Breast Feeding With Flat Nipples - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone successfully done this?

When I had my ds two years ago I was very determined to breastfeed him. His birth didn't go as I wanted it to at all and I ended up with a c-section. Luckily, the hospital I gave birth at was very mother/baby friendly and I got to hold him as soon as I was wheeled into recovery. I told the nurse that I wanted to try to nurse him and she came over to help me, saw I had flat nipples, and acted all put out and told me she couldn't help me and asked me if I did anything to prepare for breast feeding. Up until that moment I had no idea that my nipples were flat and I looked at her like she was nuts and I said nobody ever told me that I needed to prepare for breastfeeding.

Between the difficulties we experienced with that(I was given a shield and not shown how to use it, he lost a ton of weight, almost didn't get discharged with me because of the weight loss etc), family problems, and just being out of it from having a section, our nursing relationship lasted about 5 days. I ended up formula feeding him and I beat myself up about it the whole first year of his life. I decided then and there that he would be my first and last formula fed baby.

I am now 17 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and I am hell bent on breast feeding this baby exclusively. I am just at a loss as to how to start. I was told to use shells the last weeks of pregnancy, which I plan to do. Does anyone have any other advice when it comes to being successful with having flat nipples?

Thanks!

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~Kelly

Mama to Keegan and Rhiannon

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#2 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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Hi,

I haven't done it yet (haven't had a baby yet) but I have the same issue and I have been researching the topic. Just wanted to share with you a couple of helpful links I have found:

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/t021800.asp

http://www.llli.org/FAQ/flat.html

Good luck!
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#3 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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I'm not sure what is considered flat. I had what I referred to as "lazy nipples" with my first daughter. My nipples had never been really sensitive. The didn't harden with stimulation or with cold. I had no idea that would be a problem, though. I was ill-prepared for the struggles I faced after my daughter was born. I ended up having to use a nipple shield for the first 3 weeks or so. My nipples just had to be "trained" to behave as they were supposed to. It was a pain to have to use the shield, but we were also dealing with some other postpartum issues so that may have exacerbated my frustrations.

I'm not sure what advice to offer aside from using the shells and shield. I guess just try not to get frustrated. It will work out. I was 18 years old, single, stranded in a tiny trailer alone, paralyzed from an issue with my epidural, recovering from a 4th degree tear and trying to deal with this stupid flat/ lazy nipple issue. My daughter was slow to gain and I just thought every day that I wasn't sure if I could do it much longer. Then one day I managed to get her to latch without the shield. I was so thrilled. From that point on breastfeeding became the easiest aspect of parenting my little girl.

If it's any consolation, once your nipples are properly conditioned you should never have problems with them again. After nursing my ODD for a year, my nipples responded like "normal". They may not have been as sensitive as some people's... but they did work. When I gave birth to my YDD I had no problems with my nipples at all.

Just wear the shells, use the shield, and keep lots of lanolin on hand (as it can be a bit painful until your nipples sort themselves out.) Many hugs to you. I hope this works out exactly how you wish and that your new LO nurses easily and for as long as you like.

I'm me. In love with this guy. We're bringing up two girls: Big A (8) and Little A (3)

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#4 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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Just wanted to chime in with my experience and some encouragement!

I mostly had this issue with one of my breasts. For some reason one side has always been perky and responsive and the other has been inverted/flat/and a little sad . When my ds was born in August we definitely had some trouble, and I know that delivering at a bf friendly hospital and meeting several times with a lactation consultant saved me from going to formula.

A couple things that I did/ the lc helped me do. Immediately post partum I started pumping. Since I was mostly just making colostrum I didn't get much in the way of ounces, but the pump pulled my nipples out and helped my milk to come in sooner. My babe was much more interested in nursing and would work harder at a good latch once my milk was in.

I wore a shield on that side constantly for the first few days. Every nursing session I would try for 5 minutes or so to get a good latch, and if it didn't work, I would use the shield. Hopefully you can get some good instructions on using shields, because in my situation they were a life saver. The shield was good for me because it also pulled my nipple out and allowed ds to nurse on that side. The lc said that nursing with a shield isn't as stimulating as nursing without one, so unless ds nursed for an exceptionally long time I would still pump for 5 or 10 minutes to stimulate milk production.

