Nursing a baby begins within the first hours of the baby’s life. There are different techniques on how to position your baby to take in as much breast milk as possible. Most often than not, new moms find the best position for nursing by trial and error. But, once you learn the techniques, nursing becomes easy for you. Latching refers to your baby’s breastfeeding attachment and nursing is easier when your baby is latched correctly to you.
A good latch occurs when your baby’s mouth fully covers your nipple and areola during breastfeeding and gently massages the milk out of your breast rather than applying pressure on your breast. This means when your baby is not latched correctly to your breast or the latching is not as deep as it should be, your nipple can come out of the baby’s mouth after breastfeeding looking like a tube of a new lipstick or having a slightly slanted shape. This is referred to as lipstick nipple. The correct shape for a nipple after breastfeeding is a round shape.
Good nursing begins with a correct latch that is deep and also placing your baby in the right position. This gives your breast the round shape it has even after breastfeeding. But, if your nipples are slanted a bit or have a lipstick shape then you need to adjust your latching techniques. Breastfeeding should be comfortable, although, you might feel a bit of discomfort during your baby’s first latch which is normal and should ease off after your baby begins to suck.
Does the nipple shape affect breastfeeding?
Most babies would breastfeed no matter the shape of the mother’s nipple. So, size and shape might not hinder you from giving your baby breast milk. Different women have different shape of nipples, some nipples are turned inward instead of pointing outward, while some are flat and does not stick out or might have an unusual shape. However, having an unusual shape does not stop breastfeeding although it might be quite difficult or a bit harder to breastfeed with an unusual shape of a nipple. It is important to know that for breastfeeding to work well and be easy for both the mother and the baby, the baby must latch onto both the nipple and the areola.
Even with an unusual shape of the nipple, you might still be able to give your baby enough breast milk with proper latching techniques and this can help the shape of your nipple to stick out more as your baby latches correctly over time. If you are worried about the shape of your nipple and how it affects your baby’s latch, please visit a doctor to properly check you and to help you and your baby adjust, so you can have an easy nursing time.
6 Ways to correct a Lipstick Nipple?
1) Unlatch and try again
If you see your nipple take the shape of a lipstick you need to unlatch and try again. Your breast should not be pinched by your baby’s mouth or gum while breastfeeding. This would result in your breast having an unusual shape and you might have a lipstick nipple after a while. When you unlatch and try again, make sure your breast looks like it wasn’t touched or pinched after breastfeeding. This would gradually correct the lipstick nipple and make your nipple return back to its actual shape.
2) Make sure your baby’s mouth is wide open
For latching to be effective, your baby’s mouth has to be open wide. You can slightly pull your baby’s chin down to make space for your nipple to get past your baby’s gum area. This reduces the pressure your baby’s gum would put on your nipple and correct the lipstick nipple.
3) Compress your breast by making a U shape
Your baby should have as much areola and nipple in the mouth to prevent and correct a lipstick nipple. Compress your breast in between your thumb and fingers to make a U shape, so your baby can have more areola and nipple in the mouth. Over time your lipstick nipple gets corrected and returns to its usual shape.
4) Take a different breastfeeding position
To correct a lipstick nipple you may need to try different breastfeeding positions. The laid-back breastfeeding position is especially useful if your baby struggles to latch properly. To get this position correctly, use a pillow to support your back as you are laid-back. This helps your baby latch on well as he or she gravitates towards you. The laid-back breastfeeding position would also encourage your baby’s mouth to open wide.
5) Check if your baby is tongue-tied
Babies with a tongue tie can’t latch well and this can cause a lipstick nipple. Babies with a tongue-tie cannot create the needed pressure while sucking, rather they squeeze the milk and this gives your breast the slanted shape or results in you having a lipstick nipple. You must confirm with a pediatrician if your baby is tongue-tied so a procedure to clip the tissue underneath the tongue can be done. This enables your baby to latch properly and the lipstick nipple can be corrected.
6) Get a nipple shield
You can wear a nipple shield during feeding if your baby cannot latch properly. Wearing a nipple shield reduces the pressure your baby’s gum puts on your nipple. To correct a lipstick nipple and allow it to heal, you can wear a nipple shield so your breast can return to its normal shape. It is important to ensure that a nipple shield should be used temporarily and be discontinued after a while.
These tips would help you to correct a lipstick nipple. Good nursing begins with a correct latch, so be sure to unlatch and try again if you feel your breast has been pinched by your baby’s gum. A lipstick nipple can be corrected but it requires patience. If you notice that your breast doesn’t go back to its normal shape after a long time, it is advisable to visit the doctor for a checkup.