Healthy living

Caring for your nipples when breastfeeding

  • Do not use soap or shampoo on your nipples.
  • Harsh abrasive conditioning or treatment of nipples is not required.
  • If you think your nipples are flat or inverted, seek advice.
  • If your baby is correctly attached at the breast you shouldn’t experience any discomfort.
  • After each breastfeed, express a few drops of milk to smooth over your nipple and allow to dry. The milk moisturises the nipple and provides a protective barrier against infection.
  • Change your nursing pads if they become wet through.
  • If your nipples are tender, sore or damaged, it is important to seek assistance. Purified lanolin may be applied to nipples, using a cotton bud, if they are sore.
  • Always handle your breasts with clean hands.
  • Causes of sore nipples can be related to any of the following:
    • poor positioning of your baby
    • tongue-tie (when the 'string of tissue' attached to the tongue is short and restricts the tongue’s movement which may affect breastfeeding)
    • infection
    • skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema 
    • vasospasm (tightening of the blood vessels in the nipple).
  • If your nipples become damaged, express milk to feed your baby while you seek assistance from a lactation consultant.

Where to get help

Breastfeeding Centre of WA

  • Counselling and appointments 8.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday
  • Phone: (08) 6458 1844
  • More information about Breastfeeding Centre of WA

Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)

  • National Breastfeeding Helpline available 24 hours, 7 days a week
  • Phone: 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268)
  • Visit the ABA website (external site)

Ngala Parenting Line

  • Phone: (08) 9368 9368 – 8.00am to 8.00pm 7 days a week
  • Outside metro area – Free call 1800 111 546 (free from land line only)
  • Visit the Ngala website (external site)

You can also:

Breastfeeding Centre of WA

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

See also

Link to HealthyWA Facebook page