Caring for your breasts is an important part of breastfeeding, and sometimes nipple and breast problems can arise

  • Seek help if you have too much nipple pain to latch your baby, cannot soften your breasts, or have a red and painful area on your breast

  • Rinse your breasts with water only and air dry – do NOT use soap on the nipples as it may cause them to crack

  • Wear a bra that is not too tight and avoid bras with underwire

  • After feeding, allow some breastmilk to go onto your nipple and the surrounding dark area to protect the skin. Let the milk dry before putting on your bra

  • Breast feeding should not be painful as long as your baby is properly positioned and latched

Caring for hard breasts

  • Use heat or cold, whichever feels best

  • When applying a cold compress, wrap it in a cloth and limit the exposure to a few minutes to prevent skin trauma

  • When using heat, place a warm shower on your breast for a few minutes until milk starts to flow or have a warm shower until milk starts to flow

  • Once milk begins to flow, gently massage your breast milk around the area until your nipple feels soft

  • Breastfeed your baby often until your breasts are no longer hard

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You and your baby need time to learn how to breastfeed. It is important to care for yourself while breastfeeding, including getting enough sleep at night and asking for help when needed and accepting help when it is offered. Healthy eating is also an important way of caring for yourself while breastfeeding for many reasons:

  • Eating well when breast feeding helps you to feel good, recover after birth, and obtain proper nutrition

  • It is recommended that mother’s consume an extra 2-3 servings of food each day when breastfeeding

  • Eat small meals and snacks every 2-3 hours

  • Avoid skipping meals – this will make you more tired

  • Drink every time your baby feeds – remember to bring your water bottle with you everywhere

Many mothers require extra support or assistance from a clinic when breastfeeding. Below are a variety of resources in the neighbourhood that you may find helpful.


City of Toronto. (2018). Feeding your Child. Retrieved from

Smith, V. (2016). The importance of infant nutrition. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 31(1), 32-34. Retrieved from