HOW YOUR NIPPLE SHAPE EFFECTS BREASTFEEDING
Tailor how you breastfeed to the size and shape of your nipples and it'll all get much easier.
Small or large, pointing straight out or hanging east and west, inverted or pretty proud to see you… nipples come in all shapes and sizes and your anatomy can affect how well your baby latches, as well as which breastfeeding position will work best for you both. Given that both you and your baby are unique, it makes sense that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to breastfeeding. “Think of breastfeeding as a two-piece puzzle position and a textbook latch.” Sound familiar? Then let’s nip those problems in the bud right now.
“Whatever the unique anatomical fit of those puzzle pieces, there is always a way to ensure your baby gets your milk,” promises Geraldine. So don’t worry if your nipples are small or extra-large. “Nipples come in different shapes and sizes,” says Geraldine “and there is no right or wrong. It’s all about how you and your baby fit together.”
IF YOUR NIPPLE LOOKS TOO BIG…
“If you can see your baby is not going to be able to scoop up a lot of areola close to his lower lip, make it easier by pinching your breast into a wedge shape,” suggests Geraldine. “Shape your breast in line with his smile. So, if your baby is feeding across your lap, your thumb and index finger will be on the right and left sides of your nipple in a ‘V’ shape at roughly 3.00 and
9.00 on a clock, well out of the way of his mouth.”Be careful you don’t put your thumb and index fingers in a “C” if you’re cradling him across your lap, as this shapes your breast perpendicular to his smile and makes it impossible for him to latch on.
IF YOUR NIPPLES
“If your nipples are average in length, your baby will be able to scoop up more breast or areola when latching,” says Geraldine. “The trick is to position him nose-to-nipple at the start. This way, he’ll have an off-centre latch, with his lower lip on your areola and his top lip next to your nipple.
This will get your nipple to the back of his mouth where it’s comfortable.”
IF YOUR NIPPLES ARE LONG…
“If you have long nipples, focus on the position of your baby’s lower lip when you latch on. The closer your baby’s lower lip is to your nipple, the easier it will be for him to latch on. This is different to the standard advice but, as your nipples are longer and your baby’s mouth can only open so wide, you need to adapt your positioning,” explains Geraldine. “So, think about placing his lower lip about half a finger’s space away from the nipple base. And, as your baby gets bigger, position his lower lip slightly further away from the nipple base.”