding during this special time.

Should I stop breastfeeding if my nipples are cracked and bleeding?

It’s advisable to continue breastfeeding despite cracked, bleeding nipples. You can help sore nipples heal by keeping them clean, using lanolin cream after feeds, improving the baby’s latch, and resting your nipples briefly between nursing sessions.

Stopping breastfeeding can reduce milk supply and deprive your baby of important nutrients, so it’s best to push through the discomfort unless a doctor recommends stopping. Varying nursing positions and using nipple shields may also provide relief. With patience and care, most mothers can overcome nipple pain while continuing to breastfeed.

What home remedies can I try for relief from cracked nipples?

Apply breast milk after nursing. Let nipples air dry. Use lanolin cream or gel pads. Wear soft nursing pads inside your bra. Try a nipple shield. Use an ice pack or cold compress for comfort.

When should I call my doctor about my nipple cracks and scabs?

You should call your doctor if the nipple cracks and scabs aren’t improving after trying home remedies for 2 weeks, or if you notice any signs of infection like fever, pus, redness, or swelling. Do not hesitate to get medical advice for severe nipple pain or bleeding that will not stop.

How can I prevent my nipples from getting cracked and scabbed in the first place?

Wear bras and nursing pads made of soft, breathable fabrics. Cotton and bamboo are gentle options.

Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers on your breasts. Avoid soaps and cleansers with harsh chemicals that could dry out or irritate skin.

Apply lanolin cream or nipple balm after each feeding to keep nipples hydrated. Make sure nipples are fully dry before applying any creams or ointments.

Avoid fabrics, chemicals, and environments that could irritate your nipples. Steer clear of scratchy lace, chlorine from pools, and harsh detergents.

Check that your breast pump flanges are the right size for your breasts and nipples.

See a lactation consultant or your doctor if you continue to have severely cracked or scabbed nipples. They can assess for any underlying causes and provide specialized treatment options.

Making some small tweaks to your breastfeeding routine and being vigilant about nipple care can go a long way toward preventing painful cracking or scabbing.


You’ve got this, mama! Even though cracked nipples are uncomfortable—even painful—remember they are temporary as your body adjusts to breastfeeding. Keep practicing proper latch to reduce friction against tender skin. Use lanolin cream and take breaks between nursing sessions to allow nipples time to heal.

If you continue experiencing severe cracking and bleeding, consult a lactation specialist or your doctor for extra help, and know that you are an amazing mom, doing your absolute best for your baby.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.