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142. The Biggest Lie with Inverted and Flat Nipples

Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes but so do nipples. Sometimes we are so quick to classify someone as having flat nipples or inverted nipples but are they?

LLL Flat And Inverted Nipples
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Read the full transcript here:

Welcome to the breezy babies podcast. This is episode 142. The biggest lie with inverted and flat nipples. Could you use more confidence as a parent? Welcome to the happy place for boobs and babies. You're in good hands. Breezy babies is where we ease your transition into parenthood because it's a bumpy road. Am I right? I'm your host Bri the IBCLC. And if you'd like to make life as a parent more breezy, you're in the right place. I'm here to deliver small bite sized tips and tricks so you can crush your parenting and lactation goals. I'm honored to be on this journey with you. Let's go. Hello, friends. Welcome to the breezy babies Podcast. I'm so happy to be here with you today. I feel like I just have to start by telling you that I have this time set aside this small chunk of time this afternoon to record a podcast Molly baby is napping. And I just spent the last 30 minutes recording a podcast episode that I already recorded last week. So last week's episode was about oversupply. I'm sure you've already listened to that and heard it. I already had recorded that had it ready to go if for some reason I thought that I had not recorded it yet. So I just spent 30 minutes recording the episode and then realized that that was completely unnecessary. I already had it done. So if you're having a rough day where you feel like you have some serious Mom Brain or just having some trouble remembering things, you're not alone. I'm right there with you. So let's try to record the right Podcast. Today I am going to talk to you about inverted and flat nipples and the biggest lie that goes along with them when it comes to breast feeding your baby. Before I get to that though, I want to tell you that this podcast episode is sponsored by Coboo. Did you know that pumping is also breast feeding I have loads of clients that use a breast pump ranging from just here and there to my exclusive pumping families. So wherever you fall in that spectrum, I have a tip to make your pumping journey a little bit more smooth and that is lubricant. Yes, you can lube up the tunnel of your flange to decrease friction and make your pumping experience more enjoyable. There are a few options out there for flange lube, but there's one company that is dedicated to this cause above all the rest and that's kobu. The owners of Coboo are mothers of two NICU babies in the beginning of their pumping journey. They talk about how they pumped dry without lubricants. They talk about how they had a bout of skin breakdown, chafing irritation, and then they decided after lightning struck their brains to perfect their pumping spray and share it with all of us. Coboo was born and now they've expanded to some other faves. Like they're melting nip balm, I'll have a real coming up about that. You can check it all out at where you can pump pleasantly I'll have a link in the show notes to So you can go and check them out. Alright, let's talk about the biggest lie with inverted and flat nipples. I'm going to be taking a lot of information today. From a website that I am going to link in the show notes. That website is the Lea Leche League So let's just start by saying that yes, breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, but so do nipples. Sometimes we are so quick to classify someone as having flat nipples or inverted nipples or a large nipples when really they're pretty normal and they work just fine when it comes to breastfeeding and nursing and just lactation in general. So on the La Leche League website, they say the size and shape of nipples on breasts vary from person to person and can change during the breastfeeding journey. It is common for nipples to gradually change shape become more elastic and protrude more during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. When babies suck at the breast they stretch the nipple and surrounding breast tissue into their mouth. The more elastic or stretchy the nipple, the easier it will be for your baby to latch. However, if even if the nipples don't protrude more during pregnancy, you can still breastfeed. These variations often have very little do very little to do with the baby Amy's ability to breastfeed because baby latches to the nipple and surrounding breast tissue. Okay, I really love what they said there, because that takes us perfectly into tip number one, which is it's called breast feeding and not nipple feeding for a reason. Remember, a good latch requires breast tissue to be in your baby's mouth, not just the nipple, your baby just latching onto the nipple equals pain and discomfort, and bleeding, and break down and blisters and all sorts of things that you do not want. I just want to be clear here. Sometimes your baby cannot latch on to the breast eat because there's restriction, maybe body tension, maybe a tongue or lip type. Go back and