Breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother and child as it strengthens a mother-child bond and keeps the baby healthy. So we understand why some women who have difficulty breastfeeding may be a little worried, especially when they feel their nipples are the culprit.
There are varying sizes of nipples and each is beautiful in their own way. However, many women believe it is impossible to breastfeed with either a flat or an inverted nipple. First, there is nothing wrong with you. Second, do not worry if your nipples are different. Like all the other women, you can breastfeed a child.
What To Do if You Have Inverted or Flat Nipples
An inverted nipple is when it's basically inside out while a flat nipple is just an areola.
You can always do the Pinch Test to determine whether you have an inverted or a flat nipple. What you can do is to gently compress the areola and see how your nipple reacts. If it doesn't protrude that means you have a flat nipple. Nipples that sink in are inverted nipples.
If you have an inverted/flat nipple and you are having problems breastfeeding, it is best to talk to your health care provider first so they can better advise you on how to effectively breastfeed your baby.
As soon as your baby is born though, it's important to have skin to skin contact with your child. Position your baby between your breasts to develop his innate reflexes to find your breasts.
The tips we have provided below should also help you breastfeed your baby especially when you have inverted or flat nipples:
1. Use a Breast Pump
Breast pumps are effective in drawing out inverted or flat nipples. We would recommend a Manual Breast Pump made with a soft silicone. It's painlessly easy to use and extract milk from your breasts. You can breastfeed with your other breast while simultaneously collecting milk on the other breast.
Using a pump is excellent for inverted/flat nipples as it's designed to create gentle suctions on the breasts, drawing them out. It's simple, safe and painless.
2. Avoid Getting Breasts Engorged
You will make it harder to draw out the nipples with engorged breasts. So as much as possible, breastfeed about 8x in a 24-hour period to avoid engorged breasts.
3. Try Using Nipple Shields
Nipple shields are ideally intended for short-term use only and with guidance by a healthcare professional. They are nipple-shaped sheath used to encourage babies to latch on and may be removed when the baby starts feeding. Nipple shields may also be used throughout the feeding. Consider a Silicone Nipple Shield or Breastfeeding Nipple Protector. Both make it easier for babies to feed.
If you are still having difficulty feeding your baby, seek support from a breastfeeding or lactation specialist. Breastfeeding may be a little challenging but there are effective ways to help you in your breastfeeding journey.