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Help! Friend has flat nipples - newborn cannot latch

(6 Posts)
KeepOnSwimming Fri 22-Jul-11 15:41:01

Posting on behalf of my friend after I got so much help here...

- her newborn cannot latch on as she has totally flat nipples that never seem to poke out more than millimeters... what can she do? She is currently expressing and feeding via a bottle but is finding this a huge chore and would rather just formula feed if the nipple problem can't be sorted...

Any advice?

suzikettles Fri 22-Jul-11 15:55:41

Here are some Kellymom links that she might find useful.

I had this problem and I'll not lie to you, I found it very hard (I didn't even realise there was anything wrong with my nipples before I had ds) but we got there eventually. I also had an oversupply problem and suffered from engorgement which made it even harder for ds to latch on without causing me pain.

What helped was expressing for a bit before a feed which helped shape the nipple a bit and give something to aim for, and the "flipple" exaggerated latch technique - there have been some links to it on here lately. Also, ds growing a bit bigger helped massively, things got steadily better as he got older.

It's not impossible - babies should have a mouthful of breast and not be sucking on the nipple anyway, but I'll admit to feeling very envious of women with "normal" pointy nipples as it just seemed like it must be so much easier.

I hope things start to get better for her soon.

(Oh, and I discovered that ultimately, the cure for flat nipples turned out to be breastfeeding - it's caused by adhesions or something like that, anyway ds's fixed it all by himself eventually)

stegasaurus Fri 22-Jul-11 15:56:36

I had this problem. My solution is controversial and may have led to additional problems later on, but I used nipple shields. I got the medela ones which are sold in Mothercare and Boots and on Amazon (we were desperate, it was the middle of the night and we paid a fortune for next day delivery). People say that nipple shields can adversely affect milk supply, especially if used with a newborn, and can cause nipple confusion. I reason that if I hadn't used them I would not have been able to breastfeed at all so it was worth the potential risks. DD is now 3 months old and has been feeding without them for about 4 weeks. I always tried her without them first and one day she just latched on and fed directly from the breast, as the sucking action stretched my nipples out. She probably didn't latch on correctly which has caused further problems but hopefully we are getting through them.
Other people will probably be along soon with better advice but that is what worked for me.

KeepOnSwimming Fri 22-Jul-11 19:30:51

Thank you - I'll pass all this on!

Mydelilah Sat 23-Jul-11 12:29:04

I also had this problem had no idea before giving birth mine were flat ones! Issues not just with latch but excruciating pain also and the MW advised me to use avent nipple shields from 10 days old - after 6 weeks, all the feeding had popped out my nipples and I managed to get DC1 back onto the nipple. I disliked nipple shields intensely and having to sterilise, and keep them in a box for BF out the house was a faff but totally worth it - BF'd DC1 til 10 mths. When I had DC2 did not have an issue as they stayed out (!) but it was v v painful for first 2 weeks. HTH

Zimm Sat 23-Jul-11 15:21:49

I had this problem and had to express + top ups until DD was about 3 weeks old - then we were EBF. I think she just got that little bit bigger and drew them out. I had pain for at least six weeks though :-( Expressing before hand to draw them out is good advice as is lots of that purple cream and hot baths for pain.

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