Longer nipples can make it difficult for your baby to nurse, especially when your baby is premature, according to the La Leche League. If breastfeeding has been a challenge, pumping can help you give your baby the same nutrients and benefits of breastfeeding while offering the ease and comfort of bottle feeding. Longer nipples ca pose a pumping issue as well, but the proper preparation and techniques can make letdown and pumping easier.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, suggests FamilyDoctor.org. When you're hydrated, your milk production stays high and is easier to harvest via a suction pump.
Massage your breasts for a few moments before pumping. Dr. William Sears, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, suggests beginning at the armpit and making small circles with your fingertip down into the breast tissue. Move slowly in a diagonal pattern toward the areola. This will help stimulate milk production so you spend less time pumping. This is especially beneficial if you have long nipples and you find pumping to be painful.
Center your nipple in the mouth of the cone or funnel opening of the breast pump. In some ways, longer nipples may be an advantage because you'll need less suction to pull the nipple into the neck of the pump for better harvesting. Ensure that your nipple stays center, without touching the sides, which could be painful.
Adjust the suction to your comfort level. Always begin pumping on a lower suction setting, and work up to a higher setting as your comfort allows. Starting on the highest setting can cause pain and a poor milk output if you're stressed out and in pain. Most breast pumps have a small dial that you can adjust when you feel that you're comfortable enough for more suction or less suction if you're in pain.
Pump as long as you're comfortable and producing milk, recommends the U.S. .Food and Drug Administration. Pumping when your breast is clearly empty, or pumping while in pain will not increase your output and can cause your long nipples to feel sore for your next pumping.
Rub an emollient cream on your nipples when you're done pumping. Longer nipples may be more sensitive and left feeling sore and stretched. An emollient cream can help soothe and soften the skin for more comfortable pumping sessions.