Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: Inverted/Flat Nipples
If you have inverted or flat nipples you may worry that you will not be able to nurse your baby, or you may already be struggling to get your baby to get a good latch. There are some things you can try! I have tried them all myself and they all work very well. I think it is important to say that some babies have a hard time latching in the beginning regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes all it takes is patience If you are determined to breastfeed and are having problems with latch work with a lactation consultant and/ or your doctors to make sure your baby is getting all the nourishment he or she needs. Also sometimes baby's latch on perfectly despite mom having inverted or flat nipples.
Try These Tips First!
- Have skin to skin contact with the baby right after birth or as soon as possible after, during this time babies often instinctively move toward the breast and latch on their own.
- Simply pinching the nipple with your fingers or rolling them between your fingers may be enough to cox the nipple out
- Supporting breast while cupping around the nipple may also help
Try Different Positions
Sometimes a laid back position is useful for latching, but everyone has their own preferences and I urge you to try many different ways of holding and nursing baby if you are having a problem getting the baby to latch.
Use a Breastpump Before Trying to Nurse
One thing you can try if baby can't get a good latch due to inverted of flat nipples is to try to use a breastpump before you offer the breast to the baby. The key is to use it just enough to pull the nipple out some. This will hopefully be enough for the baby to latch on. Stay patient and try often.
Stay Patient and Try Often
Try These Useful Gadgets
- Supple Cups - These are great little cups that fit over the nipple and use gentle suction to draw out the nipple
- Nipple Shields- These were my best friend! Although the hospital usually has them with the birth of my youngest they did not want to give me one before I had tried everything else and was unable to breastfeed for so long. They are little silicon nipple shaped shields that you put over your own nipple. I feel they are better than just supplementing or pumping and offering a bottle because your baby is actively suckling from the breast and you still get some skin to skin contact. Although this may cause some nipple confusion since it is silicon you can take them off and offer the breast without it often to try to encourage a good latch. If you have to use a nipple sheild I encourage you to keep trying to get a latch often without it. After several months of using one with my first baby I was finally able to get him to latch without it!
Fed is Best!
If all else fails you can pump milk for your baby! There is also many different types of formula if you can not or just do not want to pump all the time. However you feed your baby, Fed is best!
Other Articles in this Series of Breastfeeding Challenges
- Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: Clogged Milk Ducts and Mastitis
How to get over a clogged milk and continue breastfeeding.
- Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: Engorgement
How to deal with engorgement
- Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: Sore Nipples
how to overcome sore nipples when breastfeeding