If you’re new to breastfeeding, you’re probably overwhelmed with… a lot. And despite our best efforts, things don’t go as planned. Baby may have a tongue or lip tie or you may have elastic nipples. You may also be suffering from cracked nipples and looking for relief!
Another struggle of breastfeeding moms is trying to get a good latch. This is especially true at the beginning of their nursing journey. A good latch is key to a successful breastfeeding experience for both you and your baby. But, issues with a shallow or improper latch may occur. And this in turn can cause something called lipstick nipple.
But what exactly is a lipstick nipple and how do you know if it’s happening? And more importantly, how do you correct if your baby has trouble latching on correctly? Read on to find out how to correct and prevent improper latches that can lead to a lipstick nipple!
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What is a lipstick nipple?
After a breastfeeding session, your nipples should be round. But, you may notice a misshapen nipple afterwards instead. This is where it will appear slanted or tapered, similar in shape to the tip of a newly opened lipstick tube.
This is called a lipstick nipple where the nipple temporarily changes shape during breastfeeding.
Why does lipstick nipple happen?
Lipstick nipple is caused by misplaced pressure on the nipple during nursing. This usually occurs when baby doesn’t latch on correctly or has a shallow latch. This puts too much pressure on just the very tip of the nipple.
The result is a misshapen nipple that may make it difficult for baby to stay latched on, leading to pain and insufficient feeding.
How do I know if my baby has a lipstick nipple latch?
There are a few ways to tell if your baby has a lipstick nipple latch.
First, the most obvious sign you will notice is a misshapen nipple after feeding. Your nipple will look like it’s been squished and/or like a brand-new tube of lipstick.
Another obvious sign is that you are experiencing pain during breastfeeding. If the latch is shallow or incorrect, it will cause your baby to tug and pull at your nipple during feedings. This tugging can be very painful and if left untreated can lead to further damage, such as cracked nipples.
Finally, you may notice that your baby has trouble staying latched on or stops breastfeeding frequently. This could be a sign of a shallow latch or a lipstick nipple latch. This can lead to poor weight gain or fussiness during feedings.
And so goes the vicious cycle of low milk supply, poor weight gain, and more frequent feedings.
How to fix a lipstick nipple latch?
If you identify that your baby’s latch is causing lipstick nipples, you may want to fix it. But it’s not always a problem. As long as you are not having pain and your baby is gaining weight, you may continue to breastfeed. Be sure to keep an eye on your little one’s growth and latch.
But, if you are experiencing pain or notice that your baby isn’t gaining weight, you’ll want to try and correct the latch.
There are a few things you can do to help your baby latch on correctly and prevent lipstick nipples.
Start with a correct latch
- First, make sure that your baby is in the right position. They should be tummy to tummy with you and their head should be near your breast, not tilted up or down. Their chin should be in line with your nipple.
- Second, make sure that your baby’s mouth is open wide and their tongue is down. You can help them by gently pushing on the roof of their mouth with your pinky finger.
- Third, when you put your baby to your breast, ensure that their chin is touching your breast and that their lips are flanged out like a fish. This will help them take in more of the areola and less of the nipple.
- Finally, once they are latched on, you can gently slide your hand down from their head to their body to help keep them in place
- If baby latches on incorrectly, use your fingers to gently break the suction and try again.
Try different breastfeeding positions
Sometimes the angle that baby is nursing in can cause lipstick nipples. Try different positions to find angles that are more comfortable for you and your baby.
Some positions to try are the football hold, side-lying position, and cradle hold.
I also found that one side may be better with one position while the other side is better with a different position. So it’s best to experiment and find what works for you and your baby.
Try a nipple shield
If you find that your baby has difficulty latching on correctly, try using a nipple shield. The shield will help to protect the nipple from being squished and can also help with milk flow.
Practice makes perfect
With a little practice, you’ll be able to get the perfect latch every time! And if you’re still having trouble, there’s no shame in asking for help from a lactation consultant or your doctor. They can help you troubleshoot any issues and get you on the road to a successful breastfeeding experience.
As mentioned before, if you are still struggling to correct the latch, or if the pain persists, it can be helpful to get support from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). They will work with you to help correct the latch and find ways to make breastfeeding easier for both you and your baby.
Don’t suffer from lipstick nipples!
Lipstick nipples can be a frustrating issue for nursing mothers. With proper latching techniques, different positions, and the use of a nipple shield, you can help correct the latch and prevent lipstick nipples. If you are still having issues, make sure to talk to your lactation consultant or doctor for further assistance.
With a better understanding of what causes lipstick nipples and how to prevent or correct them, you can ensure that your baby will get the nutrition they need while enjoying a comfortable and successful breastfeeding experience! Happy nursing!