Lipstick Nipple Latch: Cause and How To Correct Baby Latch

Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially if your baby isn’t latching properly.

Besides being painful for you, it can also keep your baby from getting enough milk to be full. Your nipples may also appear misshapen if your baby isn’t latching properly.

Lipstick nipple latch is a term used to describe the way your nipples can look if your baby isn’t latching properly. Imagine the top of a lipstick tube and how one side is further out than the other. That slant can appear during or after a nursing session when your baby isn’t latched properly.

If you notice lipstick nipple latch, there are things you can do to help ensure your baby is latching properly and getting the nutrients he needs.

Should My Nipple Look Like Lipstick When Breastfeeding?

Your nipple should not look like lipstick when breastfeeding. If it does, that means your baby isn’t latching properly and that the latch isn’t secure or deep enough to boost your milk supply or keep your baby full. 

What Causes Lipstick Nipple?

Lipstick nipple happens when your baby’s latch isn’t secure enough. They aren’t latched to your whole areola, so the weak latch leaves your nipple uneven and slanted.

It can also leave your baby feeling hungry after a feed, and your milk supply may suffer.

Is Lipstick Nipple Painful?

While you can experience pain with lipstick nipple, you won’t always.

However, with or without pain, you need to take steps to remedy the situation so your baby gains the proper amount of weight and you don’t end up with a low milk supply or clogged milk ducts.

Is Lipstick Nipple Common?

Yes, lipstick nipple is common because helping your baby latch properly can be difficult.

Many moms assume that as long as their baby latches at all and they aren’t feeling an abundance of pain while nursing that everything is fine. However, evidence of lipstick nipple proves it’s not.

Your child should be securely latched to your entire areola, not just the nipple. 

Is Lipstick Nipple Latch a Sign of Baby Tongue-Tie?

Lipstick nipple latch can be a sign of baby tongue-tie. Though it’s not the only reason this type of latch occurs, it’s worth talking to your child’s pediatrician if you always have lipstick nipple during or after nursing.

The pediatrician can check for a tongue-tie and help correct it so your baby can latch properly with ease.

Lipstick Nipple After Pumping

You can experience lipstick nipple after pumping. The reason for this is that pressure on your breast during pumping isn’t balanced, meaning the breast shields are basically not on properly.

You can avoid this by turning off your pump and making sure you have the right size attachments for your breast size. You can also change the pressure of the pump, possibly turning it down a notch.

It’s also important to center the breast shields and make sure they aren’t lopsided on either breast.

If you notice your nipple is pulling with each tug of the breast pump, then you need to readjust so milk is being drawn from your entire areola.

Is Lipstick Nipple Permanent?

Lipstick nipple is not permanent. It is temporary, and your nipples will go back to their normal shape after a period of time.

However, your breasts and nipples make look different after breastfeeding for months or years, and that’s perfectly normal even if you do have your baby latched properly.

How To Avoid Lipstick Nipple

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid lipstick nipple. Once you notice it’s an issue, you can help your baby latch properly and soon see signs of change.

  1. If you notice lipstick nipple latch, gently remove your baby from the breast using your finger, and help him latch properly. Though most babies don’t like being removed from their food source, it’s better to stop the bad latch and help him latch properly than to keep letting him nurse with a bad latch.
  2. Aim for your baby’s nose when helping him latch. Doing this helps your baby get the whole areola in his mouth, and this can mean avoiding a lipstick nipple latch.
  3. Switch up your baby’s nursing position. It’s easier for some babies to latch in a football hold as opposed to a cradle hold. You may also have an easier time guiding your baby to the breast in one position over another. Experiment until you find what works.
  4. Try a nursing prop, like a nursing pillow or boppy (this one worked for me). When used properly, these can take weight off your arms and keep you from letting your baby pull down on your nipple while you nurse. 
  5. Reach out to a lactation specialist. Ideally, you will see a lactation specialist within days of your baby’s birth so they can help your breastfeeding journey start properly. However, reach out again if things aren’t going smoothly. They have amazing tips to help your baby latch.

What Should a Nipple Look Like After Nursing?

Basically, your nipple should not look like a lipstick tube after nursing. It should look the same way it did before nursing, though it may appear fuller.

If it’s compressed or smashed, that means your baby only latched to the nipple and not your entire areola. This is not a good latch.

What Should a Good Latch Feel Like?

A good latch should definitely not hurt and shouldn’t really even be uncomfortable.

When your baby is latched properly, it should feel like your entire nipple is in his mouth with his chin against your breast.

The movement of milk will be consistent, and your child will be swallowing contentedly instead of being agitated because he can’t get enough milk.

In Summary…

Helping your baby latch properly is about more than just correcting the look of your nipples during or after a nursing session. It ensures no pain for you and plenty of nutrients for your growing baby.