Nipples After Breastfeeding: What to Expect

nipples after breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience between a mother and her baby, but it often comes with its share of physical changes and questions.

One common concern that many breastfeeding mothers have is whether their nipples will go back to their pre-pregnancy state once they've finished breastfeeding. Let’s explore this question and go over some insights and advice.

Do Nipples Go Back to Normal After Breastfeeding?

Yes, in most cases, nipples return to their pre-pregnancy state after breastfeeding. Gradual weaning, proper care, time, hydration, and nutrition are vital factors. Every woman's experience is unique, so consult professionals if concerned.

Nipple Changes During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

During pregnancy, a woman's body goes through a multitude of changes, including those related to the breasts and nipples. As your body prepares for breastfeeding, your nipples may become larger, darker in color, and more sensitive. These changes are perfectly normal and are designed to help your baby latch on and feed effectively once they are born.

However, once you begin breastfeeding, your nipples can undergo further changes due to the demands of nursing. Your nipples may become even more sensitive, and you may experience soreness or discomfort, especially in the early days of breastfeeding. It's essential to address any discomfort promptly, as proper latch and positioning can help minimize nipple trauma.

The Importance of Proper Latch and Positioning

Breastfeeding success and nipple health are intricately linked to one fundamental factor: the latch and positioning of your baby during feeding. Achieving a correct latch and optimal positioning is crucial for a positive breastfeeding experience.

The Latch

A proper latch ensures that your baby effectively draws milk from your breast, reducing the risk of nipple trauma and discomfort. When your baby latches correctly, their mouth covers a significant portion of the areola, not just the nipple. This technique ensures that the milk ducts are properly stimulated, allowing for efficient milk flow and preventing excessive pressure on the nipple.


Equally important is the positioning of both you and your baby during breastfeeding. Your baby should be held close to your body, with their mouth aligned with your nipple. This alignment not only promotes a better latch but also reduces strain on your nipples. Experiment with different breastfeeding positions to find the one that works best for you and your baby.

Ensuring Swift Nipple Recovery

To aid your nipples in their post-breastfeeding recovery, focus on gentle self-care practices. Begin with regular massages to improve blood circulation and restore nipple tone. Ensure proper hydration, maintain a balanced diet, and prioritize rest to support overall nipple health and recovery. Here are a few other tips:

  • Weaning Gradually: Gradually weaning your baby from breastfeeding can help your nipples adjust more gently. Abrupt weaning may lead to engorgement and more significant changes in nipple appearance.

  • Proper Care: Taking good care of your nipples during breastfeeding is crucial. Ensure your baby has a correct latch, use lanolin cream or nipple shields if needed, and consult a lactation consultant if you encounter any issues.

  • Time: It's important to remember that it may take some time for your nipples to return to their pre-pregnancy state. The post-breastfeeding changes are typically temporary.

  • Hydration and Nutrition: Staying well-hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet can help support the healing process of your body, including your nipples.

  • Exercise: Some mothers find that gentle exercises, such as rolling and pinching, and massages can help improve nipple tone and elasticity after breastfeeding.

When Nipples Do Not Return to Their Pre-Breastfeeding State

While most women experience a return to pre-pregnancy nipple appearance after breastfeeding, there are occasions where they don’t. In some cases, nipples may not fully return to their original state due to several factors, including:

  • Breastfeeding Duration: The length of time you breastfeed can influence nipple changes. Prolonged breastfeeding might result in more noticeable differences, particularly if there were challenges with latch or positioning.

  • Number of Pregnancies and Age: Nipple elasticity may decrease with age, and repeated pregnancies and breastfeeding experiences can compound the changes.

  • Genetics: Genetic factors play a role in how your body responds to pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some women may be more prone to permanent nipple changes.

  • Complications or Trauma: Complications during breastfeeding, such as severe nipple damage or infections, can leave lasting effects. Traumatic events like surgery or injuries may also impact nipple appearance.

  • Lifestyle and Care: Neglecting nipple care during breastfeeding, such as using harsh products or failing to address discomfort promptly, can contribute to long-term changes.

On the rare occasion when nipples do not return to normal, the ability to breastfeed effectively in the future is usually unaffected. If you have concerns about noticeable or uncomfortable nipple changes, consulting with a healthcare professional or a specialist in breast health can provide guidance and potential solutions to address your specific circumstances.

What Other Women Have To Say

At the time of writing this, I’m still breastfeeding my first child so I can’t speak to my experience on this topic. My breasts and nipples have changed since pregnancy and breastfeeding but the changes haven’t been drastic. With that said, we can talk about the experience that some other women have had.

It’s Different For Everyone

As with many things pregnancy and breastfeeding related, different women have different experiences. Some women may continue to have larger, darker nipples after breastfeeding, while others return to normal and become smaller and lighter.

nipples after breastfeeding experience

Some Changes Go Back

You may notice that some aspects of your nipples or breasts return to a pre-pregnancy state, while other aspects do not. For example, your nipples may become lighter, but not smaller. Or the look of your nipples may go back to normal, but they are harder than before breastfeeding.

nipples after breastfeeding experience

If you feel like your nipples have not returned to normal after breastfeeding, give it some time. It can take a few months once you’ve completely stopped breastfeeding in order to really tell if your nipples will go back to your pre-pregnancy look and feel.

nipples after breastfeeding experience

When to Seek Help

While it's normal for nipples to undergo some changes during and after breastfeeding, if you notice any persistent issues, such as severe pain, cracked or bleeding nipples, or significant changes in nipple color or texture, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional. These symptoms could be signs of an underlying issue that requires attention.


In conclusion, while your nipples may go through some changes during and after breastfeeding, they often return to a state very similar to their pre-pregnancy appearance. With proper care, patience, and attention to your own well-being, you can help your nipples recover and feel comfortable again.

Remember that every woman's body is unique, so it's important to consult with healthcare professionals or lactation experts if you have any concerns or questions about your post-breastfeeding nipple health.

Back to blog

Author, Founder @ Latch Luxe

Stefanie Statler

Stefanie Statler is an author and the founder of Latch Luxe, with a loving husband and daughter. She is a dedicated advocate for breastfeeding mothers and understands the challenges and joys of motherhood firsthand. Email me at

View Author

New Products