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Thread: Flat Nipples, new mom

  1. #1

    Default Flat Nipples, new mom

    Hello!

    I have flatter nipples and a newborn who is willing to work to latch. However, it is frustrating and sad that I did not realize my nipples were flatter than a "normal" nipple. I am really looking forward to breast feeding and hope that my nipples do not stand in the way. I'm pumping for 5 min before feedings to get them out more. They stay like that for a few minutes, but if my baby doesn't latch on soon they tend to go back to flat. The nipple has some bulge to it, but not enough for her to always comfortably find it. Any help would be excellent!! Or encouragement

    Thank you!

    Lara

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,746

    Default Re: Flat Nipples, new mom

    Hi lgse. I was also told I had flat nipples when my oldest was first born 13 years ago and could not latch. I even had to use nipple shields the first several weeks. It took my baby an hour to latch. I had to pump after every time baby nursed to make sure my milk production was not harmed. I felt like a freak. But we kept working on it and went on to have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship.

    Here is what I have learned since then:

    Breasts and nipples NORMALLY come in all shapes and sizes. There is nothing not normal about your nipples!

    Non-erect nipples happen commonly in the early days after a baby is born. Things that exacerbate this issue are engorgement/overfullness, edema (from mom getting lots of intravenous fluids before, during or after baby's birth) mom taking pain medication, mom in pain or discomfort, exhaustion, and anything that might cause a reduction in the hormones that cause nipples to become erect. These issues usually subside after a few weeks or earlier.

    I also learned that breastfeeding, over time, usually changes the shape of nipples in this situation and it was not long before my nipples were never flat.

    If pumping before feeding is working for you, OK. But that is a huge pain. There are many many latch techniques that should help. There is also something called a nipple everter that might be easier to use. If baby is having really bad trouble latching, nipple shields might help, although there are many reasons to avoid those if possible.

    Have you met with a lactation consultant since you left the hospital? If you have, what did they do to help you?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,911

    Default Re: Flat Nipples, new mom

    ita with all the above, but especially with the following:

    Breasts and nipples NORMALLY come in all shapes and sizes. There is nothing not normal about your nipples!
    Society's message to women is that there is really only one type of acceptable breast: one that is somehow both large and perky, perfectly identical in size, with nipples that stick out for a baby who needs to latch, but are flat enough to never, ever be visible beneath a t-shirt.

    Real breasts/nipples are nothing like that. There is such a diversity of shape, size, softness, nipple length... Love what you have- there is nothing abnormal about it!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Flat Nipples, new mom

    I had a similar problem, but only on one side. My nipple didn't become erect easily and when it did it was overall larger than the other one but oddly shaped and I think it was too large for my baby to get a good latch on it, which led to pain and both of us favoring the "good" side, which lead to uneven supply. It was a very trying first month is what I'm getting at. I nearly gave up several times, there were many tears. Honestly, what got us through it was sheer stubbornness on my part and my son's mouth growing to better fit the nipple on his part. Plus both of us working on getting a good latch. It was a learning experience for us both.

    I want to say that it WILL get better. I know I didn't believe the people that said things like that in the forums I lurked in trying to find answers, but it's honestly true.

    I did also pump to help bring out the nipple, which did helped a little, but I found too much to bother with. I did find that pinching the nipple helped bring it up a little, but that might not work for you.

    What honestly worked the most for the both of us was changing the position we nursed in. I had started with the standard cross hold, which worked wonderfully for the "normal" side but was hell on both of us on the flat side. We found that the football hold worked miracles for us. He got a better latch coming at the nipple from that angle and it therefore hurt less while he nursed. After a good few weeks of him getting a solid latch I found that the nipple came erect and stayed that way much more easily. Having him latch well seems to have gently "trained" that nipple to work more easily.

    I have always had a difficult relationship with that breast (the "wierd" nipple, plus it was always larger than the other side, and we're taught that asymmetry in our breasts is a flaw), so this experience didn't help matters any. But I'm happy to say that I'm 9 weeks into breastfeeding and I hardly ever remember those problems in the early weeks. I hope that you have similar success and that you find suggestions/advice that helps you out. I know from experience, just knowing that you're not alone can help you find the strength to power through during difficult times.

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