Breastfeeding with inverted or flat nipples can be difficult for many first-time mothers. But with timely help during pregnancy, all mothers with inverted nipples can breastfeed right from the first day. Read on to learn simple exercises you can do at home to help breastfeed with inverted nipples.
Fine fibers attach nipple to the breast. In some mothers these fibers are too tight and limit the nipple to poke out.
It is normal to have inverted nipples since birth. Sometimes nipples invert during pregnancy or breastfeeding and this is also normal. But if your nipples which were previously normal suddenly invert within a few months without pregnancy, consult your doctor because it may be an early sign of breast cancer.
Although the baby latches over the areola, nipples normally stretch when the baby suckles. Inverted nipples may not take proper shape needed for attachment of the baby.
Poor attachment harm nipples and risk engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis and breast abscess.
If you have inverted nipples, start these exercises during pregnancy. This will loosen the attachment between your nipples and breast, helping an easy latch for your baby.
How to breastfeed with inverted nipples?
- Exercise with Hoffman technique during pregnancy.
- Start rolling your nipples during pregnancy.
Pull your nipples out as much as you can and gently roll them between finger and thumb 8-10 times daily.
Do it along with Hoffman technique for better results.
- Use a breast pump to stretch out your nipples.
You can use a breast pump to stretch out your nipples during pregnancy.
- Use inverted syringe.
Apply gentle suck-release cycles for 5-10 minutes or as long as you are comfortable. Exercise this 8-10 times daily.
Mother must apply comfortable suction with her own hands. Excess suction can harm the nipples. A lactation counselor can guide you about using inverted syringe.
- Start exclusive breastfeeding after delivery.
Gently rub your nipples to help them bulge. You can also apply cold water for stimulation.
Pull and roll your nipples between fingers.
Latch your baby – sucking will shape your nipples in few days.
Avoid bottle feeding – it makes your baby forget sucking.
- Nipple shield.
We use a nipple shield to help mothers having inverted nipples breastfeed. Nipple shield is a soft silicon cover for nipples. It has holes in center to deliver milk – baby latches over nipple shield to get breast milk. Sucking of baby shapes mother’s nipples within 2-3 days.
Although nipple shield is a great tool to attach the baby onto inverted nipples, use them for a limited time. Prolonged use will decrease your milk production.
- Lactation aid (Tube assisted breastfeeding).
Mother expresses her milk.
We drip this milk through a tube affixed to the nipple of the mother. Baby gets this milk when suckling over the breast.
This way the baby gets milk while learning to suck.
Inverted nipples are common. 1 out of 10 mothers have it and all such mothers can breastfeed with some help. Get help with a lactation counselor and breastfeed soon after birth. Post your queries or suggestions in the comments section below or contact us. Happy breastfeeding!