The lipstick nipple is when the nipple looks misplaced because of breastfeeding with a shallow latch.
The first sign of a bad latch is nipple pain and discomfort while nursing. The second sign is a fussy, annoyed, and hungry baby after feeding.
You can correct lipstick nipple by applying different breastfeeding methods to prevent a bad latch. Below, you will find a list of techniques you can try and improve the situation, so let’s begin.
Why Does Lipstick Nipple Latch Happen?
Typically, lipstick nipple happens because of a shallow latch. It’s common in mothers, and in some cases, it’s not as bad as it sounds.
It’s also possible to develop a lipstick nipple with a good latch. There’s no problem if your baby gets enough milk supply and the mother isn’t in pain during the nursing.
Suppose you’re experiencing a lipstick nipple and feel pain during breastfeeding. In that case, you should do something to ensure your baby is getting a deep latch that is also comfortable for you and offers proper milk flow.
The following techniques can help you get a deep latch and prevent a lipstick nipple, so let’s dive right in.
How to Fix Lipstick Nipple Latch
Nursing helps mothers bond with their newborns. However, it’s not a breeze. On the contrary, it’s challenging, especially for new mothers.
You’re doing everything right, but you still experience a poor latch, sore nipples, bleeding nipples, lipstick nipples because your baby can’t get a deep latch, etc.
The last issue can be painful for the mother and frustrating for the newborn because they’re still hungry after feeding. Luckily, it’s easy to identify a bad latch and correct it with different methods such as the following.
1. Ensure There’s No Medical Issue
First, rule out any medical conditions in your baby, such as tongue or lip ties. If your baby has a tongue tie or lip tie, the pain you’re experiencing may be because of a bacterial infection or thrush.
Tongue tie and lip tie go hand in hand together. The former happens when the strip of skin attaching the bottom of the tongue to the mouth is shorter than average. The ladder is similar to this and occurs concurrently with a tongue tie.
These obstructions prevent babies from obtaining a good latch and result in lipstick nipples. Therefore, schedule a pediatrician appointment and check your newborn for tongue or lip tie as soon as possible.
A pediatric dentist can fix tongue or lip issues with a minimally invasive procedure in young babies.
2. Breastfeed in a Calm and Quiet Place
Once you’ve ruled out medical problems and know that your baby isn’t experiencing any physical obstructions when breastfeeding, arrange a soothing space where you can breastfeed peacefully.
Breastfeeding in a calm place without distractions is good for both the mother and the baby. It will help you relax and bond with your child.
I suggest starting your breastfeeding journey with skin-to-skin contact to help your child feel safe. So, undress yourself from the waist up and rest your baby on your chest.
If you have a visually impaired baby, consult your pediatrician or lactation consultant for detailed breastfeeding and bonding guidance.
3. Make Your Breasts Easily Accessible
Hold your infant with one hand and cup your exposed breast with your other hand in a crescent shape using your thumb and the rest of the fingers.
Wrap your hand around your breast but keep your fingers away from the nipple. The nipple should stay in a natural position so your baby can get a good latch.
4. Follow Your Baby’s Lead
Support your baby’s head while you offer your breast. Let your baby find the nipple on their own. In other words, let your baby lead the breastfeeding process because allowing your baby’s latch to happen naturally ensures good results in most cases.
5. Unlatch and Try Again
If you feel pain or discomfort when your newborn latches or see a wrong shape after a few minutes into nursing, unlatch and try again.
If you pull your baby off your breast, they might get a little fussy. However, it’s worth figuring out a better position before continuing the feeding. First, break the suction using your finger, then give your baby another try.
If your baby is regularly creating a lipstick nipple, you may need to do this multiple times at every feed.
6. Ensure Your Baby’s Mouth Opens Wide
If your baby’s mouth covers your nipple and areola fully, they will get a good latch. Also, their lips should be curled outward instead of fastened around the base of your nipple.
