After having a baby, especially if you're breastfeeding, there may be a number of new feelings, discoveries, and questions regarding your breasts. When it comes to your nipples in particular, you may experience some new pain or sensitivity. "Are my nipples more sensitive postpartum?" is a question that may come to mind, and the short answer is, yes, they definitely will be. There are, however, several reasons or types of sensitivity that you may experience.
in an interview with Parents, OB-GYN Sharon Mass said the body starts preparing to breastfeeding almost from the moment of conception. After the placenta is delivered, your body will release the hormone prolactin to trigger milk production. Additionally, if you're breastfeeding, your nipples will be stimulated more often than you're probably used to. So immediately following birth, it's normal for your nipples to feel much more sensitive, especially considering your breasts are producing milk, whether you decide to breastfeed or not.
During the first few weeks following birth, it's normal for your nipples to be the most sensitive and sore, according to What to Expect. If you're breastfeeding and experience dry or cracked nipples, the sensitivity is likely to be heightened. Personally, after both of my births and during the beginning stages of breastfeeding, I noticed sensitivity when showering or changing clothes, primarily.
If you're experiencing sensitivity when your newborn is latching, Today's Parent suggested expressing a small amount of milk before breastfeeding. This should help relieve the pressure on the nipple for your baby to latch. A few weeks postpartum and after you've adjusted to breastfeeding, you'll often notice that sensitivity will fade away. Although some moms continue to experience a little sensitivity for the entire time they breastfeeding, others may experience the opposite — less sensitivity or feeling in your nipples.
If you've surpassed the initial sensitivity stage postpartum, but notice it coming back, Kelly Mom noted that it may be related to a clogged milk duct, mastitis, or even ovulation and your period. Additionally skin irritation, change in latch, or poor breastfeeding positions can contribute to more sensitivity as well.
So if you are noticing your nipples are more sensitive postpartum, it's totally normal and to be expected. Usually sensitivity will start to fade away after the first few weeks but not always. If you experience extreme sensitivity and prolonged soreness, you may consider reaching out to a lactation consultant for advice or reassess latch and breastfeeding positions.