How to Relieve Shooting Pain in Nipple Breastfeeding

This topic explains how to relieve shooting pain in nipple breastfeeding for nursing moms. Nipple pain isn’t a new thing among nursing mothers. Lots of mothers complain of nipple soreness or cracked nipples which lead to shooting pain in nipple breastfeeding.

This is more predominant among new mothers who aren’t conversant with breastfeeding positioning. This isn’t to say that improper positioning is the only cause of nipple pain but that it is the most common cause.

Read further to know the causes and how to relieve shooting pain in nipple breastfeeding.


What Causes Sharp Shooting Pain in Nipple Breastfeeding

Most people believe that pain in any part of the breast is a symptom of breast cancer. While pain is a symptom, breast cancer isn’t the only thing that can make a woman experience pain, especially while breastfeeding.

There are other reasons and causes of shooting pain in the nipple while breastfeeding or other parts of the breast. If you are experiencing pain while breastfeeding your baby, it is due to one of the following reasons:

1. Friction

When a nursing mother wears a tight bra or a bra with a hard surface, the nipple will rub constantly on that surface which will result in irritation. This is why nursing mothers are advised to get nursing bras and not the ones they used to wear before pregnancy.

Nursing bras are a bit loose and convenient for breastfeeding and won’t easily cause nipple burn as a result of nipple contact with a hard surface.

If a nursing bra is not at your disposal, you can try another means which will give you a temporary result and that is moisturizing your nipple before wearing a bra. Ensure you make use of ointment that won’t harm your baby when consumed.

2. Infection

Another cause of sharp shooting pain in breastfeeding is infection and the most popular is Mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the mammary ducts and it doesn’t affect the nipple alone. The pain spread evenly to every part of the breast.

Another kind of infection that causes shooting pain in breastfeeding is a yeast infection and it’s predominant in nursing mothers.

Also Read: Can I Use Vaseline As Nipple Cream When Breastfeeding?
3. Broken nipple

Once the nipple is broken, it becomes a source of excruciating pain, especially while breastfeeding. This is why you must do all you can to avoid anything that can result in a broken nipple such as improper positioning.

Ensure your baby’s mouth is well fixed; his mouth should cover your nipple very well and should cover a bit of your areola. Also, ensure that he faces you completely. With these tips, you will be able to prevent broken nipples caused by improper positioning.

4. Hormonal Changes

The sharp shooting pain you are experiencing while breastfeeding could be a result of hormonal changes.

During pregnancy and nursing period, your body experiences lots of changes. This change includes the shifting of fluid around the mammary canals. This fluid shift results in swelling and nipple pain.

If your nipple pain is caused by hormonal changes, do not fret because it’s completely normal and won’t last long. But you must see your doctor to confirm that the pain you are experiencing is due to hormonal changes.

5. Fondling of the nipple

If you enjoy breast fondling during sex, you are prone to experience nipple pain during breastfeeding.

This is because the nipples get irritated during this process and it may lead to a major break. If your baby begins to suckle, you will experience sharp shooting nipple pain immediately.

There’s good news though. You can apply an ointment that won’t harm your baby on your nipples immediately after your sexual activity. Also, avoid feeding your baby immediately.

6. Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis also known as eczema is a skin disease that affects the nipple as well as the areola.

This skin illness can be caused by harsh soaps; both liquids and tablets and environmental factors such as dry or cold weather.

If you notice such on your nipple or any part of your breast, apply an ointment that isn’t harmful to babies.

7. Allergic Reactions

Nipple soreness can be a result of reaction to certain toiletries. Harsh body creams and washes can cause the nipple to become red and itchy.

Nursing mothers are advised to avoid the use of refined body lotion on their breasts. To avoid skin conditions like this and also for the sake of the baby who might suck harmful substances in the process of breastfeeding.

Natural ointment like coconut oil is good enough and would keep the breast in good condition.


How to Relieve Shooting Pain in Nipple Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding isn’t something you do once a day or twice a week. It is something that happens often, especially with babies with huge appetites.

