Every poster I’ve ever seen showing a woman breastfeeding her baby shows women with breasts that are the right size, shape, and with perfect perky, sticky-out nipples. That woman would have no trouble with too big, too small, flat or inverted nipples. Today, I’m blogging about flat and inverted nipples.
The first thing to remember is that a significant number of women have some degree of inversion. Have a look at your nipples while you’re still pregnant and if you think they might be flat or inverted, see a lactation consultant BEFORE you give birth. You can determine whether or not you have flat or inverted nipples by compressing your areola about 3 centimetres behind your nipple. A normal nipple will evert or protrude, an inverted nipple will retract.
If you do have flat or inverted nipples this does not mean you cannot breastfeed your baby.
You can use a niplette during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy to bring out the nipple.
You can use a breastpump before a feed to bring out the nipple.
You can use these nipple formers.
Try the Hoffman technique to prepare your nipples - Pressing down and pulling away from the nipple with your thumbs a few times. Do this up and down and sideways. The hoffman process will help your nipple move outwards and can be done about five times a day.
Nipple stimulation – You can roll your nipple in your hands or place something cold on it for a few minutes to get it to stand out.
With an inverted or flat nipple you will need to nurse as soon as possible after birth, and every 2-3 hours after that. This is to avoid engorgement because breast engorgement can push flat nipples out, making them even harder to grip.
Make sure that your baby is latching on correctly.
Try calming baby. A calm baby is easier to attach and feed then one screaming and crying.
If you are breastfeeding with inverted nipples you should always remember that baby should get as much of your breast into his mouth as possible.
You could try using a supplemental nursing system with expressed milk.
As a last resort mom might feel that she would rather pump exclusively. Now exclusive pumping would be the last option after trying everything else, however any breastmilk is better then no breastmilk.
If you have on going nipple pain you should consult a lactation consultant or ring the ABA helpline (1800 mum 2 mum). A natural birth is the best set up for your breastfeeding relationship so avoid induction. The more frequently you nurse the more your baby will draw out the nipple so don’t schedule feed, demand feed, or better yet cue feed. Watch for hunger signs BEFORE crying to avoid having to calm baby to attach them to the nipple.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t breastfeed, only around 2% of women can’t physically breastfeed which means around 98% of women CAN!
Remember it’s called breastfeeding not nipple feeding, you can feed your baby.