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Breastfeeding with Flat or Inverted Nipples

The shape of your nipples and breast change during pregnancy, they become more elastic and protrude more during pregnancy and once you start breastfeeding.

While it takes some patience and time for the baby to successfully breastfeed when you have flat or inverted nipples, it is absolutely possible to do so.

Babies breastfeed and not nipple feed. So irrespective of the shape of the nipple, with proper positioning and a good attachment, when the baby takes a good portion of the areola (the darker skin around the nipple), he can feed well even if you have flat or inverted nipples. There are few techniques mothers with flat or inverted nipples can adopt to stimulate the nipple, so it protrudes better.

  1. Pump for a few minutes immediately before breastfeeding so the nipple protrudes outwards from the suction of the pump and the baby can latch easier.

  2. Pull back on the breast tissue so the nipple protrudes.

  3. Holding the breast in a C-shape by placing your hand around the breasts so that your thumb is on top of your breast and your fingers are on the bottom helps in guiding the nipple into the baby’s mouth.

  4. Roll the nipple between the thumb and index finger and touch the nipple with a cold moist cloth to draw out the nipple.

  5. Breastfeed often to relieve engorgement as it makes the nipple flatter and latching becomes difficult .

  6. Use the Hoffman technique which is to place the thumb and finger on opposite sides of the areola and squeeze gently inwards.

  7. You can try using a nipple puller or an inverted syringe and applying gentle negative pressure around the nipple to draw it out. Do this before each breastfeed as long as required.

  8. If nothing else works, choose a nipple shield which best fits your nipple and use it temporarily to evert the nipple and establish breastfeeding.

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