Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Breastfeeding with Flat or Inverted Nipples

Breastfeeding can be challenging; there is no doubt about that. Added challenges can make any new mother feel inadequate. I felt that way with my breastfeeding challenges.

I found a wonderful article here about breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples.

One thing that is super important to understand is that a baby should nurse with a mouthful of breast, not just the nipple. Having flat or inverted nipples shouldn't be a problem. It does make the latching part more difficult.

Are they flat or inverted?

Flat- Pinch the nipple to see if your nipple does not protrude or become erect. If it simply stays petty level, then it's considered to be flat.

Inverted- Pinch the nipple to see if your nipple inverts into the breast. They will not become erect when stimulated or cold.

Treatments to draw out the nipple:
Many times no matter what kind of nipple the mother has, babies who latch-on well can draw out the nipple.

Breast Shields- These really should only be used if you absolutely need to. Talk to a lactation consultant to get help using these. Other names for them are Breast Shells, milk cups and breast cups. They can be worn inside the bra. Usually your bra will need to go up a size to accommodate the shield. I used these and just placed them against my breast when I was ready to feed. As soon as your baby latches right, take the shields away. Babies are known to get more milk from an actual breast over a shield. The transition going from shield to the breast can be hard for both the mom and baby. I have to be honest; I was told to stop using them because my oldest wasn't gaining enough weight. I was emotional and we both cried for one whole day. I used them because my son was born with a cyst under his tongue, making his tongue misshaped; not because I had flat or inverted nipples.

Hoffman Technique- This technique can be repeated five times a day before and after the baby is born. Place a thumb on each side of the base of the nipple. Push in firmly against your breast tissue, while at the same time pulling your thumbs away from each other. In this process you will be stretching out the nipple. Repeat moving the thumbs in a clockwise fashion.

Breastpump- Using a effective breastpump can help draw out a nipple. I bought this one and it lasted though two babies and working full-time. I breast fed each for 2 years. I only pumped for 1 1/2 years. I think buying a good pump is so important to keep breastfeeding a positive experience. It's more money, but you save so much more then if you were to buy formula.

Nipple Stimulation- After birth, if the nipple can be grasped, a mother can roll her nipple between her thumb and index finger for a minute or two and then quickly touch the nipple with a moist, cold cloth or ice wrapped in cloth (avoid prolonged use of ice as it can inhibit the letdown reflex and numb the nipple too much).

Pulling Back on the Breast Tissue During Latch-On- Support your breast for latch-on with thumb on top and four fingers underneath and way back against the chest wall, pull slightly back on the breast tissue toward the chest wall to help the nipple protrude.

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