Breastfeeding with inverted or flat nipples

Breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples

Breastfeeding with inverted or flat nipples

Flat or inverted nipples and breastfeeding

It is very important to remember that your baby feeds from the breast and not the nipple.Therefore, as long as your baby can get a mouthful of breast in the mouth, there should be problem with the feeding. Flat or inverted nipples happen to about 10 percent mothers in the World.

What does it mean to have an inverted nipple?

The part of the breast that goes in your baby’s mouth is very firm. If the breast tissue doesn’t soften, then your baby may not be able to latch on.

Breastfeeding with flat nipples during pregnancy:

There is an ongoing debate on the treatment of flat nipples during pregnancy. Some experts say you should leave them, as after childbirth they are likely to become more prominent naturally. However, some others say they need to be treated using breast shells or nipple stimulation.Breast shell is a cup-shaped container that can be fit inside your bra. The inner part has a hole which fits the nipple. Once worn the pressure around the issue draws the nipple out. Nipple stimulation consists of exercises that include rolling the nipple and pulling it out gently. However, it is known that nipple stimulation during pregnancy can trigger labor and therefore, this exercise is best done ONLY after consulting the doctor.

Dealing with flat or inverted nipples after birth:

After birth, you might find that your nipple goes back in after being pulled out, if you don’t feed the baby quickly enough. But then this is a temporary thing and is not likely to happen as you get better at breastfeeding.

It is not advisable to wear nipple shield throughout the night, and if you do happen to do so, throw out any milk that collects in it. Also do not use them too often, as it causes nipple confusion – your baby may not want to latch to your nipple directly.

You may also find that sometimes you have one flat nipple and one prominent one. In such a situation, feed your baby on the easy one and work on the flat one by softening the texture of that breast and nipple rolling exercises. However, also know that it is completely possible to have a completely nourished baby by feeding only one breast. And even then if you can’t get your baby to latch, you can still breast milk feed your baby by expressing the milk if you want to.

If you still find it difficult, consult your doctor or a breastfeeding specialist.