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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 12247-12263;

Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding Mothers: Incidence, Causes and Treatments

School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
Breast Feeding Centre of WA, King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women, 374 Bagot Rd, Subiaco WA 6008, Australia
School of Medicine and Pharmacology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paul B. Tchounwou, Jane Scott and Colin Binns
Received: 23 July 2015 / Revised: 10 September 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 29 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breastfeeding and Infant Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [679 KB, uploaded 29 September 2015]


Background: Persistent nipple pain is one of the most common reasons given by mothers for ceasing exclusive breastfeeding. We aimed to determine the frequency of nipple pain as a reason for consultation, the most common attributed aetiologies, and the effectiveness of the advice and treatment given. Methods: All consultations at the Breast Feeding Centre of Western Australia (WA) were audited over two six-month periods in 2011 (n = 469) and 2014 (n = 708). Attributed cause(s) of nipple pain, microbiology results, treatment(s) advised, and resolution of pain were recorded. Results: Nipple pain was one of the reasons for consultation in 36% of cases. The most common attributed cause of nipple pain was incorrect positioning and attachment, followed by tongue tie, infection, palatal anomaly, flat or inverted nipples, mastitis, and vasospasm. Advice included correction of positioning and attachment, use of a nipple shield, resting the nipples and expressing breastmilk, frenotomy, oral antibiotics, topical treatments, and cold or warm compresses. Pain was resolving or resolved in 57% of cases after 18 days (range 2–110). Conclusion: The multiple attributed causes of nipple pain, possibly as a result of a cascade of events, suggests that effective early lactation management for prevention of nipple pain and early diagnosis and effective treatment are crucial to avoid early weaning. View Full-Text
Keywords: breastfeeding; nipple pain; treatments; diagnosis breastfeeding; nipple pain; treatments; diagnosis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kent, J.C.; Ashton, E.; Hardwick, C.M.; Rowan, M.K.; Chia, E.S.; Fairclough, K.A.; Menon, L.L.; Scott, C.; Mather-McCaw, G.; Navarro, K.; Geddes, D.T. Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding Mothers: Incidence, Causes and Treatments. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 12247-12263.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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