listen to my other podcast episodes on tongue and lip ties. In fact, I have an entire three part series on tongue ties alone. That's just how much there is to say on that topic. So I'm not diving deep into that today. Again, go listen to episodes 129 to 131. For the details on tongue and lip ties. For today's podcast episode, I'm assuming that there's nothing additional going on that's causing trouble with latching. I'm just focusing on anatomy today, specifically nipple anatomy. And here's what I really want to say to you about that. I can't tell you how many times I've had a client that I've met with for a lactation consultation. And before we even attempt to latch their baby, she will say something like this. Oh, I don't know if I have the right type of nipples to latch My baby. My nurse in the hospital mentioned that they were flat, or that they were too small or too big or whatever. Okay, here's the thing. I really don't get too caught up on how nipples look like anatomy wise. I never say Oh, you have flat nipples. So latching is going to be rough because I swear to you all listening here. Now. I have seen so many babies that could latch onto a flat wall. They've got a great suck and a great sill and it really does not matter what the shape of mom's nipples are. Okay, let's talk about tip number two. And that is true inverted nipples may not be what you think. Let's read this little part from the La Leche League website. They say if you think your nipples may be inverted, try placing your thumb and finger on opposite sides of the areola. If you don't know what the Ariel is side note here, that's the dark area of skin surrounding the nipple. So they're going to say that squeezing gently inwards is what you want to do with your thumb and your finger. Okay, thumb a finger on either side of the areola and squeeze gently inward. They say sometimes nipples may be partly inverted looking dimpled are folded. Severely inverted nipples retract deeply when compressed or stimulated. Okay. They say here, a nipple that stands out when stimulated is not inverted. So I really love that and I wanted to read that because a lot of times we call inverted nipples inverted when they actually are not at all. So a truly inverted nipple. If you were to squeeze them between your finger and your thumb, it would retract even more deeply if you were to squeeze it, but if it pops out when squeezed, then it's not an inverted nipple. There is also something called a dimpled nipple, which I have encountered over my years as an IBCLC. These clients appear to have an inverted nibble, but when they feed or pump the nipple pulls out and opens almost like a rose but is one way I guess to describe it. Then after the feed or pump, it closes back up and collapses back in. Now this opening and closing is really painful for my clients most of the time, and it gets really sore when the nipples close up when it's still wet. So what we usually do is have these families keep it open with their fingers. The wallet dries after a feed or a pump and maybe even expose it to sunlight if possible. I know that can be a little bit tricky for some people to do but sunlight is really great for dimpled nipples. There that's a little bit of a different situation because truly inverted is tethered and it will not open up. But I figured someone listening to this podcast episode may think that they have inverted nipples when truly it could be more of a dimpled nipple situation And of course, I'm going to add right here that this podcast is never medical advice. Of course, I would have to meet one on one with you, you'd have to sign a consent form, saying that it's okay that I give you medical advice if I were to give you specific medical advice. So work with your own personal IBCLC are one of us here at breezy babies, if you are concerned about a dimpled nipple, and inverted nipple of flat nipple, and we can 100% help walk you through that and help you through that journey. Okay, tip number three is, you can help your nipples stick out more if it is truly flat. Okay, um, so, here's the thing, it's not uncommon for laboring women to get fluids through an IV, sometimes even a lot of IV fluids I've seen my clients get. And you probably don't know this, but all those bags of fluid that you're getting through your IV while you're laboring can make your breasts swollen by the time that you're ready to let your new baby. Not only that, but around day two to day five, it's normal to feel some fullness or engagement in your breasts. As your milk starts to come in, which I don't really love the term come in, there is no coming in. Your milk is already there, it's ready to go starting around your second trimester of pregnancy. But when your milk transitions to more volume, we often call that coming in. Either way during those first few days after giving birth that your breasts can be so swollen and soulful, that your once normal protruding nipple now appears to be flat as can be. And that can make it a bit tricky to latch your baby, especially when you're just starting to learn how to latch with a brand new baby. So here's what you can do. You can massage your breasts and do breast gymnastics. That really helps to relieve