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Flat or Inverted Nipples

Techniques for flat or inverted nipples

A breastfeeding baby usually has little trouble breastfeeding even if their nursing parent's nipples seem to be flattened. A less effective breastfeeder may need some time to figure out how to draw the nipple into their mouth with latch-on.  Using hand expression or a breast pump to draw the nipple out just before breastfeeding may also help. Sometimes a nipple shield can help establish latch. But use it only under the guidance of a certified lactation consultant.

If nipples invert, or "dent" inward, with stimulation, try the interventions mentioned for flat nipples. Nipple eversion devices are also available, and some nursing parents find them helpful, although they don't always help. Don't use them before birth. Ask a certified lactation consultant for information. Sometimes, 1 or both nipples are severely inverted. If your baby can't latch onto the inverted nipple and 1 breast is less affected, your baby can breastfeed on the less affected breast. Most nursing parents can make enough milk in 1 breast to exclusively breastfeed their babies. If you nurse only on 1 breast, you may want to pump the other breast so that your breasts will be about the same size. You can store the milk you pump in the freezer and use this milk for times when you're away from your baby.

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: Mary Terrell MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2021
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