Does bad latch nipple look like lipstick?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

When it comes to breastfeeding, a good latch is crucial for both the mother and the baby. A poor latch can lead to various issues, one of which is commonly referred to as “lipstick nipple.” But what exactly does this term mean? Let’s dive into it.

Lipstick nipple is a term used to describe the temporary change in shape that a nipple undergoes due to nursing with misplaced pressure caused by a poor latch. When a baby latches onto the breast incorrectly, they may not take in enough of the areola (the darker area around the nipple) into their mouth. As a result, they may end up putting excessive pressure on the nipple itself, causing it to appear elongated and narrow, similar to the tapered tip of a new lipstick tube.

This change in shape can cause discomfort and pain for the mother during breastfeeding. The nipple may become sore, cracked, or even develop blisters. It’s important for breastfeeding mothers to be aware of this condition and take steps to prevent it, as well as address it if it occurs.

To avoid lipstick nipple, it is crucial to ensure a proper latch. Here are some tips that may help:

1. Positioning: Positioning your baby correctly while breastfeeding is key. Make sure your baby is facing you, with their body turned towards you as well. Their nose should be level with your nipple, and their mouth should be open wide.

2. Areola in the mouth: Encourage your baby to take in a good mouthful of the areola along with the nipple. The lower lip should be turned outward, and both the upper and lower lips should be flanged out.

3. Support: Properly supporting your breast during breastfeeding can also make a difference. Use your hand to offer support and help guide your baby’s mouth onto the breast.

If you notice your nipple taking on the shape of a lipstick tip during or after nursing, it’s important to address the issue promptly. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Break the latch: Gently break the latch by inserting your little finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth to release the suction. This will allow you to reposition your baby and encourage them to take a deeper, more effective latch.

2. Adjust positioning: Experiment with different breastfeeding positions to find what works best for you and your baby. Some common positions include the cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, football hold, and side-lying position. Find one that allows your baby to achieve a deeper latch and reduces the pressure on your nipple.

3. Seek help: If you’re struggling with achieving a good latch or experiencing discomfort despite your efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant or a healthcare provider with expertise in breastfeeding. They can provide guidance, support, and help you find solutions tailored to your specific situation.

It’s worth noting that lipstick nipple is usually a temporary condition that can be resolved with proper latch and positioning. However, if the issue persists or becomes increasingly painful, it is important to seek professional help to rule out any underlying issues such as tongue tie or other breastfeeding challenges.

Lipstick nipple refers to the temporary change in shape of the nipple caused by nursing with misplaced pressure due to a poor latch. It is essential for breastfeeding mothers to be aware of this condition, strive for a good latch, and seek support if needed. Remember, breastfeeding should be a comfortable and enjoyable experience for both you and your baby.