BFing: Second time lucky? Flat nipples question.

(19 Posts)
Purplelooby Thu 06-Mar-14 21:16:39

Hello lovelies. So I didn't manage to BF DS for more than 2 weeks for many reasons; I'm now 38 + 3 with no 2.

Anyways, nobody pointed out to me but I've realised that I have funny nipples. In their relaxed state, my areola are huge but my nipples are totally flat and soft - just like part of the areola. There's no way a baby could latch onto them because they wouldn't find them! When I squeeze they don't protrude, but when I'm cold and they go hard, they do start to look like normal nipples, but still don't stick out very far. So does anyone have any advice? I read something about adhesions needing to be broken, but I spend quite a few days on a hospital-grade pump after DS was born and they're still the same...

Tips, hints, general advice would be most welcome.

JuanFernandezTitTyrant Thu 06-Mar-14 21:25:27

Hi purple. I had the same thing and I am bf DS who is 4.5 months old.

I'm not going to sugar coat it - we persevered and it was sore for some time. I had diamorphine in labour so DS was slow to latch. We had loads of help in the MLU (syringing, expressing, cup feeding, the works) and I stuck with it because I'm a bit bloody minded and I knew that I we could get to the stage we are at now it would be the easier option.

I haven't got much advice but, for me at least, I had clung too tightly to the "you're not doing it right if it hurts". DS was gaining weight well but because of my short, flat nipples he had very little to latch on to, so he was clamping down to get some purchase. Ouch! I think if someone had been honest enough to say that it might hurt, I'd have done better. It took a while, but I now have nice long nipples smile and feeding is really easy except for the bottle refusing

Anyhoo, the point of this essay is to say that if you decide to bf don't feel that you're doing it wrong because it hurts. It probably will, but that's ok. Equally, if you don't want to keep going, that's ok too. Although it's now easy, I envy my ff friends their nights out and days off!

Best of luck smile

MissHC Thu 06-Mar-14 21:26:47

I have this. DD was also quite small whrn shewas born and it was very hard to latch her on.

After 4 days of her screaming i used nipple shields (philips avent ones) for 8 weeks. Midwives and HV were not impressed but my friend who's a midwife told me it was fine as long as I expressed at least a couple of times a day to increase supply.

I haven't needed to use the shields since. DD is now 14 weeks and still EBF. Her weight gain is on track.

Re expressing - my friend said to pump 7 min on, 7 min off, 5 min on, 5 off, 2 on. This on each breast.

MissHC Thu 06-Mar-14 21:27:16

Sorry for spelling mistakes - on phone

MissHC Thu 06-Mar-14 21:28:44

And i forgot to mention that my nipples now do stick out smile

plantsitter Thu 06-Mar-14 21:31:29

Agree with above. Also found this kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/rev_pressure_soft_cotterman/ really useful. I know it says engorgement but it really worked for me.

Realised when dd 2 was born that it helps if the baby has a really big mouth!! Not much you can do about that though.

JuanFernandezTitTyrant Thu 06-Mar-14 21:39:11

Agree plant DS also had a small mouth so the whole package was a bit not fit for purpose, but we got there in the end!

Janek Thu 06-Mar-14 21:52:21

I used to have very flat nipples too, but don't forget that when feeding the baby should have the whole of the areola in their mouth, with the nipple at the back of the throat. Once they're feeding, your nipple probably is nipple-shaped, you just can't see it. And i definitely have nipples now, thanks dds 1 + 2grin.

Oh, and it didn't hurt more than it 'should'.

OhPuddleducks Fri 07-Mar-14 03:52:20

Basically had the same experience as Juan, but wanted to add that I found out about these whilst in the painful bit with DC2. I've never used them, but vowed to if we decide to go for number three. Might be worth a go?

Purplelooby Fri 07-Mar-14 11:57:30

It's so good to hear that people have managed to feed anyway and that I might even get real nipples one day!!

This isn't actually why thing didn't work with DS. DS had a TT which I assumed was why he never latched, so I used an exaggerated latch with him which wasn't ideal. Sadly the tt caused him to slip his latch after less than a minute anyway but I've been assured the midwives will cut immediately if dd has one.

Actually I think the lack of latching was down to flat nipples and him being small (5 lb 15 - down to 5 lb 5 at his smallest). He always latched better onto nipple shields or after I'd been pumping but still slipped the latch quickly due to tt.

What did you ladies do to get them to latch at first? I've bought some of those nipple formers and have my nipple shields. Also heard ice recommended. Had anyone tried that suction nipple former that lansinoh make?

Purplelooby Fri 07-Mar-14 12:05:52

It's so good to hear that people have managed to feed anyway and that I might even get real nipples one day!!

This isn't actually why thing didn't work with DS. DS had a TT which I assumed was why he never latched, so I used an exaggerated latch with him which wasn't ideal. Sadly the tt caused him to slip his latch after less than a minute anyway but I've been assured the midwives will cut immediately if dd has one.

Actually I think the lack of latching was down to flat nipples and him being small (5 lb 15 - down to 5 lb 5 at his smallest). He always latched better onto nipple shields or after I'd been pumping but still slipped the latch quickly due to tt.

