It is not unusual in the first couple of weeks after having a baby to experience nipple soreness when the baby latches on to the breast. If nipples are sore to begin a feeding, but the soreness gets better as the feeding goes along, the baby is probably latched on correctly. This type of soreness with get better with each passing day.
Some of the discomfort is because as the baby latches onto the breast it takes a little time for the sucking of the baby to tell the mother’s body to let the milk flow from the breast. In the early days this may take a couple of minutes, during this wait between baby starting to suck and let-down of milk, there is a vacuum created and this is what makes you want to clench your teeth and curl your toes. (1) As your body gets conditioned to having a let-down, the let-down will happen almost immediately when the baby starts to suck and this discomfort will diminish.
Getting used to a baby sucking at the breast takes some time, but you can speed the learning process. The most important way to avoid discomfort is to make sure each time baby latches on to the breast that they have their mouth open wide before you latch them on. If you have seen them cry or yawn, you know they can do this.
- Mannel, R, Marten, PJ, Walker, M, Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice 3rd edition, Burlington, MA, Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2013, p 309.