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Q&A: Sore Nipples From Breastfeeding?

I thought I was committed to breastfeeding, but my nipples are killing me! They are sore, cracked, and even bloody. What can I do?

Don't panic — and don't quit. This is a problem that can be fixed. First, check your baby's latch. When he's feeding, he needs to open his mouth wide and take the entire areola in his mouth — not just the nipple. You might need to tickle his lips or chin before he latches on to get him to open wide enough.

To soothe the pain in between feedings, apply a lanolin cream such as Lansinoh. It's safe for baby, so you don't have to wipe it off before he eats again. You can also try cool gel pads that fit in your bra.

If these remedies don't work, call in the big guns: A lactation consultant who can show you the best positions and techniques. Ask your OB or pediatrician for a referral or check the International Lactation Consultant Association's expert locater.

By Paula Kashtan