Nipple Variations and Breastfeeding


When you're breastfeeding, there's a few things that can cause some hiccups along the way. 

Did you know that the size and shape of your nipples may play a role in the way your baby is able to breastfeed effectively? Even if nipple shape is different for every mother, there's a few tips and tricks that can make breastfeeding easier for you and and your baby. 

An improper latch can result in nipple pain and a fussy, frustrated baby.

The first step is identifying what your nipple shape is, and the cues your baby is giving at feeding time. 

Flat Nipples

If your nipples lay flat or flush to your breast when not stimulated, you might be in this category. Flat nipples can be a challenge while breastfeeding, as they keep your baby from being able to latch properly. If this sounds like you, try stimulating the nipple area before latching your baby to give them a helping hand. Your breast pump may also help draw out the nipple more before breastfeeding. Many mothers with flatter nipples find that the football or cross-cradle hold gives them more control and allows the baby to latch properly. Experiment with different feeding positions that allows the baby to latch as far as possible.  

Inverted Nipples

Having inverted nipples can be even more of a challenge than flat nipples because they are typically unable to be stimulated to protrude. When breasts become engorged, inverted nipples may even more difficult to stimulate. Your lactation consultant may recommend pumping several days to a week before breastfeeding to encourage nipples to protrude enough for your baby to latch properly. While nursing you might find it to be more helpful to pull back on the breast tissue to expose more nipple to the baby. Your postpartum doula can help you create a breastfeeding plan that makes feeding time more comfortable with nipple inversion.

Large Nipples

Properly latching for the first few times can be challenging if the mother has large nipples. The problem here is the baby is unable to get the entire nipple in their mouth properly, disrupting milk flow and causing them to slip off the breast. This can be remedied with different positions and some assistance as they latch. Also it may be helpful to avoid any additional stimulation of the nipple right before latching as you would for inverted or flat nipples. When your baby goes to feed, help manipulate the breast tissue to align them properly with the nipple and try holding them at different angles that can keep you both comfortable. In this case, practice makes perfect and your baby will develop their own techniques. 

Even with a few challenges, breastfeeding can be an incredible and rewarding experience. 

Having some additional support can give you the confidence you need to reach your breastfeeding goals and overcome obstacles along the way.


Baby-Proofing Your Marriage

Bringing home a new baby can be emotionally and physically challenging. 

But the challenges don't end there.

Your relationship is one of the areas that tend to need the most TLC when you're adjusting to life as a new family. 

In the awesome book Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less and Communicate Better as Your Family Grows by Stacie CockrellCathy O'Neill, and Julia Stone is an awesome guide to the different challenges parents will face along the way. 

They cover everything from in-laws to intimacy, to help couples who might be struggling to reconnect and maintain their spark. 

“Telling a mother who has a child and work commitments to chill out is like telling a nuclear engineer not to worry about the leak in the reactor he has been sent in to fix.”

We plucked a few of our favorite "stages" and words of advice from the book to throw some refreshing tips your way to living happier as a married couple with kids.

The Initial Fear

Once the hospital sends you and your new baby on your merry way, the panic sets in. There's a moment when parents look at each other terrified and admit that "they're not so sure they can do this." A bunch of irrational fears and paranoia start to drive the wedge between parents.  

The Parade

Luckily the first few weeks are anything but lonely, with a parade of friends and relatives coming in and out of the house to lend a hand with the baby. Like all good parades, this too will come to an end. Once the relatives leave, parents are back to square one and have to figure out what to do next. Talk about stressful. But knowing what to expect in your first few weeks postpartum will help parents relax and work together as a team. 

New Job

Sometimes a new baby feels less like a joy and more like a full time job. Your boss just happens to be a very cute but relentlessly needy new baby. New parents are prepared for some sleepless nights, but it's one of those things you just don't know what it's like until you're on the front lines. When parents are tired, they're stressed and consistently cranky. A cranky spouse is sure to build quite a divide in the relationship, making the first few months particularly tough.

Explosive Fights

Remember when fights were as cute as what to eat for dinner or why you didn't get a call back right away? Those days are long gone and most arguments from here on out tend to be a little more aggressive. The stress of transitioning into roles as parents can create a lot of tension that makes communication more important than ever. 

It's a crazy journey, but an amazing one.

The Baby-Proofing Your Marriage book is an awesome read for any parent who might be feeling a little stressed out as they settle into life as a brand new family. 


The First 40 Days Postpartum Survival Guide

Extended maternity is an absolute luxury.

In some cultures, mothers traditionally stay close to home for an extended period after their baby's birth. In Sweden, new parents are eligible for 480 days of leave that includes 18 consecutive weeks of postpartum leave at 80 percent of their salary! The rest of their days are theirs to use as they see fit. 

The United States offers new mothers 12 weeks maternity leave and it is entirely unpaid. Only certain employers offer paid maternity leave and it usually comes with stipulations. 

Statistically, mothers that don't receive compensated maternity leave are more susceptible to postpartum depression and anxiety. Without the luxury of extended maternity leave, paid or unpaid, mothers definitely need an extra set of hands. 

This is where your postpartum doula saves the day. 

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the doula profession and many families don't even know what we can offer families that are expecting a new baby. 

Postpartum doulas are by your side to nurture you and your entire family as you make the transition home with your newborn and begin the healing process. Different from a midwife's role, we are in the home paying close attention to make sure the mother is right on track with her postpartum recovery and keep everything running smoothly around the house and with the rest of your family. 

The first six weeks are the most challenging and your doula team is there to cut back on the stress of acclimating to your new baby responsibilities. 

We're on your schedule and customize our care plans to suit your specific needs. We work with the way you parent to encourage parents to learn baby basics and gain confidence in those precious first weeks. Since we offer overnight care, sleepless nights for new moms are things of the past. Sleep is incredibly important for postpartum mothers as they regain their strength, begin a breastfeeding routine and heal from birth. We'll take over newborn care in the evening to encourage mothers to get a peaceful and restful night's sleep they can count on. 

Getting your little one on feeding and sleeping schedules can be difficult with the "back to work deadline" looming overhead. Your postpartum doula comes with a little extra peace of mind that you'll be on a healthy schedule for pumping, feedings and naptime no matter how soon you expect to return to work. 

Your maternity leave may be short but it doesn't have to be stressful. 

A good support system is crucial for any mother bringing home a new baby and your postpartum doula is there to give you the help you need every step of the way.

After all, teamwork makes the dream work.