What did you ladies do to get them to latch at first? I've bought some of those nipple formers and have my nipple shields. Also heard ice recommended. Had anyone tried that suction nipple former that lansinoh make?

eagle2010 Fri 07-Mar-14 13:10:02

I didn't use the Lansinoh one but used an Avent product called a Niplette. It really helped in the first few days post EMCS when DS found it tough to latch due to flat nipples/fluid filled boobs/TT.

I then used nipple shield for about a week but once the milk came in it was easier to give the "boob sandwich" and he got more areola in his mouth.

2tiredmama Fri 07-Mar-14 13:39:46

Hi there,

I have a VERY inverted nipple and the other one is flat so double trouble. I have a 1 year old and I'm still BF after a rocky start but the hard work paid off! I had the most wonderful lactation consultant who came to the house 4 times and who was a great support over the phone...can you tap into one though your local health service/nurse? The best advice given to me by the lactation consultant was to wear the Madela Nipple formers as it not only encourages the shape of the nipple but it also allows the nipple to air and heal after feeding. Also use the lansinoh lanolin cream both before and after feeding so it works as a barrier and a healer and finally what worked really well in the early days was the lansinoh latch assist which draws the nipple out just before feeding...this worked best when I only had colostrum as it tended to fill with milk thereafter but it did work. Best to google this product and view a video to see what I mean. It's tough but I am so so glad I kept going as it's so easy now and my son loves it and crawls over to me now for milk as he's older..so cute and it makes it so rewarding smile get all the support you can as like I said it's tough and get a really really good support cushion like mybreastfriend as you'll need your hands involved in the latching process more than most and I ended up with horrendous tentonitis in both wrists for months as I had a cheap breast feeding pillow and didn't know there were better pillows out there. Anyway...best of luck and well done, you're doing great!!

JuanFernandezTitTyrant Fri 07-Mar-14 18:20:54

I didn't do much to help DS latch, his clamping technique seemed to work for him until my nipples got into a better shape. No he can latch himself back on no problem if he slips off - which he does quite a bit if he's not paying attention and looking everywhere around the room!

OhPuddleducks Fri 07-Mar-14 18:52:22

DS had a TT and refused to latch for 17 days after it was snipped. I got him back on by living by this (along with perseverence, blood, swear and tears). The techniques for the gape and the hand placement to support his head were the best bits for me. I was also really fussy about his latch even if it meant re latching numerous times (didn't do that with DD as I was always so grateful to just get her on and the pain and cracking lasted a lot longer).

It's brilliant that you're gathering the info in advance, by the way - I wish I had. I fed DD for 15 months so thought I had all the answers already. I didn't appreciate how different babies can make bfing totally different. Perhaps you'll get a natural this time! If not, know that as they get bigger and stronger, it does get easier and before you know it, it is all this things they promise bfing will be rather than all the things no one tells you.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Fri 07-Mar-14 19:21:53

I used the Lansinoh thing in the early days with DD and ebf until 7mo. I found it useful for confidence more than anything - feeling she had something to "aim" for.

2tiredmama Fri 07-Mar-14 21:07:57

Ps. as you are gathering all the info in advance of baby no.2's arrival you can start to wear the madela nipple formers in advance and use the latch assist to start training the nipples BUT speak to a lactation consultant/midwife beforehand as they don't recommend this until a certain point in pregnancy i..e a bit closer to your due date so it doesn't trigger early labour etc. plus it'll make you familiar with the formers and latch assist ahead of the baby's arrival. My experience of breast shields were not good as the baby had to nuzzle deeper due to inverted nipple and the shield came over his mouth and he turned blue on 3 occasions in hospital so hence I'm not suggesting them but it was only the Tommee Tippee brand that I tried and we survived just fine in the end without them! Keep us posted on how you get on, best of luck.

mumofthreeboysS Sat 08-Mar-14 04:21:52

Hi purple another one here with flat nipples. I failed to bf ds1 and 2 - ended up with cracked bleeding nipples both times. Now bf ds3 successfully (he's 10 weeks). It's been tough but didn't help that he had tongue tie (now snipped). I tried nipple shields a few times when a side got really sore but then got mastitis ( I read somewhere that they can cause it due to the milk not flowing as well) so after that if it got sore I just fed through the pain. Like others I just persevered trying to get as much boob in his mouth as poss and gradually it got better (he also had the habit of slipping off after latching).

I had pain whilst feeding up till around 6-8weeks, it's only starting to get easier now. My nips are are still a bit flat in relaxed state but get pulled out when he feeds. I didn't use any gadgets to pull my nipple out - his suction when feeding does that naturally.

Good luck and I swear flat nipples make feeding harder tho I never had that confirmed by a midwife.

Purplelooby Wed 12-Mar-14 20:30:42

Oh it's so kind of you all to reply and give me so much hope! I'm 39+2 now so I don't mind if using the nipple formers causes labour to start - added bonus in fact :D

So I think I will buy one of those suction things. I had a terrible time trying to get the cross-cradle to work last time. He just would not latch like that at all. He latched a bit better if I had been expressing so had 'nipples' and sort of dangled my boob into his mouth but I'm pretty sure that gave a rubbish latch!!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now