Mother’s milk is the best form of nutrition a baby can, but if you have an inverted nipple, you might wonder how breastfeeding works. New moms suffer from a lot of doubts about breastfeeding their babies. One of their major concerns about breastfeeding is the shape and size of their breasts.
About 10% of all first-time moms are reported to have flat or inverted nipples. However, it’s a misconception that inverted or flat nipples hamper your ability to nurse your newborn child. In fact, most women with this condition face little to no problem while feeding their babies.
If you’ve been stressing too much about breastfeeding, it’s time to relax. There are several breastfeeding techniques and products that work really well with inverted nipples. The best of them have been included in the breastfeeding tutorial we’ve master-crafted for you.
How to Check if your Nipples are Flat or Inverted?
All breasts and nipple types are normal, there are some variations that you can easily workaround. Before we proceed with the breastfeeding tutorial, it’s important to identify whether you have inverted or flat nipples.
Start with a simple “pinching test” by gently squeezing the areola (the darker area around the nipples). If your nipples don’t protrude out, you have flat nipples. And if the nipples retract further into the breast tissue, you have inverted nipples.
Some new moms also go through “engorgement” wherein accumulation of excessive breast milk leads to flat nipples. In most cases, inverted or flat nipples can be everted with some stimulation techniques.
However, some women face what we call “true inversion” and the nipples can’t be everted with simple methods. But we have solutions to all these problems, and with some preparation, you can easily breastfeed your baby.
Step-By-Step Guide to Breastfeeding with Flat or Inverted Nipples
The main role which nipples play in breastfeeding is to help your baby latch onto your breasts. If you have inverted or flat nipples, your baby might struggle a little. Follow these techniques to make breastfeeding easier for you and your newborn.
You can follow these steps before breastfeeding to prepare yourself.
Prepare your Breasts During Pregnancy
Your nipples are likely to protrude by themselves during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. If not, you can wear soft silicon discs called “nipple formers” for a few months. The discs place gentle pressure on your nipples to evert them gradually.
Stimulate your Nipples
Right before feeding the baby, you should try to stimulate your nipples by rolling or pinching the areola. Place your thumb and forefinger around the edge of the areola in “C” shape and press gently and repeatedly.
Use Suction Devices
If the stimulation method isn’t working, suction devices like breast pumps and nipple everters can help. These devices help in pulling out and elongating the nipples by using suction pressure.
While feeding, you will have to guide the baby to latch on the breast for nursing. Hold the baby’s head and neck gently and place your nipple just above your baby’s upper lip. When the baby opens its mouth, guide your areola into your baby’s lower jaw. As a natural instinct, the baby will start nursing.
Using nipple shields
This device covers a portion of your areola and provides a protruding nipple for the baby to latch on. It has a small opening in the tip of the artificial nipple from which milk can be drawn out.
It is important to check whether your baby is being fed properly or not when you use the above techniques. Check your baby’s diapers frequently to track the consistency of their stool. A healthy well-fed newborn has at least six wet diapers a day.
You should also check if your baby is gaining weight. If you’re having trouble with your baby’s progress, contact a doctor immediately.
The Bottom Line
In case the above-mentioned methods and techniques are less effective for you, you can contact a lactation consultant. A medical expert is more likely to provide you with an in-depth solution to your problems.
Breastfeeding is not only an abundant source of nutrition for your baby but also a bond you two share. Hence, no woman should be deprived of the satisfaction of feeding their child, and even if you have flat or inverted nipples, you can make the bonding happen too.