Common Concerns and Challenges

Issues that can often be overcome with appropriate information and support

There could be a few reasons but a common cause of sudden nipple pain is thrush, or a yeast infection. This pain often feels intense or “burning” with shooting pains deep into the breast. It occurs both while nursing and between feedings. It is not improved with correcting baby’s latch. (For more information see FAQs Thrush.) Other causes for sudden nipple pain can be:

The most common cause of nipple pain is a shallow latch. This means that your baby does not have enough breast tissue in his mouth.  Babies need a deep latch to get enough milk. If your baby is not latched correctly, you may notice a crease across the tip of your nipple when it comes out of your baby’s mouth.  Or it may be shaped like a new lipstick, or white at the tip.  You may decide to take baby off the breast to try to reposition and fix baby's latch, but you should break the suction first to avoid causing further pain to yourself.

The term “growth spurt” (also called frequency days) describes times when babies seem to nurse non-stop for a couple of days. It is believed that this is how the baby tells the mother’s body to increase milk production. Babies usually have several “growth spurts” in the first 6 months.  They often occur at 10 days, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. But they can occur any time.  After about 48-72 hours of frequent nursing, a baby will return to a more regular routine of nursing, rest and playtime.

As long as your baby is still having the same number of wet and soiled diapers, there is no reason to panic.  It is normal for a baby at around this age to change his nursing pattern. When a baby starts nursing non-stop for a few days it usually means that he is growing. After a few days of frequent nursing, your baby will fall into a new nursing pattern with your recently increased milk supply.  We call these episodes “growth spurts” or “frequency days”.