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Thread: breast too big, nipple too small?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    15

    Default breast too big, nipple too small?

    After a difficult start my 5 week old baby boy has been exclusively BFing for 3 weeks (was getting EBM before he "turned the corner" and figured nursing out). It's going pretty well, except that I know our latch isn't great because I often get that cringing, squeal inducing pain when he latches on. He has a tiny mouth, I have large breasts, and small (short) nipples (not inverted). It seems to me like I can't squish my breast small or narrow enough to get my nipple in his mouth very far, resulting in a shallow latch. His lips are past my nipple onto my areola, but my nipple is barely getting past his gums. Does that description make sense?
    Any ideas on how to resolve this? Do I just have to wait until his mouth grows and endure the pain in the meantime?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: breast too big, nipple too small?

    I, too, have big breasts (F cups) and only get what looks like a shallow latch. When they say get the whole dark part in the mouth I laugh because it would take an adult size mouth to do that. You are right babies mouths do grow and that does make it easier but in the meantime..... I have always had to squish my breast kind of flat to help the baby get a good latch and still be able to breathe. Even at almost 3 months I have to usually push the breast down in front of her nose so she can breathe and eat.
    SAHM mom to 5 daughters-16,15,13,3,10 months Happy Wife to stressed out, overworked husband

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: breast too big, nipple too small?

    Gosh, I have a very similar problem. I emailed LLLI and was told to squish my breast like a sandwich, introduce the areola into her mouth first, and allow her to take the nipple last. That has only resulted in my nipple getting folded up in her mough - OUCH! I don't know what to do about it either. I'm hoping it will get better as she gets older.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,144

    Default Re: breast too big, nipple too small?

    Mama, I've been there. 40DD, flattish, short, but not inverted nipples. Excruciating pain during latch-on. I had big nasty cracks for 4.5 months.

    Is the pain persisting throughout the feeding? Do you have cracks? Is your baby gaining weight well and having adequate diaper output? If the answers to those questions are "no, no, and yes," then I wouldn't worry excessively, because it does get better as the baby grows- I PROMISE. Even if you do nothing to deal with the situation, when your baby's mouth is bigger he's going to achieve a deeper latch.

    That being said, how about a trip to the IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to see if she has some tricks up her sleeve? I saw two IBCLCs, and each one helped me a lot with positioning. One showed me the "areola sandwich" technique catspage described, and I found that quite helpful. An IBCLC can also evaluate your baby for tongue-tie or sucking quirks that can cause pain.

    I also found that if I used the side-lying position for every feeding, it was easier to get a deep latch. Is there a position that works best for you? If so, use it every time, no matter how weird it looks!

    Hang in there! It gets so much easier!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: breast too big, nipple too small?

    Ugh.. I'm in much the same position. At the moment I am trying a few days exclusive pumping so my poor raw chew-toy nipples can have a rest. I was a DD before the pregnancy and the feeding bra I am using is an H cup.. though I am probably only a G at the moment

    My IBCLC was pretty much an expensive waste of time (her initial consult fee was just more than I would pay for a week's rent). She gave me a nipple shield and showed me more of the same techniques for trying to position him at the breast.. I had already been shown everything she showed me by the LCs while I was in the neo-natal unit recovering from my C-section and toxemia.. and that was half the problem.. she showed me rather than getting me to do things myself so it was next to useless. I just didn't have enough hands to get my boy onto the breast properly, I just had to wait till he got bigger and got a bit more muscle control.

    Now I feel like I'm being told that he just won't be able to feed properly until he's bigger still. I guess I should call my local LLL leaders and see if they can give me a hand because I just can't afford to see that IBCLC again. *sigh*

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Pa & La
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: breast too big, nipple too small?

    It's nice to hear that I'm not alone on this one! (Not that I'm glad to hear that there are more moms out there who are wincing with every feeding...)

    I do not have overly large breasts~ C, D when full, DD when engorged~ and yet my now 7 wk old seems to have a short latch. LLL said that everything looked perfect, from his latch to his tongue, etc, but I'm still in pain! I rely on ibuprofen to get through the day, which I hate... but the days without it are never-ending.

    I am glad to hear that he may grow out of this as his mouth gets bigger. I was sure that he had just developed a bad habit of just sucking 'so much' into his mouth.

    Do you find that position changes things? The football clutch seems to be the most comfortable for me (though it's difficult now as baby is 25"!!)

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