Jun 142011

“Hey! Your nipples are really nice! Like giant saucers! Perfect for breastfeeding!” L&D Nurse to mother while mother coped with great difficulty through pitocin induced contractions.

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  33 Responses to “"Hey! Your Nipples Are Really Nice! Like Giant Saucers!…"”

  1. Timing, people! Timing!

  2. Well gee thanks, but I’m kinda busy here with these %^$^#* pitocin contractions from hell, and I would appreciate it if you would stop commenting on the private parts of my body. I’m sure you a just trying to be positive and all, but stuff a sock in it!

  3. yeah, great. I’ve got huge nipples and giant hemorrhoids, got any other observations you want to make?

  4. 1. Mom doesn’t care about her nipples a whole lot right now, nor does she want to know that YOU care about them. In fact, unless you are a lactation expert and she specifically asks you what you think of her nipples, keep your comments to yourself. And don’t talk about any other part of her body either. Compliments like “you look nice” are fine… outside the labor room. Don’t take mom’s concentration away from her contractions to try to make her feel good about her body… she already feels good about it because it’s doing something amazing.

    2. You’re obviously NOT a lactation expert, because large nipples tend to cause a lot of problems for women. Not always, but babies have tiny mouths and large nipples don’t fit in them very well. It takes support and practice to get it right for most women. So since you don’t know anything about this, shut it.

    If you wouldn’t say something to a woman you just met on the street, and it doesn’t have anything to do with why you are there as a medical professional, don’t say it. Why would this ever seem appropriate?

    • Are you 100% on number 2? The only people I know who have had difficulty with large nipples are the people who were TOLD they would have difficulty by well-meaning relatives and nurses. Even on LLLI.org, large nipples are only addressed in passing several times – to say that a mother with large nipples simply requires the patience to wait for baby to open that mouth wide. Granted, I’m no expert, but that hardly seems like the biggest hurdle a new mom would face. I know it wasn’t for me – not even close.

      • I have large nipples and have breastfed both my sons with absolutely no difficulty. They are both still nursing at 39 months and 11 months.

      • I don’t know if she is certain… but I am. I had two (out of five… #2 and #5) small mouthed babies who had to ‘grow into’ my large nipples before nursing became easy. Of course one also had a tied tongue… but a small mouth/big nipple coupling *can* be a problem. Patience for baby to open wide was pointless. She (the babe without the tied tongue) had no patience with me trying to get her to latch where she wasn’t mangling me. Pumping and feeding for two weeks was all that worked.

      • I agree with you about number 2. Large nipples and areolas don’t make it harder to breast feed, unless someone tells you that it will. I have breast fed 5 babies (number 6 is due in 4 weeks) and I have very large breasts, areolas and nipples. The ONLY time I have ever had probelms is when a (well meaning) nurse or LC insisted that the whole thing had to be in my baby’s mouth. Which simply is impossible in my case. Not all women’s bodies are the same and not everyone does or can do everything the same way. The trick is to get as much in as you can and relax. After my third baby, and a little 19 year old CNA getting all over me because I was doing it “wrong” I no longer breast feed infront of any nurse, only the LC and that is if they insist on seeing my latch.

        • I disagree. One of my good friends is an experienced IBCLC. I took a class from her on providing breastfeeding support and she specifically stated NOT to tell a mother to expect difficulties. So we know she doesn’t believe in warning women “your anatomy is broken so you’re going to have trouble.” And she still saw a high incidence of sore nipples with mothers with large nipples.

          Same with my midwife.

          It’s not a myth.

          • That may be true, I don’t know, I don’t have the experience of a LC, only my own experiences to draw from. I only know that it was when I stopped listening to the nurses who were trying to get the whole areola in my baby’s mouth, that I was able to nurse. I rememeber very well sitting in my hospital bed crying, with my baby, trying to get that whole gosh darn thing in her mouth, as the nurse was squeezing and pinching trying to make it work. Once the nurse left to get a LC my own mother (who nursed 5 with large anatomy as well) told me to relax and showed me how to do it. When the LC got there a while later, we had established a great latch and had no more problems.

            I guess the problem I have is the “one size fits all”. Just because you have large areolas doesn’t mean you will have sore nipples, just because you have small breast doesn’t mean you won’t make enough milk, just becase it all “looks” right doesn’t mean you will not have a problem. Same when it come to pregnancy, labor and anything medical. We don’t all fit into molds, we are not the same, our bodies all work differently. :)

          • Ahhh… I see. We’re talking about two different things here.

            Large areolas aren’t a cause for concern. Like I stated below, they can kind of be a blessing, because if a baby gets all the areola and some of the breast tissue into his/her mouth it HURTS, because breast tissue isn’t as supple as areola tissue is. I’m really sorry that that dumb nurse was trying to get the whole thing in your baby’s mouth :( It’s just common sense that not all women have to worry about that, just make sure latch is comfortable and baby has *enough* areola to prevent sore nipples and be efficient at emptying the breast. That’s usually about 1.5 inches, NOT the whole thing when mom has a 3-5 inch diameter areola.

            Women with large NIPPLES (regardless of their areola size) can have more problems with sore nipples than women with average or small sized nipples. It’s because babies mouths are small and larger nipples are more likely to hit their hard pallet than smaller ones. It’s not the end of the nursing relationship, it just means mom has to be extra careful with latch until baby grows into it :)

      • I see what you mean. But they wouldn’t have to put that in there if larger nipples didn’t tend to cause soreness. It’s not a huge hurdle for sure, but some mothers and babies have a harder time because of larger nipples. And yes, I’m 100% on that.

