Lipstick Shaped Nipple after Breastfeeding - How to Prevent?
If you notice you have a lipstick-shaped nipple after breastfeeding, don't panic because you're not alone. This is a common challenge that mothers face when they embark on the journey of motherhood with their children. But what are they, and how do we prevent them?
In this blog for breastfeeding moms, we will talk about lipstick-shaped nipples. We will also discuss how to prevent them and ways to maintain healthy nipples throughout your breastfeeding journey.
What are lipstick-shaped nipples?
The phenomenon of lipstick-shaped nipples, also known as "compressed" or "blanched" nipples, occurs when the nipple is flattened or misshapen after breastfeeding. This can be very uncomfortable for the breastfeeding mother and can even lead to pain and damage to the nipple tissue. The main culprits of lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding are incorrect techniques and latch issues.
How to prevent lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding?
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding.
Making sure your baby has a proper latch is key to preventing lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding. A good latch helps the baby create a seal around the areola and nipple, reducing the risk of compressing it. Here's how to achieve a proper latch:
- Seat or lay down in a comfortable, supported position, and ensure your baby is in line with your breast.
- Bring your baby close to your body. Let your little one's head tip back and their top lip brush your nipple.
- Wait until your baby opens their mouth wide before latching.
- Aim for a deep latch, where your baby takes in a large portion of the areola along with the nipple.
After this, you should be able to see the darker nipple skin above your baby's lips. If your baby's cheeks look full and rounded as they feed, you've successfully latched your baby properly to your breast.
Utilise Nipple Shields
Nipple shields are your friends if you struggle with a lipstick-shaped nipple after breastfeeding. They act as a protective barrier and could help your baby latch more effectively. However, it's important to consult a lactation consultant before using them, as they can sometimes cause latch problems if used incorrectly.
Do a medical examination.
While an improper latch most likely causes a lipstick-shaped nipple after breastfeeding, it is always good to rule out any medical issues. If you experience severe pain, go to the hospital in case you have a bacterial infection or thrush.
You should also assess your baby for a lip or tongue tie (ankyloglossia). This condition restricts a baby's tongue movement from birth. If paediatricians diagnose a tongue tie, they will guide you to a pediatric dentist for the appropriate treatment.
How do you maintain healthy nipples?
Nipple care is often overlooked, but it is crucial, especially if you have lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding. Not caring for them could lead to further damage. Some tips for keeping your nipples in good condition include
- Air-drying your nipples after breastfeeding to prevent excess moisture
- Staying well hydrated to keep your skin in good condition
- Use safe, lanolin-free nipple creams to soothe and moisturize your nipples.
- Wear loose-fitting and breathable clothing to reduce friction on the nipples.
Best nursing positions to prevent lipstick-shaped nipple
The way you position yourself while nursing your child can greatly impact nipple shape and overall breastfeeding comfort. Here are some nursing positions that can help prevent lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding.
Biological Nurturing (laid-back nursing)
This position involves lying back comfortably and allowing your baby to find their own way to the breast. It promotes a deep latch and minimizes nipple compression.
Position your baby near your body, with their chin gently tilted upward, allowing them to latch on to as much of your breast as possible. New mothers may initially feel concerned about pressing the baby's nose close to the breast while nursing, but rest assured, your little one can breathe comfortably in this position.
In the cross-cradle hold, you cradle your baby with one arm, using your other hand to support their head. This position allows you to guide your baby's latch and offers excellent visibility and control. You gently encourage your baby to align their chin upward towards your breast, ensuring they can access a generous portion of your breast tissue, leading to a secure and comfortable latch.
Many mothers find this hold especially helpful for assisting their baby during latching. It is an excellent choice for those who want to have a great bonding experience while preventing lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding.
The football hold involves tucking your baby under your arm on the same side as the breast you're nursing from, with its legs extending alongside your body. This position allows you to maintain a clear view of your baby's latch and promotes a proper alignment of their head and chin.
By adopting this position, you can help your baby latch onto your breast easily and comfortably, minimizing the risk of a lipstick-shaped nipple after breastfeeding. This hold is often favoured for its convenience, especially if you've needed help with other positions.
The side-lying position offers a relaxed and comfortable approach to breastfeeding. You and your newborn can lie on your sides, facing each other, as your baby latches onto your breast.
This position encourages a deep latch and reduces the likelihood of nipple compression. Although the side-lying position may seem unconventional to new mothers, it allows your baby to initiate and find their own way to your breast, improving their ability to latch effectively. Many mothers appreciate the comfort and closeness that this position offers, making it a valuable choice for nighttime feedings or moments when relaxation is key.
Having misshapen or damaged nipples can be an uncomfortable experience that might dampen the joy of motherhood and bonding with your newborn. But with the help of proper latching, nipple care and appropriate nursing positions, it is an easy hurdle to overcome.
Remember that every mother and baby is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find the techniques and positions that work best for you. But, with the right knowledge, you can prevent lipstick-shaped nipples after breastfeeding and enjoy your time as a mother.