Breastfeeding With Flat Or Inverted Nipples
Some types of nipples like concave, flat or inverted nipples might make
it more difficult for baby to latch onto. For a baby to nurse
successfully he must be able to grasp the nipple and stretch it forward
and upward against the roof of his mouth. The most important thing to
remember is that baby should get as much of your breast into his mouth
Read more on other nipple variation problems such as folded or bifurcated nipples
Flat or inverted nipples are mostly caused by adhesions which never
opened up naturally during puberty resulting in abnormal nipples. During
nursing there will be some pain as the nipples are pulled out, but just
remember it is temporary and the nipples usually start to look normal
after a while.
Most of the time you will only have one inverted nipple. In this case,
you will be able to feed baby on the “good side” while you pump the
other side. You can always just keep the pumped milk for times when baby
needs a bottle
If your baby is strong, healthy, full-term and vigorous he may be able to draw out the nipple with ease.
Some good news is that the more you breastfeed the larger your nipple
will become and the more it will stand out. And the breast-feeding will
therefore become easier with every baby.
How do you know if you have flat or inverted nipples?
Gently compress your areola about an inch behind your nipple. If
your nipple doesn’t bulge out then it is a flat nipple. If your nipple
actually concaves it is considered to be inverted. Flat or inverted
nipples will never become erect when stimulated or when cold. If you
just have small nipples you should not have a problem with latch on
unless you have any of the other problems
- Nipple formers - Also called breast shells, milk cups, breast
cups or breast shields. These shells are used to help the nipple
protrude, they can be worn a few months before baby is born and also
every time before a breastfeeding session.
- The Niplette - This is a device that actually sucks out the
nipple which stretch the ducts and then make breastfeeding possible.
- The Hoffman Technique - Pressing down and pulling away from the nipple
with your thumbs a few times. Do this up and down and sideways. The
hoffman process will help your nipple move outwards and can be done
about five times a day.
- Using a breast pump - A breast pump can be used every time just before breastfeeding. A pump will pull the nipple out.
- Use the breast sandwich method to get more breast tissue into baby's
mouth. Grasp your breast well back on the areola, with your fingers
below and thumb on top. Push in with your thumb and fingers and at the
same time push back toward your chest wall. This will elongate your
areola, which helps baby latch on easier.
- nipple shields
are fake nipples which are not recommended as it may ultimately decrease your milk supply.
- Cosmetic surgery - This option can help with breastfeeding, but some
people have said that their nipples become inverted after a while again.
Things you can do that might help:
- Nipple stimulation - You can roll your nipple in your hands or
place something cold on it for a few minutes to get it to stand out.
- With an inverted or flat nipple you will need to nurse as soon as
possible after birth, and every 2-3 hours after that. This is to avoid
engorgement because breast engorgement can push flat nipples out, making
them even harder to grip.
- Make sure that your baby is
latching on correctly
- Try calming baby.
Use calming techniques
- If you are breastfeeding with inverted nipples you should always
remember that baby should get as much of your breast into his mouth as
- As a last resort mom might feel that she would rather
moms feel that they want to give up on breastfeeding after a while due
to the many different difficulties they might be experiencing during
breastfeeding, but can I please encourage you to read our page on the benefits of breastfeeding, not just for your baby, but for your sake too.
Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with flat or inverted nipples:
- Breastfeeding with extra big breasts and nipples
- Inspirational breastfeeding stories
- Pumping exclusively - Tips and advice
- Using a nipple shield
- Latching on
- Calming baby
- Nipple pain
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