    • Let’s go with You’re obviously NOT a lactation expert, because you don’t know the differnce between a nipple and an aerola. Aerolas the size of saucers I can buy. Nipples the size of saucers – I don’t think so! And as I have said before, baby doesn’t care where the color changes!

      • The baby doesn’t care, but I do. Areola tissue is different. It’s stretchy and has different nerve endings in it. Have you ever had a baby latch on cockeyed and get part of your regular breast tissue? OUCH.

        Large areolas = good for breastfeeding. Large nipples are also good for breastfeeding, but smaller ones tend to cause fewer soreness issues. That’s all I was sayin’ :)

  5. As others have said, commenting on my nipple size is not appropriate, especially right now.

    The whole “like giant saucers” thing is where it was taken to another level.

    I’m not here to pose for a centerfold. looking nice is irrelevant.

  6. a)Not really the time. b)Most women wouldn’t take that as a complement. c)I think she means areola not nipple. d)Thank you for being positive about breastfeeding!

    • Yeah, if I had been told this I would have been all distracted being the anatomy police.

      “That’s my areola, you nitwit!”

      Then I would feel embarrassed from the time in middle school when a guy friend of mine told me that the only sexy breasts are the ones with areolas the size of dimes (no, I had not flashed him). So I’m actually very sensitive about mine, which are the size of CDs when I’m pregnant. And when I’m embarrassed my labors slow down.

      So, do us a favor, nurses of the world, and don’t comment on our bodies during labor. You don’t know what our triggers are.

      • This is so true. I had a nurse that complimented my complexion (referencing me in the third person) while I was doped up on Nubain, feeling nauseous and paralyzed. I found it so disconcerting and it made me feel even more vulnerable than I already was.

  7. Great. I have saucers for nipples. Let’s all have tea after this! In the meantime, shut the hell up and give me some labor support!

  8. okay…..seriously what was the L&D nurse thinking saying this to her

  9. This reads like bad adolescent love poetry. “Your nipples are great! Like saucers! Your eyes are like the moon! In June!…” Just what every mother deep in the throes of Labourland wants to be distracted by. While you’re at it, do you have any important papers for me to sign?

    Roses are red,
    peppermint is green;
    a stupid non sequitur
    shouldn’t be heard or seen…

    Oh, and I’m a flat as pancakes AA/A when not pregnant or lactating, with tiny aereolae and nipples to match, and I’m a human dairy. My babies have all found their food source and latched on without any problem. Size is irrelevant.

  10. Right up there with the LC after my first daughter was born who said to me “Your breasts are the consistency of over-kneaded bread dough!”

  11. You know, I bet you meant that as a compliment, but right now, I just want to SLUG YOU! Keep thoughts about my intimate regions TO YOUR BLOODY SELF.

  12. I don’t get why medical personnel seem to think they are free to say whatever the hell they want to the patient.
    Unless it’s important information that needs to be conveyed right now, no comments on bodily observations!

    • It seems like it’s mostly people in the OB field (nurses, docs, midwives). I’ve never heard anyone comment to the patients about their private parts in other areas of the hospital, even though they’re often completely exposed. (I do know of med pros gossiping about patients’ bodies outside the patient’s presence though.)

      • Yes, nurses sometimes make a quiet comment at the nurse’s station about something unusual, like the guy with a permanent erection, or the guy whose penis went right down to the end of the urinal jug. We are human, after all.

        I don’t see that as so bad. But what I have also experienced as a nurses aide in a nursing home is other aides commenting on men’s private parts, while taking care of the man, who was conscious but helpless. Or commenting on the smell or copiousness of a patient’s stool or urine.

        Old people are another category (along with pregnant women) of human being who lose their rights to privacy, dignity, and self determination. I am heading in that direction fast myself (I am 61) so I hope your generation will change that.

        • I don’t see it as so bad either, as long as the patient and his/her family are never aware of it. I have friends who are nurses who tell tales out of school, so to speak, but there’s never any identifying info about the patient and it’s usually stuff that happened months or years ago. Sort of like the stuff you’d read on a lot of nurses’ blogs.

          I agree with you that old people lose their rights as well. Sadly, it won’t be my generation to fix it though since I’m damn near as ancient as you. lol

    • It reminds me a little of the gay guy I worked with when I waitressed who seemed to think his sexual orientation freed him up to make any comment he wanted about any woman’s body. We (all the female waitresses) finally got together and told him that even though we knew he wasn’t hitting on us, some comments are inappropriate from ANYONE.

  13. I remember when I was in the hospital after my first baby was born. I had a C section, and in those days C section mothers usually stayed a week. So I was there when my milk came in and I was engorged, especially since my baby was only brought to me every three or maybe it was four, hours. I didn’t have anything with me to wear except the hospital gowns as I arrived in the hospital in a dress which didn’t open in the front. So to nurse, I had to untie the gown and expose both my breasts. I was sitting in bed nursing my baby with the door closed, when all of a sudden in walks the young doctor from my OB’s practice.
    He stops suddenly, in a “taken aback” gesture, widens his eyes, and says “I guess YOU won’t have any problems breastfeeding.” But what he meant are, “your breasts look huge and I am looking right at them.” My breasts aren’t really huge but engorgement will do that. And at that moment they were so engorged that I had had a bit of a problem getting the baby latched, although he had had no problem earlier. I felt embarrassed, as though I had been terribly inappropriate. But I was in the hospital, I said to myself. I was on the maternity floor. I was nursing my baby. And he was a doctor. I still felt like someone who had deliberately exposed herself. I brazened it out and he got control of himself. But you can see that it was not a light event to me, as it is still fresh in my mind after almost 38 years.

  14. To Erika: Wow–I’m not even certain what that would be like, but that’s crazy!
    Re: the original post: SO not the appropriate time!

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