Hi, my name is Dawn and I?m expecting DD (my 2nd baby) in October. When DS was born I had no clue what to expect, didn?t know what I was doing, etc. All things first moms are faced with. I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital before giving birth, tried to do research on what to do and what not to do, etc. I found that after DS was born I was getting conflicting ?help? from my nurses and the hospital lactation consultant. Very overwhelming. Luckily my pediatricians office staffs LCs who I saw several times right after DS was born. Nothing I did seemed to work and I ended up pumping and feeding until my supply ran out at around 9 weeks.
See I have inverted nipples and I think my DS was just too lazy to make it work. I tried the nipple shields and they didn?t even help that much. Does anyone else have inverted nipples? Have you had breastfeeding success? Please tell me what you did to make it work? I really hope that this time around is easier for me. I?m willing to try anything!
Mine were not truly inverted but they were definitely what's called "flat". You can tell by pinching the nipple from the area surrounding the aureola and watching were the nipple goes. If it goes nowhere but out you have "normal" nipples. If it sinks flat you have flat nipples. If the tip actually sinks into your breast you have inverted nipples. Having flat or inverted nipples does add an extra challenge to BFing. When I did my research as all FTMs do, I came across advice telling me to draw my nipples out using shield before DD was born. I asked my MWs and they told me not to worry about it. Baby will take care of it. And she did! BFing was intensely painful for me for about the first 5 weeks and I think it was because of having flat nipples. Everything I read told me that BFing shouldn't hurt and that if it did I was dong it wrong or that I had an infection. LIES LIES LIES. Hormones make your nipples extra sensitive and sometimes baby just has to break them in a bit. My MWs strongly discouraged me from using a shield. They are really only needed in rare instances and often help very little to ease the pain of nursing and do virtually nothing to help pull your nipples out.
The best thing to do is to just let baby do his/her thing. Ask the LC to show you how to properly cup your breast to give baby the best opportunity to latch. It'll probably take a bit of shoving your nipple in baby's mouth. Avoid pumping at all costs and just nurse nurse nurse. I won't lie. Its probably going to hurt for a few weeks but you'll soon be past that and you'll have initiated a fabulous nursing relationship! I'm still nursing my now 21 month old and my nipples don't even have a hint of being flat anymore. I am SO SO glad I stuck with it when my toes were curling from the pain in those early weeks. I suspect that I'll have no problems nursing my next baby and that the pain will be virtually non-existent. If you do have pain, there are things you can do. Use lanolin to keep your nipple tissue in good condition and prevent cracks (I had terrible pain but never had bleeding cracks). Go topless as much as possible and express milk onto your nipples after nursing. This keeps infections down and is best for preventing clogged ducts that might occur if you wear a tight bra. If you're very full and you go to nurse, you'll find that your nipples will be pulled flat or inverted and baby will have a hard time latching. DON'T PUMP. Pumping will just tell your breasts to make more milk than you need and will lead to having full breasts more often. Its a vicious cycle. Instead, hand express just enough milk into the sink so that your nipple becomes easier to latch onto. This will lessen the chance of stimulating over production. Alternating cooling and heating pads also helps. Use heating pads before nursing to help stimulate letdown and use cooling pads afterwards to help with the pain. NUK makes wonderful ice packs for just this purpose. Take a shower and massage and sore spots. Keep an eye out for clogged ducts and be proactive about them. They'll feel like knots in your breast tissue. Just massage them and you'll feel them release. It might hurt a tad but it won't hurt anywhere near as baddly as getting an infection in a clogged duct.
Come back when baby arrives and ask all the questions you want. We're here for you!!
Erin covered it all I think!
I have flat nipples as well and am on 18 months of nursing DD. I never could get DS to latch, but I think it was less about my nipples, more about him just not getting it, bad advice, first time mom confusion, and mostly about not being diagnosed with PPD. The shields are useless in most cases and cause more problems than they are worth IMHO.
You can totally BF baby #2 even if you didn't BF #1. I'm living proof of that!
Thanks Erin and Mel! Great advice and information. I so hope that this time is a success for me and baby. It was so hard last time. I'll be coming back to get support in a few months.
oh, and a LOT of it is about willpower to stick with it! It does get MUCH MUCH easier!