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Thread: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

  1. #1

    Exclamation Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    Alright, so my daughter is 1 month, 2 weeks and a day old.
    We started attempting BF from her only being an hour old with my midwife.

    Ive been having major issues since then. Everything from clogged ducts, to lesions and scabbing all over my nipples. It took about 2 weeks for all my scabs and lesions to heal, but because of that ive had to supplement with a bottle. I know thats not best, but i cant go back and undo it now.

    I have DD breasts and incredibly small nipples. I thought perhaps i have flat nipples, but they will protrude with stimulated but they dont protrude much more than my pinky nails length.

    I attempted to use nipple shields and a hand pump in the first two weeks, but both of those only produced blood, so i discontinued their use. I spent the first month hand expressing, but i can only get about 40-50ccs every two hours or so, which isnt enough to fill my baby's tummy.
    I am considering trying the shields again now that im mostly scab free, but i have heard they lower milk supply and im worried enough right now about my supply stopping with all the problems we are having.

    I know babies are breast fed and not nipple fed, but i cant figure out how to get her to my breast. I have large areolas, large breasts and teeny nipples. I cant figure out how to get her to grab enough nipple/areola to get milk.
    You would think small nipples wouldnt hinder it, but she just grabs into the nipple and thats it. I had some success with the clutch hold, but after two feedings i found it was creating lesions on the top base of my nipples.

    I use medela lanolin after each attempt, and im sure its helping, but it cant undo all the damage before i have to feed her again.

    My midwife always seems happy when she helps us out, but i dont think she understands how much it hurts. Its not supposed to hurt this bad i dont think. At least not for this long.

    Also, she frequently starts pulling when she is feeding. Like rooting, but while she has what i can get of my nipples into her mouth.
    I am guessing she either doesnt have enough, or their is not passing of milk.
    She never really seems like shes drinking. She may gulp once or twice, but the rest seems like gumming. My breasts are heavy so if i let go of them while feeding, they slide down and the suction changes or releases.
    I dont know what to do.

    I think my biggest problem is that im a large chested american living in japan. Tokyo. I have no idea how to get any help out here, which is why im trying to find direction online.
    My midwife is awesome, but i just dont know that she understands whats going on.

    Any advice? Im getting pretty desperate.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver, Co.
    Posts
    1,164

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    Is there an lll group you can go to?

    Can you find an IBCLC? It sounds like you need more hands on help mama.

    http://www.iblce.edu.au/
    There also are latching videos on jack newman's website.

    I'm betting another mama will be here soon with better input.

    Christine
    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    I have the same exact issue. I wear a 32I nursing bra (and the cups are too tight) but if my nipples are tiny. I think your analogy of a pinky nail would be pretty accurate, they may even be a little smaller.

    My daughter is only 13 weeks so I do not have a ton of experience, but I will tell you what has worked for us. I had cracked bleeding nipples for the first 2-3 weeks so I know where you are at right now.

    First, nursing requires two hands and some type of pillow. Right now I actually use a boppy and two small pillows. I place the baby on my boppy in a football hold type position, with an extra pillow under her on that side, and a pillow behind my back. I then use the hand that is on the same side as her to hold behind her head, and my other hand to sort of pinch my areola to make it easier to fit more in her mouth. You have to pinch your areola and sort of push your breast tissue back so that it is a reasonable amount of flesh for her little mouth. I then direct her head and guide the nipple into her mouth when she opens wide. I still sometimes have to try over and over to get her to open wide enough. I literally have to hold my breast like that almost the whole time she is eating. If I let it go, she will inevitabley slip back and only be sucking on my nipple, which leads to pain. I hope that explanation makes some sense.

    I will tell you that it gets better. We are getting to the point where I can do some different holds with her in public and feed her under a cover. There is absolutely no way for me to try it without the cover, because there is really no way to be even the least bit modest in this situation. As she gets older it seems that she is starting to get better at latching on properly and I do not always have to hold my nipple as tightly.

    Hang in there! The first few weeks were rough.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    Yes, ive been trying some pillows and such. I will keep trying to get her latched on better, i really do think thats where our biggest problem is.

    I think there is a contact from LLL in Tokyo, but im not sure if she speaks English and my Japanese isnt that good yet. I am going to email her and see what i can find out.

