Breastfeeding

Elastic Nipples: Symptoms & Solutions

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Have you ever questioned why finding the proper bra size may be so challenging? That’s because no two human breasts are the same. Breasts may come in various sizes and shapes.

Some nipples are entirely flat; some of them may get inverted, and others may get elastic. However, some women only have elastic nipples when they are pregnant. That’s due to a hormone making your belly stretch out to allow your fetus to grow.

If you are experiencing elastic nipples and want to learn more about it, then this article is for you. It will address all your common questions about this problem. Let’s get started!

What Are Elastic Nipples?

The first thing all mothers should realize is that throughout nursing, the nipple will certainly get stretched. It happens in almost skin types.

Relaxing causes your nipples to stretch a little, allowing your newborn to latch quickly and adequately. Since it occurs within the newborns’ mouths, most mothers are unaware of how their nipples change.

Elasticity is a common occurrence. When does it become a problem?

Here are the two common cases:

  • Latching issues and a lack of suppleness might happen during breastfeeding. Inverted and flat nipples are signs of this problem.
  •  Excessive elasticity results in pumping issues.

In general, it’s very typical for a mother’s nipple to stretch while she’s pumping. Your nipples should reach halfway downward or considerably beyond the flange if you are breastfeeding.

Purple nipples after pumping

What Does It Mean If You Have Elastic Nipples?

You should be aware that stretching nipples are normal. They will be an issue when you feel uncomfortable or painful when pumping.

When you pump, your nipple should move quickly inside the flange and not be dragged excessively in the areola. It should not come into contact with or rub against the flange’s sides.

However, if you have elastic nipples, your areola will be dragged much into the flange. It may cause soreness and redness by compressing milk ducts.

A low milk supply can be the result of stretching nipples. The milk ducts aren’t empty when they’re compressed. Hence, your body receives the message that it will not require that much milk. Afterward, you begin to produce less. This cycle goes on and on.

Poor emptying and squeezed milk ducts may cause clogged ducts. If this problem continues for a long time, it might lead to a dangerous infection known as mastitis.

How To Know If You Have Elastic Nipples?

Because of the above-mentioned potential issues, it’s essential to figure out elastic nipples as soon as possible in the pumping period. It is common to have an elastic nipple that stretches beyond the usual elasticity of the regular nipple.

To determine the nipple’s predicted stretch, you should analyze how your nipple behaves when nursing. That’s because it is this bodily part’s biologically typical role.

normal vs elastic nipples

It’s critical to understand the many symptoms of stretchy nipples to diagnose and treat the condition.

Remember that a few of the symptoms can also indicate a flange that isn’t fitting correctly.

  • You feel pain when pumping
  • When pumping, it’s difficult to empty the breasts.
  • Your nipples get cracked.
  • Your areola and nipple are get dragged into the flange.

Talk to the lactation specialist if you suspect you suffer from elastic nipples.

Elastic Nipple Solutions

Experiencing elastic nipples is painful, significantly when pumping. So, here are some effective solutions to make pumping a bit more efficient and comfortable. You can try one or consider combining them all to find the best-suited solution.

1. Lubricate Before Pumping

Before pumping, it’s better to use hand expression and squeeze some drops of your breastmilk into the tunnel to lubricate it.

This action can assist in keeping the boob in place while also alleviating pain.

You can also use some drops of lanolin or olive oil to make the process easier. If needed, adjust the flanges after some minutes during pumping.

After pumping, manually squeeze for a few minutes and leave breastmilk dry naturally on them to aid in healing and keep it fresh.

Additionally, hand expressing can help to increase milk production.

2. Lower The Suction Strength

Never think you have to let your boobs tolerate a vacuum level of 12 suction. It isn’t a competition to see who can reach the maximum suction level first.

When pumping, make sure the suction strength should be at a comfortable level. Decreasing the suction level can assist reduce the amount of stretching in your nipple. This relieves areola and nipple discomfort and pain.

The truth is that whether you pump on low, medium, or high suction levels, the milk outcome is the same.

3. Check Your Flange Size

If you are unsure about finding a proper flange, you can talk with a lactation consultant. Flange size is much crucial for stretchy breasts.

flange size

A wider flange could help alleviate the difficulty while also improving milk production. If you haven’t found your flange size, here are some valuable tips:

  • Measure the dimensions of the nipple in mm (millimeters) with a tapeline. Don’t forget to leave out the areola!
  • Take the measurement plus 3-4 mm to determine the flange size.
  • Because nipple sizes are different, make sure you measure both of them.
  • You may wind up with flanges of various sizes!

4. Use Silicone Flanges

Silicone flanges like Pumpin’ Pals are a good option if your boobs are elastic. These products are safe as they are BPA-free and come with EAT (Elast+Assist Technology) to improve your breastmilk production.

These flanges are compatible with almost all pumps from different brands, so you can use them even when you change your pump regularly.

5. Use Silicone Inserts/Cushions

The final solution is using silicone inserts or cushions. The silicone cushions have the advantage of moving with the boob while pumping. The leading cause of elastic nipples is the pump, so it’s best to utilize a silicone cushion or insert to relieve pain.

Silicone attaches to the skin, keeping your nipples in place. In other words, they function as a shield preventing your skin from the plastic flange.

This technique avoids all friction that may lead to pain and discomfort, which improves your pumping experience. Nevertheless, you should note that you should regularly replace these inserts or cushions. The pumping frequency determines their longevity and durability.

breast pumping equipment

FAQs

Do Elastic Nipples Affect Breastfeeding?

The short answer is yes. They can affect your breastfeeding in many ways.

Oxytocin production might be suppressed if the tissues do not correctly stretch during breastfeeding. This problem results in a slow, inefficient, or no milk ejection response.

If your newborn has oral constraints, elastic nipples may support the development of a semi-functional latching for a baby with poor nursing skills. That’s because the tissue may stretch more efficiently to form a seal.

If a newborn’s palate is exceptionally high, the breast with elastic tissue can expand towards the oral cavity top, causing discomfort and nipple injury.

Even if the latch is functional and there is no pain, compression of the boob can occur if you have more elastic tissue.

Does Pumping Ruin Your Nipples?

Everything has two sides. So, understandably, pumping has both advantages and drawbacks.

Breast pumps make it easy to breastfeed your baby milk even if you’re not there. Your breasts will considerably change when you pump. The vacuum level seems significantly stronger.

You may feel some pulling and see the boobs become larger while pumping. The long-term effects vary. Besides, pumping can cause one boob to become bigger than the second.

Does Flange Size Affect Milk Output?

The answer is yes. That’s why choosing a flange with the right size is essential. Also, the nipple will not rub, squeeze, or be grown in a traumatic way. If the flange is not fit, it can cause breast injury and pain!

Apart from pain, selecting the incorrect flange might decrease the amount of breastmilk you can extract from your breast. On the other hand, an overly tight flange will compress your breast, potentially resulting in blocked or clogged milk outcomes.

The suction will not be adequate if the flange is too loosely fitted. This issue can result in milk remaining inside the breast and a decrease in subsequent milk supply.

Wrapping Up

There are many ways to make breastfeeding more pleasant and improve the amount of breastmilk. Hopefully, you know how to pump with elastic nipples with the tips above.

Elastic nipples will be to blame if you suffer pain during pumping and have poor milk production. If you have this problem, it’s best to consult with a lactation expert. You aren’t alone on the baby care journey!

Have you ever undergone elastic nipples and successfully treated them? You can share your effective solutions and experience with new moms. All your opinions are highly appreciated.

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