Breastfeeding Pain Self-Management

Promoting Self-Management of Breast and Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding Women

Pilot Investigator

Assistant Professor Ruth Lucas
Ruth Lucas 


The overarching goal of this program of research is to improve nipple and breast pain self-management in breast-feeding mothers and enhance their feeding  self-efficacy to achieve their feeding goals. Breastfeeding (BF) is one of the most important early determinants of infant health and development. Duration of BF is significantly related to reduced incidence of infantile respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections, obesity and asthma . However, over 35% of mothers cease exclusive BF during the first 6 weeks due to nipple and breast pain . While 90% of mothers report acute nipple and breast pain during the first week of BF initiation, approximately 30% will experience persistent pain (>10 days). Based on the Individual & Family Self-Management Theory (IFSMT) model, the following pilot project will test the feasibility of a Breastfeeding Self-Management (BSM) Intervention on BF outcomes in mothers with nipple and breast pain. In addition, the proposed study will provide a preliminary examination of genetic, psychological and somatosensory factors that predict nipple and breast pain and possibly, early cessation of BF.



  • Self-Management Science Center, February 17, 2017, Podium
  • NIH Center Directors Meeting, May 2017 and 2018, Poster
  • Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit Meeting, June 2017, Podium
  • P20 External advisory Board meeting, September 2017, Podium
  • Eastern Nursing research Society Meeting, April 2018, Podium