We did this for 6 weeks. Every nursing session I would try to nurse without the shield, but stop before he (or I) got really frustrated and switch to the shield. One day he latched on beautifully for about 2 mins without a shield. And then 4 mins or so a couple days later. And then all of a sudden his mouth/muscles were bigger, my breasts were cooperating better and we threw the shield away.

It can be done! Are you delivering at the same hospital? It might be something to discuss before your deliver with your ob/midwife... just let them know you had a bad experience last time and see if they know of any lc's or lll's or other resources for you?

Alissa: married to dh since 05/2006 and mama to Solomon (08/2009) and Ezra (04/2012).

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#5 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by thedenverduo View Post
Just wanted to chime in with my experience and some encouragement!

I mostly had this issue with one of my breasts. For some reason one side has always been perky and responsive and the other has been inverted/flat/and a little sad . When my ds was born in August we definitely had some trouble, and I know that delivering at a bf friendly hospital and meeting several times with a lactation consultant saved me from going to formula.

A couple things that I did/ the lc helped me do. Immediately post partum I started pumping. Since I was mostly just making colostrum I didn't get much in the way of ounces, but the pump pulled my nipples out and helped my milk to come in sooner. My babe was much more interested in nursing and would work harder at a good latch once my milk was in.

I wore a shield on that side constantly for the first few days. Every nursing session I would try for 5 minutes or so to get a good latch, and if it didn't work, I would use the shield. Hopefully you can get some good instructions on using shields, because in my situation they were a life saver. The shield was good for me because it also pulled my nipple out and allowed ds to nurse on that side. The lc said that nursing with a shield isn't as stimulating as nursing without one, so unless ds nursed for an exceptionally long time I would still pump for 5 or 10 minutes to stimulate milk production.

We did this for 6 weeks. Every nursing session I would try to nurse without the shield, but stop before he (or I) got really frustrated and switch to the shield. One day he latched on beautifully for about 2 mins without a shield. And then 4 mins or so a couple days later. And then all of a sudden his mouth/muscles were bigger, my breasts were cooperating better and we threw the shield away.

It can be done! Are you delivering at the same hospital? It might be something to discuss before your deliver with your ob/midwife... just let them know you had a bad experience last time and see if they know of any lc's or lll's or other resources for you?

Thank you so much! I did bring the issue up to my midwife my first appointment with her, her advice was to use the shells. I plan on doing that as well as getting a doula and requesting that an LC come to see me ASAP. I also have a shield or two left over from the last time and I have not only an electric pump, but a manual one as well and I plan on picking up this thing called a Latch Assist (basically a syringe used to pull out nipples. I plan on being extremely prepared this time around. Hopefully this baby will be less stubborn than ds was!

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~Kelly

Mama to Keegan and Rhiannon

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#6 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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I mostly had this issue with one of my breasts. For some reason one side has always been perky and responsive and the other has been inverted/flat/and a little sad .
That was how one of mine was. I prefer to nurse off the other side, but it works. When dd was born (second child, unexpected transport to the hospital) I had the lc come down and she was really great and got me the little shield thing which seemed to help a lot. We used it for a month or so until it started coming out on it's own. I've been bf'ing for about 7 yrs (4 children) since then and haven't had anymore problems.

And about that nurse.
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#7 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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NAK

My nipples are flat - midwives were thrilled with my hips, not so happy with my nipples.

I got the cheapest hand pump at Target. I would pump for about 30 seconds, nipple would extend, and I would pop baby on. I would also grip my nipple pretty strongly to make it extend.

I did this every feeding for about 6 weeks and viola! my nipples learned what they should do. We've been nursing for 10 months.

You can totally do it - just have faith.
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#8 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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nak

Also, something that worked for me- instead of pinching or stimulating the nipple it works better for me to kind of try to pull the colored area apart. For some reason a little away-from-the-nipple pressure helped mine to come out.

