Update on the use of breast tips
Breast tips have raised heated controversy and have been little studied. The breast tips currently used are of better quality, but they are still too often recommended without valid indication, and without proper follow-up. It’s also a shame that silicone breast tips can help solve some breastfeeding problems. It is therefore particularly useful to know when, how and why to use a piece of breast.
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We find the first mentions about breast tips in medical texts from the middle of the 17th century. They were then generally recommended for flat nipples. Their form has changed very little over the centuries. They were originally made of silver, wood, bone, glass, and even lead. These were used for more than a century, until it was found that lead induces brain damage in babies. It can be assumed that breastfeeding did not last long when such rigid implements interposed between the breast and the baby. In addition, they were (and still are) difficult to clean properly.
Women’s magazines began advertising for breast tips in the early 19th century, claiming they avoided the problems of sore nipples. At that time, they consisted of a rubber nipple attached to a glass holder (and later plastic – “Parisian” breasts). This type of breast ends is still sold in pharmacies in many countries. At the beginning of the 20th century, Mexican-shaped and rubber-shaped breasts began to be marketed. Their thickness significantly lowered the amount of milk received by the child (up to 58% according to one study), and they were the cause of stunting in some children. In the 1980s silicone breast tips appeared, much thinner. The latter lowered the milk supply somewhat, but did not change the child’s suckling or the protactinium level. It is the use of this type of breast ends that will now be discussed.
Use in case of flat or Retracted Nipples
It has been a long time since women with flat or retracted nipples try to find a solution to this problem. Of course, the baby sucks the breast, not just the nipple. But the latter plays an important role in the breast. Babies seem to need oral stimulation at the junction between the hard palate and the soft palate to start suckling. If the nipple lacks elasticity or does not reach this level, or if the child can not get it far enough into his mouth, the sucking reflex will not trigger. In this case, the baby becomes grouchy or apathetic.
A bottle nipple induces an important stimulus in the baby’s mouth. The latter may soon come to prefer a pacifier because of this strong stimulation and the speed with which the milk arrives. The silicone breast tips can be used to boost the baby’s oral stimulation. This will help her to accept a breast whose nipple is flat or retracted. As the silicone is soft, the baby will be able to catch the nipple under the breast end, and get enough milk. Weighing the baby regularly will confirm it. And because the breast ends give the baby a pacifier-like feel, they will be very helpful in helping a baby with breast-teat confusion get back on the breast.
The sucking of the baby creates a depression in the cavity of the breast end. This promotes elongation of the nipple, even when the baby sucks less vigorously, and improves its elasticity. Over time, the elasticity of the nipples will improve, and the breast ends will no longer be needed. Many mothers with flat or retracted nipples get sores fast because of problems. The use by these mothers of breast ends can then promote the continuation of breastfeeding.
Facilitate the breastfeeding of premature babies
The negative pressure in the cavity of the breast ends stretches the nipple, and allows the baby to catch it more easily. It also stimulates the flow of milk, which the baby gets more easily. Both of these factors are particularly helpful when the baby is a premature baby, whose sucking is low. These babies easily give up any effort to suckle if they have difficulty taking the breast in the mouth, and if the milk does not flow easily. In a study on the subject, premature babies were able to take significantly more milk when they were breastfeeding than when they breastfed. The use of breast tips had no impact on the duration of breastfeeding in this population.
Use breast tips effectively
It’s important to choose the right size: not all breasts are identical, and babies are different too. Then it is necessary to show the mother how to use them correctly. Breast tips are sold all over the world, and they can have very different sizes. People who follow breastfeeding mothers should be aware of this fact, and ensure that the mother has a breast that is suitable for her.
There can be important differences in the sizes of the nipples. In some mothers, the large volume of nipples can be precisely the source of the problems encountered. Using a piece of breast that will further increase the volume that the child has to get into his mouth will only make things worse. In such a case, the breast ends will not be the best solution; the main thing for the mother will be to maintain her milk secretion by drawing her milk until the baby is able to take the breast correctly.
Overall, the breast end should be adapted to the baby’s mouth: not too long (not to cause a nauseated reflex), nor too big (it must fit easily into the mouth of the baby). In many cases, the smaller model will be the best choice, even if the nipple just fits in. Sometimes a big nipple can be “packed” in a small piece of breast that the baby can put in his mouth; in such a case, it will be necessary to monitor the possible appearance of painful nipple problems.
To put the end of the breast, roll up the edge (as you can turn the edge of a sombrero). Put the breast end just on the nipple, and fold the edge over the are ola and the breast. Lightly moistening the edge that will apply on the breast will facilitate adhesion. Some mothers place their fingers crosswise on the edge of the breast end, then turn it a little while pressing on it, which increases the adhesiveness and pushes the nipple further into the cavity of the breast end.