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You are pregnant and happy because you will soon have your baby in your arms, but at the same time very worried because you want to give breast milk and you have flat nipples. Your family insists that you forget to breastfeed because it will be impossible to breastfeed with your nipples like this and you don't know what to do. Is it true that flat and inverted nipples make breastfeeding impossible? Or is it just a myth? Let's see if after reading this article your mood and, of course, your reality changes!
There are different types of nipples and different sizes of breasts, but neither the size of your breasts nor the shape of your nipples are an obstacle to breastfeeding. Why? It is something very simple: the baby should suckle from the breast (areola) and not from the nipple.
But first of all, let's define what we call flat nipples. These are nipples that do not protrude, that is, they do not come out, they do not become erectile with the cold or with stimulation; on the contrary, inverted nipples are those that are projected into the chest, that is, sunken. And, good news, in both cases you can breastfeed, only that at the beginning you may have some difficulty.
It is important that you know that just by placing your baby on the breast, having skin-to-skin contact, and establishing adequate suction, the nipple can spontaneously protrude. You just have to be patient and learn how to hold your child to the chest.
Previously, the Hoffman technique during pregnancy, which consists of a series of massages to help the nipple protrusion (the thumbs are placed at the base of the areola, on opposite sides, and the skin is stretched outward, moving one finger away from the other with movements horizontal and vertical), but this is in disuse, since there is no evidence that it is beneficial; on the contrary, it can trigger uterine contractions and does not help the nipple to come out, so massages and techniques to remove the nipple during pregnancy are ineffective, wait for your baby to be born and stick it to you!
In any case, it is important that you know that successful breastfeeding will depend on a good latch on to the breast, that is, your baby should take a good portion of the areola (the darkest part of your breasts) and not the nipple. If it only latches on to the latter, the grip is inadequate and this is what causes the appearance of pain, cracks or fissures and there it can be affected breastfeeding.
The nipple is simply a grip guide, more is not necessary to be able to breastfeed, except that there is a nipple with complete inversion, in which case the adhesions that keep it inwards are so strong that it is impossible for it to protrude and, on occasions, it could cause pain in the breast and / or or difficulty of grasping on the part of your baby.
To make the latch easier, many women think about using the nipple shields, because they doubt whether they are beneficial. The truth is that their use is very controversial and has always been the subject of debate in the field of breastfeeding, just as there are lactation specialists who recommend them. Personally, I consider that everything will depend on whether it works for the mother, that is, if you use them, it goes well for you and solves your problem, then go ahead! You just have to find the right size so that the nipple does not get hurt with its use, with trying nothing you lose!
Another strategy that you can apply is the use of a breast pump, using it just before offering the breast to your baby, it can be of great help. It will be a way for the nipple to come out, for milk to start to flow and for your baby to quickly 'jump' into it.
I also advise you to try different postures to breastfeed: the classic or crib posture, but also the ball posture or, why not, lying down. The thing is that the two of you are comfortable.
And, the best advice I can give you, it is important that you trust yourself and that you are convinced that the difficulties in this matter can be overcome. Seek help from a counselor or lactation specialist, remember that your baby should open his mouth wide to promote a proper latch, also take the breast with your fingers trying to stretch the skin that covers the nipple before breastfeeding the baby. Happy breastfeeding!
You can read more articles similar to Tips for successful breastfeeding with a flat and inverted nipple, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.