How to Handle Inverted Nipple and Breastfeeding
As you’re googling “Help! my baby won’t nurse”, you might stumble upon “inverted nipple” as one of the reasons.
Inverted nipples are when the nipple retracts inwards from the level of the areola instead of pointing outwards, making them look more like a dimple on the breast.
But don’t worry! If you have an inverted nipple you’re not alone!
Inverted nipples don’t commonly cause breastfeeding difficulties as long as your baby latches over the entire areola.
However, some breastfeeding challenges may occur depending on the degree of inversion (slight-moderate-severe), and on other latching problems like tongue or lip tie. This may lead to difficulties in latching or a weak suck.
If you’re facing breastfeeding complications, here are few tips to help your nipple erect:
Try breastfeeding directly after birth, every 2-3 hours.
This will help your baby get used to nurse from you as your breasts will be softer, and will help you produce milk more easily. Also, this induces your baby’s ability to know your breasts’ type and latch on your inverted nipple, practice more skin-to-skin contact, and enhance your breastfeeding experience.
Try Nipple Stimulation
If your baby is having difficulty latching, try nipple stimulation by pinching gently around the areola before breastfeeding. This will help trigger your milk flow and nipple eversion.
Also, try compressing for a couple of minutes, preferably with a cold cloth or ice, to help your nipple erect.
Use Breast Pump or a nipple suction device
Apply a breast pump before breastfeeding. This is a convenient option for moms with extreme flatness or inversion. It will bring the nipple out a little bit. You can also try a nipple suction divide.
Try a nipple shield
Nipple shield is another option when moms can’t seem to find a good alternative. It is a silicon flexible piece that you can wear over your nipple
They are designed to create a larger target for babies to latch on, and can help maintain attachment as you breastfeed.
Eventually, don’t panic, having inverted nipples is a often a controllable issue!
Remember, breasts and nipples are not the same for every mom, and are perfectly normal the way they are.
Also read this article about latching. If your baby is not able to latch, but you are able to pump then I encourage you to exclusively pump for your baby. Read this article about developing milk supply.
Want more tips for breastfeeding and positioning?
You can get access to my breastfeeding course on the following link
I hope this was helpful!
Mirna Sabbagh, an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant. She also has several digital courses: Pregnancy Nutrition Course, breastfeeding course, starting solids 6-12 months course, and also child nutrition for all children including picky eaters, that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home.
The courses are pre-recorded. As soon as you make the course purchase, you will receive a link to watch the course from your phone or laptop.
You can also e-mail Mirna for questions on firstname.lastname@example.org