This means that ignoring the sharp shooting pain isn’t ideal for both you and your baby. The best thing to do is to find relief.

Also Read: Breastfeeding Tips for Every Nursing Mom


Here is how to relieve shooting pain in nipple breastfeeding. You can try these relief measures:

1. Apply natural Ointment

The use of natural ointment like coconut oil on your nipple will help to soothe the pain.

Natural ointments are best. It doesn’t contain artificial substances that will harm your baby. You won’t have to worry about cleaning it off before breastfeeding.

2. Expose nipples to natural air

After breastfeeding, expose your nipples to natural air for some minutes. This is best done at home or in a private office.

This practice can help to reduce nipple pain. Placing your broken nipple inside your bra immediately after breastfeeding will worsen the situation especially if you are putting on a tight bra.

3. Allow some drops of breastmilk on the nipples

Breast milk can protect the nipple from further breakage and it also acts as a moisturizer. After breastfeeding, purposely leave some breast milk on the nipple for a while.

This will help the process of healing the cracked area as well as relieve the pain you are feeling.

4. Position baby properly

Improper positioning is one of the major causes of the cracked nipple which leads to severe pain while breastfeeding.

Before breastfeeding, ensure your baby is well-positioned. His mouth should cover your nipple and slightly your areola. He should be facing you completely with you supporting your breast with your hand.

5. Wear loose bras

This is another good way of relieving nipple pain. Since the pain might be a result of friction, wearing loose bra will help the process and even prevent a second occurrence.

There are types of bras specifically made for nursing mothers. Buy them for yourself and get rid of the pain.

6. Use a breast shield

If your tight bras are your favorite and you can’t do without them. Place a shield between your nipple and the bra surface to prevent friction. Ensure the shield is super soft. You can use cotton-made cloth.

7. Consult your doctor

While there are other minor causes of nipple pain, there are other causes that will need immediate attention from health practitioners such as infection.

So, it is right to meet with your doctor if you experience sharp shooting pain in nipple breastfeeding. He will examine you, tell you what caused it, and prescribes a solution to your pain.


Why Do I Have Sharp Pain In Breast After Pumping?

You experience sharp pain in your breast after pumping because of various reasons:

1. Improper use of breast pumps.

If you are a first-time mum, it means that you are new to so many things that concern nursing a child. You have the right to seek assistance from midwives and doctors. Ask them for a guide on how to use a breast pump to avoid pain due to improper usage.

2. Engorgement

Breast engorgement is another cause of pain after pumping. When your breast becomes overly full, it becomes painful before and a few minutes after pumping. The good thing is that the pain goes away after some time.


Home Remedy for Breast Pain After Delivery

If you have breast pain after delivery, there are home remedies you can adopt to relieve yourself of the severe pain.

Use of cabbage leaves

Cabbage leaves do wonders for breast pain. It relieves pain in minutes. Another good side of this remedy is that it does not affect your breast milk and doesn’t have any other negative effect on your baby.

This is how to do it:

1. Get chilled cabbage leaves. Cut them into small sizes to fit your breast so well.

2. Cover your breast well with the cabbage leaves but ensure you don’t cover your nipple. You can fit the leaves into your bra and allow for something.

3. After 20 minutes, take the leaves off.

4. Clean up your breasts and pat them gently to dry. Carry out the process three times at 20 minutes intervals.

5. Use of ice cube

Another home remedy is the use of ice cubes. The process is simple and safe for you and your baby. Get some ice, wrap them in a towel, and place them on your nipple before nursing your baby.

After breastfeeding your baby, allow the breastmilk to dry off on the nipple, and ensure you don’t place it into your bra for 10 minutes at least.



With these remedies, you can get quick relief from shooting pain in nipple breastfeeding but you must understand that you have to consult your doctor if the pain persists.

It’s his duty to examine you and tell you the actual cause and prescribe drugs if necessary.