If they don’t have their mouth opened wide, you can try gently pulling their chin down to encourage a proper opening. Ensure your nipple bypasses their gums so that you can relieve excess pressure.
7. Aim Your Nipple Properly
Ensure your baby’s mouth is wide open (at least 90 degrees angle), then point your nipple to their nose, so it ends up near the roof of their mouth. If you do this, you will likely bypass your baby’s gums and ensure a deeper latch.
8. Pay Attention to the Lower Lip
To prevent a lipstick nipple latch, ensure your baby’s lower lip is the first to come in contact with your breast.
Align your baby’s lower lip with the edge of your areola, as far from the base of your nipple as possible. Lastly, bring the rest of your baby’s lips upward and onto your breast.
9. Ensure Their Chin Touches Your Breast
Gently press your baby onto your body. Make sure your baby’s chin touches your breast. That way, they will get a proper latch. And don’t worry if your baby’s nose touches your breast. Babies are born with flared nostrils, which means they can breathe around the sides of their nose.
10. Try a U shape
If you feel pain or discomfort while feeding your baby, maybe you’ve positioned your breast incorrectly. Unlatch and cup your breast tissue between your fingers in a U form, so your baby can get more of your nipple and breast tissue in their mouth.
If you already have a lipstick nipple, don’t fret; this technique can help fix this issue over time.
11. Consider Your Baby’s Position
Support your baby’s body properly while nursing. Check their shoulders, neck, and back and ensure they’re in a straight line. Your baby shouldn’t need to turn their neck to eat.
12. Change Feeding Positions
If you feel the position in which you feed your baby isn’t comfortable for you or your baby, try a different one. In fact, try different feeding positions and determine what works for both you and your newborn.
In my experience, a laid-back breastfeeding position ensures a good latch and prevents lipstick nipples. The football hold also prevents lipstick nipple latch, so try both feeding positions and see which one feels good for you and your baby.
13. Purchase a Nursing Pillow
If you can’t find the correct position, consider buying a nursing pillow. Then, try a different feeding position using the pad and see if your baby latches correctly.
I love nursing pillows because they help support the baby’s weight and move them closer to the breast. Moms also benefit from nursing pillows. They can relieve back pain and excess strain on their body.
14. Try a Nipple Shield
If feeding your baby is regularly causing pain and a lipstick shaped nipple, it may be worthwhile trying a nipple shield.
The nipple shield can protect your breasts and help correct the lipstick shape. So, if your baby has consistent latching difficulties, use a shield to relieve pressure and prevent further nipple damage.
15. Check Baby’s Body Position Often
Once you find what works for you and your newborn baby, don’t forget to check in from time to time to ensure they have a proper latch.
Should I Stop Breastfeeding?
If you have consistent issues with shallow latch, that doesn’t mean you should stop breastfeeding altogether.
For most breastfeeding mothers, a little effort and patience will usually correct lipstick nipple latch and any other problems they may have.
However, it’s also worth mentioning that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. And that’s completely okay, so don’t feel ashamed if you feel like you have to take a break until you figure things out.
If you have difficulty nursing or experience physical limitations that make things hard for you and your baby, seek other alternatives.
The most important thing is that you are healthy and your newborn is well-fed and happy.
Consult your lactation consultant for advice and ensure your newborn gets proper nutrition.
Simply put, act in the best way for your overall health and, of course, your baby’s life.
Lipstick Shaped Nipple: Final Thoughts
If you handle the lipstick issue early on, it shouldn’t cause too much trouble for you in the future, and your normal nipple shape will restore over time.
What’s important is not to ignore the issue and pretend everything is fine. Don’t be ashamed to talk to your lactation consultant or pediatrician about your struggles and find a solution together if the above techniques can’t help you.
You can easily prevent a lipstick nipple by maintaining a good latch during breastfeeding by lifting your baby’s chin and having your nipple aligned toward the roof of their mouth.
Finding a good feeding position for your newborn is also important. So, try different positions and stick with what works for you and your baby.