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Flat or Inverted Nipples and Breastfeeding

Flat or Inverted Nipples and Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is very important. Breast milk will supply your baby with all the possible nutrients that are necessary during the baby’s first few weeks. Normally it is recommended to breastfeed the baby for at least six months after they are born. Best gynecologist Brooklyn, NY recommend breastfeeding combined with other food after the six months until the baby turns one year old. However, breastfeeding is not possible for many mothers. This is due to different causes. One of them is a problem with the breast nipple.


Breast Nipples Size and Shapes

Breast nipples may vary in size and shape. Most breast nipples protrude and are easily grasped by the baby. There are some variations in size and shape that make it difficult or even impossible to breastfeed the baby. In order to correctly breastfeed the baby, he/she should be able to grasp the nipple and stretch it forward and upward against the roof of the mouth. However, in cases of flat nipples or inverted nipples this is very difficult or impossible. Nursing becomes very difficult in these cases.

Inverted nipples problems are more common during the first pregnancy. It is very common that the nipples don’t protrude fully during the first pregnancy. However, during pregnancy breasts intend to become more elastic and the inversion and protrusion problem intend to become less. With each subsequent pregnancy this problem is less noticeable and mothers usually reach to nurse their babies. First of all, you should check your breasts and nipples in order to determine if you have this problem.


Test to Find out If Your Nipple Is Flat

There is a simple test that can be performed during pregnancy which will help you find out if you have flat or inverted nipples. It is called the pinch test. During this test, you should hold your breast at the edge of the areola between your index finger and your thumb. Press in gently but firmly about an inch behind your nipple. If your nipple protrudes, that’s great. If it does not protrude or become erect, it is considered flat. If it retracts or disappears, it is considered inverted. Nipples that are severely flat or inverted will not respond to stimulation or cold by becoming erect. If you perform the pinch test and your nipples protrude, they aren’t truly inverted and will probably not cause any problems when you nurse your baby.

Inverted nipples problems can be unilateral affecting only one nipple. Because breasts function independently of each other, it is not unusual for mothers to breastfeed the baby with only one breast, while the other breast nipple is inverted or flat.


Useful Techniques for Inverted Nipples

If your nipples are flat or inverted some techniques may help. Useful techniques include:

  • Nipple stimulation – stimulate your inverted nipples by grasping and rolling it between your index finger and your thumb for at least 30 seconds.
  • Pull back the areola before you latch the baby on – in order to help your nipple protrude you should support your breast with the thumb on top and the other fingers underneath your breast. Pull back on the breast toward the chest wall.
  • Use a nipple shield – it is a flexible and thin silicone nipple which fits over your own nipple while breastfeeding.