Re: Flattened Nipple / Comfort Nursing
Lipstick-shaped nipples are usually the result of a too-shallow latch. When a baby is latched on properly, the nipple sits on the back of the tongue, underneath the soft palate, where it experiences relatively little movement during sucking. When the baby is latched too shallowly, the nipple sits further towards the front of the mouth, where it is compressed and flattened between the tongue and hard palate.
Fixing this depends on what is causing it. When it happens at the beginning of a feeding, it may be happening because the baby is trying to control a rapid flow of milk by "crimping the straw" as he drinks. In this case, using nursing positions that slow the milk flow may help. If it happens midway through a feeding, it may be happening because the baby's mouth is getting tired, in which case the fix may involve supporting the breast throughout the feeding. If it happens at the end of a feeding, the cause may be simple sleepiness- once the baby no longer requires a good latch in order to get milk, he no longer troubles to use one. Taking him off the breast and relatching may solve the problem in the last case.
It's not a bad habit- remember, the breast is the original pacifier! And even when a baby is comfort nursing, he's helping stimulate milk supply. However, if it troubles you or you're getting sore, you may want to try offering your little finger instead of the breast at the end of a feeding, with nail held down towards the tongue instead of up, where it can damage the delicate tissue of the palate.
He also seems to do a lot of comfort nursing, where he falls asleep, but just wants to keep my nipple in his mouth. Once I notice this I usually take it out, but sometimes when I try to he starts sucking again. Should I let him do this? It seems like it could form a bad habit, but he won't take a pacifier.
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