(:

Alissa: married to dh since 05/2006 and mama to Solomon (08/2009) and Ezra (04/2012).

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#9 of 12 Old 12-22-2009, 11:58 PM
 
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Yes! Yes! Yes! You can def do this.

W/ ds1 I had to pump just a little w/a manual pump in order to lengthen my nipples a little and once my milk came in the 1 min of pumping also softened the area around the nipple so he could latch on better.

I also used the "breast sandwich" technique, as described by Dr. Sears (I think). Basically you scrunch the areola a little so it looks like a sandwich so you can get more into baby's mouth.

I also nursed very often! I always held baby, slept w/baby, and nursed him EVERY time he rooted or was in the quiet alert state, or even seemed like he would be up for it. He was sleepy at first but I would not go more than 2 hrs w/out nursing him. This really helps bc if your breasts are full and hard w/milk the baby has more trouble latching on in general, and this is especially true for flatter nipples.

After about 1 wk I no longer needed the pump at all (after a few days it was only at night when I was fuller) bc all his sucking lengthened my nipples.

After nursing for the past 7 yrs straight (through 3 kiddos) my nipples are much more pronounced than they were pre children.

I also want to add that when you have flatter nipples it is especially important to avoid bottles and pacifiers in the beginning bc they will feel soooo different than your nipples. Your baby will have no expectation of what a nipple feels like until introduced to yours so you don't want to offer a whole dif version KWIM?

You might want to also talk to a GOOD lactation consultant (you might have to look around as some are not so great and others are wonderful).

GL! You will do great w/a little preparation and confidence!

Wife to dh, Mommy to ds1 12/2002, ds2 9/2005, and ds3 9/2008.
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#10 of 12 Old 12-23-2009, 12:13 AM
 
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You can do it Mama!!

I had lazy/inverted nipples untill I started my nursing career and then, like the others, they became the "nipples I had always dreamed of" in my teenage years IYKWIM?

I was encouraged to meet with an LC before my first birth and she lent me the "nipplette"...it sounds like it is the same thing as the latch assist theat Knittnmama is talking about...So I used that a bit during pregnancy to help stretch the tissue out and I liked the idea that I was doing something to prepare but after my daughter was born I would just use the device to draw out my nipple then pop the babe on right away...within a few weeks I didn't need to do that anymore and once they popped out, they never went home inside again !!! (BTW I think a pump would do the same thing)

...in fact I consider my "stickey outey" nipples a gift from my girls (and after nursing the 3 of them for 8 whole years in a row...I'll take a gift!!)

You will do great!!
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#11 of 12 Old 12-23-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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It can be done!

Mine were flat. I had no idea!

They are not any more.

With DD1, I was determined to nurse her. I was induced, but otherwise had a natural birth, and had her latched on within minutes. The hospital LC was useless. Just shoved my breast into DD's mouth, and was out the door a second later. The first week went fine. By week 2, I was crying at the thought of latching her on, had toe-curling pain, and was just.about.done. and ready to give up. I had cracked skin, but the pain was much worse than just that. She had one bottle of formula. I cried the whole time. I went to the baby store the next morning, and bought nipple shields. A week and a half later, when the skin had a chance to heal and I wasn't crying at the thought of latching her on, I weaned myself off it. She didn't need it at all, *I* did.

By 7 weeks, things were going much better. She nursed for 19.5 months, at which time we were down to once a day, and I was 2 months PG with DD2. Not too shabby for WOH FT since she was 7 weeks old!

With DD2, it's been way easier. DD1 did all the work. The pain I had the first few weeks with DD1 was her intense suckling to draw out the nipples, and the interior tissues had to be broken. I won't lie, it HURT. But it didn't last forever, and I would go through it all over again if I had to.

You can do it!
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#12 of 12 Old 12-23-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by luvmybaby333 View Post
My nipples just had to be "trained" to behave as they were supposed to.
This seemed to be true for me also with my son. I say the best idea is to start spending time with other nursing mamas, La Leche League is great for meetings in person and they have GREAT online forums, and maybe meet with a lactation consultant while pregnant to learn as much as you can about how to maximize your success and minimize your complications.
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