Many new parents worry that their nipples are not adequate for nursing their new babies. While breastfeeding/chestfeeding with flat and inverted nipples can be more difficult, especially if your baby also has challenges achieving a deep latch, nipple size and shape may be less of a concern than a parent may have anticipated. With ideal latch and positioning support, many people can nurse their babies just fine, despite non-protruding nipples. It might be reassuring to remember that babies latch onto the areola, not just the nipple and that they can even “pull” an inverted nipple out with good sucking.
Are you experiencing pain while nursing? Cracked nipples? Super long or very short feedings? Slow weight gain? Shallow latch? Challenges with bottle feeding? Gassy/acid-reflux baby? Possibly combined with slow weight gain for your baby? Tongue-tie might be the cause of the problem. Medically known as ankyloglossia, this condition, present at birth, can restrict the tongue’s range of motion so it may interfere with compression and milk removal.
A nipple shield is a flexible silicone nipple that is worn over the mom’s nipple while she nurses. When should a nipple shield be used?
– Nursing with inverted or flat nipples:
Nipple shields are helpful for people with shorter, flatter, or inverted nipples, making the latch difficult for the baby. Feeding through the shield helps draw the nipple out, to make it easier for your baby to latch onto the breast.
– Breastfeeding a premature baby:
Nipple shields are also useful for some smaller or premature babies who haven’t fully developed their ability to suck and have difficulty latching on to the breast. A nipple shield can help a preemie create suction and position the nipple in a way they may not yet be strong enough to do themselves.
Even before the pandemic shifted our entire lives to Zoom, lactation consultants have utilized telemedicine to reach families in the comfort of their own homes. For many of us, all our training, experience and continuing education allows us the ability to assess and support families with expert care–even remotely. Seasoned lactation consultants have witnessed so many babies nurse and feed. We have seen many cases of damaged nipples and mastitis, and we have supported countless families in meeting their goals and overcoming challenges. Our experience means we know exactly what we are looking for when a three day old newborn latches or when a nursing parent is healing from an infection.
Watch this video with Jada Shapiro, boober founder & maternal health expert in conversation with International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Julie Rosen, IBCLC. The two experts discussed all things infant feeding: breastfeeding, pumping, and more during COVID-19. New parents had a chance to ask questions and solve challenges.
The lactation professional helps the new mom breastfeed in a more comfortable way. First, she places a pillow under the baby, so that the person can relax. She then places a baby blanket in between the baby and pillow to give a little bit extra support. Finally, she adds a thick burp cloth under baby’s head to provide additional support. Adjusting the position can significantly improve breastfeeding pain too. So ideally 1) position yourself comfortably (your back, your arms, your baby), 2) position baby close to you, 3) support your breast and then latch your baby onto your breast. Note: every situation is different and struggling breastfeeding parents should seek professional help as early as possible. Watch our video below:
The Lactation Consultant matched by boober assesses the baby’s suck. She patiently holds the baby and allows the baby to suck on her gloved finger so that she can feel how the tongue’s functionality. She can feel that the tongue is getting more tired.
Note: every situation is different and struggling breastfeeding parents should seek professional help as early as possible. Watch our video below: