Not only does breastfeeding boost your baby’s physical and mental health, but the entire reoccurring event helps you bond with your baby and protect your health, too. Breastfeeding’s great, but there are times when you can’t think of anything worse that could be happening to your breasts. Lipstick nipple latch, anyone?
Lipstick nipple latch seems to be one of those things everybody expects to happen but nobody warns you about before breastfeeding.
Like, why are you gaslighting me to think that breastfeeding’s going to be a beautiful bonding experience with my baby when you know my nipples are going to come out shaped like a brand-new Charlotte Tilbury lipstick!?
Don’t worry, momma. We’re all struggling to navigate parenthood, experience everything baby-related with gratitude rather than frustration, and protect our sanity – all while fighting to figure out how to get a good latch. What’s lipstick nipple? And how to prevent lipstick nipple latch? Read more down below!
What is lipstick nipple?
Now, the term lipstick nipple might sound like something makeup related. We regret to announce, though, that we’re actually referring to a nipple condition that occurs when you’re breastfeeding.
What happens? When you’re done breastfeeding, your nipples are supposed to remain round. When you know you had a great latch going on and your baby didn’t struggle to suckle, you shouldn’t notice anything different about your nipples. But that’s not always the case, right?
If your little one didn’t get a good latch, is suffering from a health problem, or didn’t benefit from the breastfeeding position, there’s a chance your nipples end up looking a little slanted – like a newly-opened lipstick tube.
While the change of appearance might be temporary, that’s not something that should happen on a regular.
Why does lipstick nipple latch happen?
We brushed over the fact that you might experience a lipstick nipple latch when your baby didn’t get a good grip on your nipple, is suffering from a health-related issue that’s affecting her latch, or she didn’t like the feeding position you opted for.
More times than not, though, your baby probably didn’t latch on correctly or she had a shallow latch. She put too much pressure on the tip of your nipple and caused your nipple to become slanted and tapered at the top. She didn’t mean to do that, right!?
We know you’re freaking out because breastfeeding was supposed to be one of those things you and your baby simply know how to do. Take a deep breath, mamma, we’re here to help and ensure you do everything you can to prevent and/or get rid of the pesky lipstick nipple latch.
How to prevent lipstick nipple latch when breastfeeding?
1. Unlatch your baby and try one more time
When you’re breastfeeding your baby, you might notice you’re uncomfortable, your breasts are sore, and your nipples are on fire. “That’s normal, right? Every mother experiences that.” No, that’s a myth. When breastfeeding’s done the right way, the mother doesn’t even notice the baby tugging on the nipple.
When you experience something of the sort, unlatch your baby and try one more time.
Of course, there are a few other tips and tricks to ensure your baby’s positioned correctly. Other than that, practice makes perfect. No matter how much time you need, focus on getting your baby to latch correctly every single time.
2. Open your baby’s mouth wide
Babies don’t appreciate when you mess with them while they’re trying to eat, that’s a fact. But, even though your baby might start crying, throw a little tantrum, and become fussy, we urge you to break the suction with your fingers, unlatch her, and start over.
Open your baby’s mouth wide before you allow her to take on the nipple – when done right, her mouth is supposed to pucker up and cover the entire area around the nipple and areola.
And if your baby’s mouth is sliding around, moving toward the base of the nipple rather than the entire area, you’re going to experience that sense of pressure that creates lipstick nipples. Get your nipples to pass by your baby’s gums and you’re good to go.
3. Try to push your nipple toward the roof of your baby’s mouth
“How can I do that!?”
No reason to stress over that. The moment you get your baby to open her mouth wide, you’ll have that window of opportunity to push your nipple toward the roof of her mouth.
Do so slowly and gently to ensure you don’t startle your baby. Now, that’s going to secure the breastfeeding position and allow your baby to take on more of your breast rather than settle with the nipple only.
4. Align your baby’s bottom lip with the edge of your areola
We’re focusing on deets right now because we’re trying to take things step by step. When you’re figuring out how to get rid of the nasty lipstick nipple latch, you need to follow each step to make sure you aren’t doing anything wrong.
While that might sound excessive, try getting your baby to take on the nipple and the breast with her lower lip first. When she does that, align her bottom lip with the edge of your areola. Do that and everything else will come naturally. Bring the rest of her mouth upward and there you go.
5. Make sure your baby’s chin touches your breast
When trying to prevent a shallow latch, you need to establish a “body-to-body” feeding position with your baby.
As a matter of fact, the closer your baby gets to your breasts, the more likely you are to follow everything we mentioned beforehand. You need her to take on as much of the breast as she can, which means you might need to push her toward your body.
Actually, when she starts feeding, check whether her chin and her nose are touching your breast. That’s how you know she’s got everything under control. And, don’t worry, she can breathe through the sides of her nose when the tip’s touching your breast.
6. Compress your breast while you’re breastfeeding
Oh momma, compressing your breast can make a world of difference.
On the off chance that you’re not already doing this, make sure to clutch your breast between your thumb and your fingers to make a U shape. When you do that, your baby can access the nipple and areola area better and avoid putting pressure on the tip of your nipple.
Over time, compressing your breasts can help with getting rid of lipstick nipple latch and encouraging milk production. A free breast massage now and then? Why not!?
7. Try different breastfeeding positions
Different positions work for different moms. Depending on what’s more comfortable for you and what makes your baby grab the breast better, you might want to experiment with a laid-back position, the cradle hold, the football hold, the cross-cradle hold, and side-lying.
Whichever position you decide to experiment with, don’t shy away from doing your research. Check out a few YouTube tutorials, and go through a “trial and error” period.
We do need to mention that the laid-back and cross-cradle hold positions might be the best ones to start with when trying to prevent lipstick nipple latch.
8. Experiment with a nipple shield and nursing pillow
A nipple shield works to protect your breast during breastfeeding. The shield alleviates pressure off of your nipple and prevents nipple damage that occurs from a poor or shallow latch.
Then, a nursing pillow can assist when you’re trying out different positions and struggling with getting comfortable. The pillow will support your baby’s weight and allow you to get her closer to your breast to do the things we mentioned beforehand.
9. Rule out possible health problems
While pediatricians do check for posterior tongue tie or lip tie during the regular checkups that occur post-birth, there’s always a chance they might have missed a health niggle or two.
If you’ve developed lipstick nipples and you continue to struggle with breastfeeding, schedule an appointment and rule out the possibility that there’s something wrong with your little one.
Babies that suffer from a tongue tie or a lip tie tend to have a hard time nursing because of the connective tissue that’s shorter than usual, but that’s something that can be treated.
10. Try creating a calming and comforting environment every time you breastfeed
At the end of the day, a calming and comforting environment affects the way you and your baby approach breastfeeding. When you’re stressed out, for example, you might be stiff, hurry through the steps, and overlook something that could potentially prevent lipstick nipples.
And, to make matters even worse, when you’re overwhelmed and overstimulated, your baby senses that and responds by crying, throwing tantrums, and failing to feed the right way. After all, a happy baby is a healthy baby, and that’s something you shouldn’t take lightly.