If you haven’t paid much attention to your nipples before, it’s not a bad idea to take a closer look if you’re planning to breastfeed soon. Many women who have flat or inverted nipples are often concerned about how this will affect their ability to feed their baby. The good news is that it doesn’t really have to cause any difficulty. With these few tips and tricks, you’ll have no trouble feeding your baby.
How To Tell If You Have Flat Or Inverted Nipples
There are different kinds of inverted or flat nipples.
- Dimpled: Only one part of the nipple protrudes. When pinched it protrudes fully but does not stay that way.
- Unilateral: Only one of the breasts has a flat or inverted nipple.
- Inverted: The nipple retracts inwards. Different women have different degrees of inversion.
A simple “pinch test” will show you whether your nipple is inverted. Use your thumb and index finger, to gently squeeze the areola about 1
Can It Be A Problem For Breastfeeding?
Most often, inverted nipples do not really pose a problem with breastfeeding as long as the baby is able to get a good latch.2 A good latch refers to the manner in which the baby has fastened to the breast. It helps reduce any pain for the mother and baby is able to get enough milk without having to use too much effort. A premature or weak baby may have some trouble since their suck would
How To Make Things Easier For Your Baby
Flat or inverted nipples are often caused because the tissues at the base of the nipple are still attached to the inside of the breast. These specific techniques and products are designed to loosen that adhesion and eventually correct the problem for the purpose of breastfeeding.
Simple Techniques You Could Follow
These methods don’t need any special equipment.
1. Give It Time
Often inverted or flat nipples will correct themselves through course of the pregnancy. By the time you give birth, the nipple may have become erect and easy to latch on to.
2. Hoffman Technique
Place both your thumbs on the areola on either side of the nipple at its base. Stretch the base by pulling your thumbs apart. Do this both up and down and sideways. This
3. Pinch And Pull Back Technique
This technique simply makes use of your hands to help your baby get a good latch. Ideally, a good part of the areola and the breast should also be in the infant’s mouth while feeding. This is what helps trigger the sucking response. To help this happen, place your thumb and forefinger about 3-5cm behind the areola, squeeze and pull back the breast tissue towards your chest. This helps the nipple protrude. Allow the baby to latch on and only let go once your infant has got proper suction.
4. Use The Cold
If you can grasp it, roll the nipple between your thumb and forefinger. Then immediately use a moist paper towel or an ice cube wrapped in
Products You Can Use
These are products that can help you along the process of breastfeeding. You can buy them yourself or ask your hospital for supplies.
1. Nipple Puller
You can buy these specially designed products or make one at home yourself. They are essentially syringes with the end taken off. Using the suction helps pull out the nipple.3 You can do this regularly or just before a feeding. Try not to do it too often as it may result in the delicate skin cracking even before you start feeding.
2. Breast Pumps
Breast pumps serve the same function as the nipple puller. The suction helps draw out the nipple.
3. Breast Shells
Breast shells are hard plastic domes worn under bras to draw out the nipple with gentle painless pressure. You can use them before the baby’s birth or between feedings. However, using them for extended periods of time may result in blocked ducts so be careful with their use.
4. Nipple Shields
Nipple shields are silicone or rubber teats that go over your nipple. It gives the baby something to latch on to but the problem is that it may reduce your milk supply due to lack of direct stimulation.
Remedies For Sore, Cracked Nipples
With all of these techniques and products pulling at your nipples combined with actual feeding times, be prepared to experience a lot of soreness and cracking. You can help them heal properly with the right remedies.
1. Breast Milk
The easiest most convenient remedy is right at your disposal! Studies show that breast milk can help
Lanolin is a waxy substance that is left on wool-producing animals. It’s obtained from domestic sheep most often. It sounds strange but it can be extremely effective on dry and cracked skin, anywhere on the body. Researchers have found that it’s an effective remedy for breastfeeding women.5 When using it on your nipples, remember that traces of this may enter your baby so use only 100% organic lanolin on your breasts.