Your nipples can change during lactation, though the type of change can vary based on a few factors.
During nursing, the nipple elongates due to baby's latch, sometimes doubling in length! This is normal and is part of that good latch. However, after nursing and unlatching baby, if the nipple appears pinched or 'lipstick' shaped, this can be due to a less than optimal latch, so correcting positioning can help baby draw the nipple in deeper and eliminate any discomfort caused by the improper positioning.
Suction from your pump can cause slight swelling of your tissue, especially if you use a flange that is too large for your measurements. When we are using a size that is much too large, we are allowing space for the nipple to swell when the suction is applied during our pumping session. Swelling can cause discomfort and pain, so ensuring a correct flange fit can go a long way in reducing that discomfort and increasing your output.
The nipple touching the flange tunnel sides is not a bad thing in and of itself, as long as the nipple moves freely and doesn't catch on the flange material. One way to help that effortless movement is to use lubrication. If you experience pain, cracking, or dryness while pumping, our pumping spray can help. It is specially formulated to soothe and moisturize the delicate skin of the nipples, helping to prevent cracking and soreness. This can be a lifesaver for pumping mothers who are experiencing discomfort.
As our breast tissue changes during pregnancy and our nipples can experience some changes during lactation, we may find that their appearance doesn't go back to their pre-pregnancy looks. Still, any elongated or swollen nipples will settle over time.
Check out our Instagram Ask and Answer post on the topic below.