    Meanwhile, should i try the shields out or should i avoid them?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    If you can use the shields I say try them while you are healing. I was never able to use the shields, I am pretty sure it is because my nipples were too small. I did think of one more thing for you, when you hold your breast, instead of a c hold or any of that, I actually place my nipple and areola in between my index and middle finger and press back. It sort of squeezes out the area you need to go into the baby's mouth. Worked much better for me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,944

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    Sounds like me. I had a very hard time with latching as well and was cracked, etc. Maybe try shells that you wear between feedings to help to draw your nipples out more? Or try to sandwich it between your fingers as you are latching on to extend a little more. Work on the latch and trying to get your LO to open WIDE. At one point I was using ice before feedings so that the initial latch on didn't hurt as bad. Another thing I did was soaking in salt water between feedings to try and speed up healings. Things got a lot better around 6 weeks I think.
    Proud mom of 2:
    DD 5/2008 nursed for 3 years and 3 months.
    DS born 8/2011 nursing like a champ

    Sorry for the short responses...always, always, always NAK or holding a baby

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Oreogn City, OR
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    I have a similar circumstance, I too am DD with short wide nips. My baby had a horrible latch until about last week...so she was about 7 weeks old. we FINALLY got to breastfeed with little/no pain. So here's what I do about the heaviness, I fold up a cloth diaper and tuck it under my breast so I don't have to hold it up for her. We used to use a nipple shield but finally weaned off it around week 6. When she's tired she bites. Good luck! as baby gets bigger, it will get easier!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    I too had similar problems, Big breasts, small nipples and small baby. I nursed with a crack on my left nipple for 6 weeks, then it finally healed, my DD is now 12 weeks, and I still need to hold my breast for her when she is latching, but now I can usually let it go while she feeds. The best positions now are laid back in a recliner, but in the beginning I had the most success with the clutch and cross cradle hold. What helped me most with the latch was remembering the sandwich analogy, I did a U or a C hold depending on which position we used, so my breast tissue was flattened horizontally to her mouth. I also used to press with my fingers around the base of the nipple to get it to protrude more, and wore breast shells for awhile to draw them out. The resources from www.kellymom.com were the best, I especially like the videos from Dr. jack Newman on drinking, latching and breast compressions. Sorry I am new and not sure how to do a link. I am back working, so my DD gets bottles part time, and since then she sometimes fusses at the breast like you are describing and I figured out she was trying to get another let down, breast compressions really helped me to get my milk flowing, when she is feeding and when I pump. Hang in there, it really does get easier with time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sunny England
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Big breasts, small nipples, how does it work??

    You can do it!!

    I am a 40G/H and I had no end of problems from the beginning with both my babies. DS was tiny at birth and DD not much bigger. Both times I found a couple things to be helpfull.

    With DS I used mostly the football hold (baby side on to me and resting on a pillow or the arm of my sofa that was quite heavily padded anyway) and with DD I used the 'My Breast Friend' nursing pillow and the cross cradle hold, with a folded up burp cloth beneath my breast. With DD I suffered from huge cracks and blisters on both breasts and expressed for the first 3 weeks of her life. I still put her to the breast but it wasn't for long and even then I remember biting down on the handle of her dummy because of the pain I was in. I can remember many a session of tears while bfing. BUT. Saying that, DD is now 9 months old and up until last month she was still happily nursing. It DOES get easier. It DOES stop hurting. I remember thinking 'Oh my GOD I cannot DO this ANYMORE!!' and I'd come here and rant and cry about it and the ladies here would give me huge hugs and spades of encouragement, and some how we got through it.

    Your baby is now at the 6 week mark, right? Is she constantly hungry? Babies go through growth spurts at 3, 6 and 12 weeks most commonly, so even though it hurts, try and put her to the breast as much as you can. I know it seems like it's never gong to end but it will. She just wants to up your milk.

    Have you tried using Lansinoh's nipple enhancer? I can't remember what it's called, but it's just a small suction thingy that brings out your nipple before you start nursing to make it easier for baby to latch on. Other than that, you could also try expressing until your letdown and then latching DD on. She may not suck so hard and it'll give you a bit of a break. These are all things I tried and some of them worked really well for me. It's worth a try, right?

    Here's hoping you can make it all the way to the weaning stage. Don't give up, Momma. You're giving your little one the best thing ever.

    Jarred - 12/June/2007 - BF for 3 months - stopped due to medical reasons
    Lilly - 4/May/2010 BF for 8 months - On strike between 1/1/2011 - 29/3/2011 - That's 12 Weeks and 3 days!! It is FINALLY over!
    Together we battle with Cows milk, nuts and soya allergies, but we're making it!
    We , , and too, but we're having problems..
    EPING for 3 months and counting!!

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