the fullness and encouragement if you don't know how to do that work one on one with us. You can also check out my highlight bubbles on my instagram at breezy babies. On how to do that. You can also do some reverse pressure softening. If your breasts are super swollen, that swelling can extend into your areola which is the dark area around your nipples. Here on the lychee League website, they say reverse pressure softening involves using gentle finger pressure around the base of the nipple to temporarily move some of that swelling slightly backwards and upwards into the breast. So how you do this as you line up your fingers around your nipple and press straight down. It's kind of hard to explain this over a podcast but when you work one on one with your ibclc we can show you exactly how to do this I actually had a client once who had the worst swelling that extended into her areola that I had ever seen. She was in so much pain not only from the swelling but also because her baby was getting the worst most shallow latches, which was causing horrible breakdown and damage to her nipples. I had to do reverse pressure softening while I had her do reverse pressure softening before we latched her baby. And when she released her fingers there were literally finger and dents all around her areola. It was so bad that I had her reposition our fingers and do the reverse pressure softening a bit longer before we even attempted a deep latch. Okay, so that's an option that you can work with your IBCLC the reverse pressure softening. Another thing you can do is roll your nipple and between your pointer finger and your thumb. You could also use a breast pump right before latching to help pull out the nipple. This could be a Haakaa. Like the classic Haakaa can help pull up the nipple. It could be an electric breast pump or a hand pump or whatever you have on hand whatever is easiest to grab and hook up and suction to your breast before latching on your baby. And the last option that might be a good option for you is the nipple shield, maybe maybe a nipple shield. Nipple sills are very much a case by case bases they are never something that we just hand out like candy, so you only want to use this under the supervision of an IBCLC. nipple shield. You could also consider a nipple reverter. Again, they're not always my first choices when it comes to flat or inverted nipples, but it could be something that works for some of you. So to wrap up, what is the biggest lie here? The biggest lie when it comes to inverted and flat nipples is that you cannot breastfeed with flatter inverted nipples. That is the complete lie. You can breastfeed you can nurse your baby with flat and inverted nipples. I have absolutely seen it happen time and time again. So again, tip number one is it's called breastfeeding and not nipple feeding for reason. Tip number two was true inverted nipples may not be what you think. And tip number three is you can help your nipple stick out more if they are truly flat. Okay, and before I let you go today, I want to tell you that if you are an IBCLC, or soon to be IBCLC, I want to talk with you I am looking to expand my team, the spring. I am looking for lactation consultants who want to work in private practice, but don't know how to get started. If you're an IBCLC. Maybe you haven't started working as one yet or you're working in the hospital and you're interested in more flexible hours maybe better pay time that you can take off work when you want how you want and have more control over your life and over your schedule, then private practice might be a good fit, and I would love to talk with you and explore if working on the breezy babies team would be a good fit for you. So if you are interested on getting on my IBCLC waitlist, would you please send me a message or an email with just the words IBCLC and I will send you the link to my IBCLC waitlist. I can't wait to come back and talk with you next week about more fun topics. Of course I'm going to leave you with you're strong, you're smart, you are beautiful. You're a good friend to all. Bye bye. If you would like more help check us out at breezy Is the happy place for boobs and babies where you can take an online workshop on topics from breastfeeding to baby gas. Learn baby massage, get a pumping plan before returning to work and even get one on one lactation help from our IBCLCs we meet with families both in home and also all over the world via secure video and guess what? These lactation consultations might even be covered by your insurance. Click the link in the show notes or visit breezy to see if you qualify. Also connect with us at breezy babies on Instagram and YouTube. And last if you love what we do, please leave us a review on Google or Apple podcasts by

Intro to the show.

Pumping is also breast feeding.

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes.

Nipple anatomy and latching issues.

True inverted nipples may not be what you think.

The dimpled nipple.

What happens when you get fluids through an iv?

What you can do to relieve swelling.

Using a breast pump or nipple shield.

How to get started as a lactation consultant.

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