Thursday, April 26, 2007

Inverted or flat nipples..

I coached women to breastfeed for quite a while now and I came across few women who thought they were destined not to breastfeed their children because they have what's called "inverted" or flat nipples. I really didn’t think inverted nipples were that common. Yesterday I got one more phone call from a pregnant woman asking if she will be able to breastfeed.
First I will like to salute this woman, first because she is researching the subject while she is pregnant, I witnessed few women who learned nothing about their condition which they were aware it exist until after the birth of their child, second because and from what I heard from her, SHE WANTS IT BAD ENOUGH. Yes it’s exactly how much you want to breastfeed, some women are really indifferent with their babies source of nutrition, this is because they do not know better of course. I believe if all women were educated enough and offered help and support.. Kuwait would be full of happy breastfed un-colicy babies.
It’s not that unusual for one nipple to be dimpled or flat, its not unusual for both nipples to be inverted or flat. Some women have this condition and it's nothing to worry about.
Yes you can breastfeed even if your nipples are inverted (if you believe you can). First we need to understand how important breastfeeding is for the happiness, health and wellbeing of mother and child; we can do that by simply reading online in any medical journal or newsletter, or have a short meeting with any breastfeeding mommy or lactation consultant.
So again, it's how bad you really want it! If you really want to have this special bond and if you believe that breastfeeding will benefit both you and your child, it's never too late to learn how you can fix your situation.
Having inverted nipples will not stop you and your child from having the natural bond of breastfeeding, remember: its how they function and not how they look! A nipple can actually appear normal but invert when the areola is compressed.
The golden rule of latch-on states: babies feed on the areola and not the nipple! How much your nipple protrudes is not a predicator of your success at breastfeeding. A baby who latches on correctly and starts sucking will stimulate the milk production and will draw the nipple out just enough so it’s the right shape and size. There are also many techniques to help the baby get started, its important that a new mommy is aware of her special situation before she gives birth so she can start with her happy breastfeeding experience right away, instead of confusing the baby with artificial nipples of bottles and pacifiers.
If you work closely with your baby in the first few days after birth and give him lots and lots of opportunities to practice nursing he/she will figure out exactly how its done and will go on to breastfeed long and happily. (Remember your baby doesn’t know any other mommy and he/she doesn’t know any other nipple unless someone introduces him to a bottle or a pacifier).
In fact worrying about the adequacy of your nipple and feeling that they r not right may zap your confidence and make you give up and give him a bottle too soon. If you believe that your nipples are stopping you from breastfeeding they probably will, because you won't make the effort to do what it takes to solve any problems that occur. You will just feel that you were destined to fail and that your breast where not designed to be used for nursing your babies.
If you build your confidence and believe in your ability to handle this you will also be able to handle any other problem that may occur.
My last advice, believe in yourself, if you expect to fail, you will. And always remember you breastfeed not nipplefeed!
Common concerns:
I heard about what's called a nipple shield can I buy this from a pharmacy in Kuwait?
It used to be a common practice to treat flat nipples with nipple stretching and nipple shields or shells. Lactation consultants stopped recommending those years ago because they simply don’t work. This artificial way of handling the problem didn’t solve the problem. Studies have shown that women using such shells were actually less successful at breastfeeding their babies! I personally feel that attempting to use such methods will make the mother feel that her breasts are inadequate, nipple shields will also cause soreness and will actually lower milk supply. (And yes they are available in pharmacies all over Kuwait ;)
Will I be able to make enough milk or will I need to use formula?
No mother should need to use formula, baby's sucking will stimulate your nipple-erection reflex, your milk supply has nothing to do with the shape of your nipple and the baby needs the areola and not the nipple.
My baby is suffering from nipple confusion because the hospital introduced him to pacifiers, can this be fixed?
I don’t think I have enough milk and I have to use a bottle but this is causing nipple confusion for my son and I can't continue to breastfeed, can I pump?
Let me first tell you a nice story. Um khalid is a concerned mother who had to be hospitalized for 3 weeks after she gave birth, having inverted nipples no one thought she will breastfeed and her mommy told her that she will be dried out before she's even back to the house. Her baby was on formula for the 3 weeks before her sister called me to help her out with breastfeeding.. it took her 3 days of total devotion for her baby, trying different techniques and working closely with baby khalid..
khalid celebrated his first birthday 2 months ago, he is a happy breastfeeding baby. Um khalid never used a pacifier or a bottle or a breast pump after she went back home from the hospital.. again, its how bad you want it, um khalid is married to a pediatrician who was very supportive and both were very aware of how important breastfeeding is for her and her baby.
"I don’t think I have enough milk" ß sadly this is something we hear from mommies with inverted nipples and with "normal" looking nipples and scientifically its not accurate.. Milk supply depends on the suction of the baby. Sucking stimulates milk production and you can increase ur milk supply by healthy eating and massaging your breasts.
I'm pregnant, and I have inverted nipples, is there anything I can do before I give birth?
Yes, do everything you can to have a birth experience that minimizes the use of medication during labor and maximizes mother-baby togetherness right after birth. Without medications your baby will be born alert and nothing is a better remedy for inverted nipples than an alert baby who can work with you right away to start practicing nursing. During pregnancy you can practice poses and techniques with an active birth coach and present your doctor with a birth plan that will help u to bond with your baby right after birth. Staying healthy and fit during pregnancy also helps.
Will my nipples ever be normal or will I have to go through this with every baby?
The problems you face with inverted nipples don’t last forever. As the baby learns to suck and latch on correctly in the first week or two after birth mothers find that they no longer need the help of a lactation consultant or even need the exercises they used. The baby will get used to the nipple and breastfeed successfully and get all the nourishment he/she needs.
How will breastfeeding help me and my baby?
We actually need more space to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child but here is a short summary:
* Brighter mind: children who were breastfed for an average of two years have higher IQ scores.
*smarter fats: mommy-made milk has the brain boosting ingredient called DHA decoshaexaenoic acid- omega-3 fatty acid and many other ingredients that contribute to mental development that can not be made in labs and are not found in formula.
* leaner adult bodies: breastfed babies grown up to be healthy fit individuals with lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, blood pressure and obesity.
* Better eyes better ears: DHA is one if the prime structural components of the retina of the eye and its only found in human milk. Breastfed babies hardly ever have ear infection; the fluid that this infection causes will not only dampen the vibration of the ear drum decreasing hearing but also provides a culture medium for bacteria. Being able to hear is necessary for language development so breastfed children start using words very early.
Nicer facial features nicer smile: pediatric dentists report that breastfed babies have better jaw alignment and are less likely to need braces, this is because of the suction technique they use which involves a more complex motions of the facial muscles and tongue.
*****Better lungs better hearts better digestion better bowl movement better immunity better skin better taste potty train easier .. Prevents: appendicitis asthma childhood cancers crohns colitis eczema gastroenteritis inguinal hernia leukemia respiratory illnesses sudden infant death syndrome urinary tract infections …etc
Breastfeeding for an average for two years prevents osteoporosis, breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers. Helps body get back to shape- help breast go back to shape – hormonal balance, prevents post partum depression.. etc 

Jumana Alawadhi

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