I have one very flat nipple and one inverted nipple. Will my baby be able to breastfeed?
Many mothers have successfully breastfed with both flat and inverted nipples! Remind yourself that it is “breastfeeding,” not “nipple feeding.” During pregnancy, you do not need to prepare your nipples. As your pregnancy progresses, you might notice your nipples correct themselves, which is common. However, if nipples do not correct, work on latching your baby directly to the breast. Focus on helping your baby get a deep latch.
This is where your baby takes in all of your nipple and a lot of your areola (dark skin around your nipple). Oftentimes, placing your baby lower on the breast can help ease latching and lessen pain. Once your baby has a good latch, they will help draw your nipple out to where it should be.
If your nipple is a normal color and round after feeding, those are signs of a good latch. Your nipple should not be creased, flat on one side or white when your baby unlatches.
If your baby still struggles, ask a breastfeeding professional to show you how to use a temporary latch tool called a nipple shield. A nipple shield is a silicone cover with holes on the tip that is placed over the nipple to help the baby latch on. Using a shield for the first few minutes can help your baby draw your nipple out. Once your baby’s feeding slows, slide the shield off and latch your baby back on.
Another popular method is to use a breast pump to draw the nipple out for a short while before latching your baby onto the breast. You may notice your nipple protrude after just one minute of pumping.
A breast shell is another helpful tool. A breast shell is a thicker cover which goes over the nipple and areola between feedings. The shell prevents your bra or shirt from pressing against the nipple and further flattening or creasing it. These are also very helpful for sore nipples. Because your nipple is being pulled in a direction it doesn’t naturally go, you may have some nipple tenderness.