Does application of tea bags to sore nipples while breastfeeding provide effective relief?

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 1997 Jan-Feb;26(1):53-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.1997.tb01507.x.


Objective: To evaluate effectiveness of water versus tea bag compresses in treatment of sore nipples during breastfeeding.

Design: Prospective, randomized trial.

Setting: Mother-infant care wards in a tertiary care teaching hospital.

Participants: Sixty-five primiparae with sore nipples who were breastfeeding after a vaginal delivery at 37 or more weeks gestation, who were 36 hours or less postpartum, and had combined mother-infant care.

Interventions: Participants were assigned randomly to one of six treatment groups with one of three regimens (tea bag compress, water compress, or no compress) randomly assigned to right or left sides. Participants applied the treatments at least four times a day, from Days 1 to 5 postpartum.

Main outcome measure: Reduction of nipple pain.

Results: Tea bag and water compresses were more effective than no treatment, with no statistically significant difference between the two types of compresses.

Conclusion: Warm water or tea bag compresses are an inexpensive, equally effective treatment for sore nipples during the early postpartum period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Nipples / injuries*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tea*
  • Water


  • Tea
  • Water