Breastfeeding with flat nipples: 7 tips to make latching easier

It can be a little difficult to breastfeed with flat nipples, but it is not impossible. Helping your baby to latch on properly might require a little more time and patience, but with the right skills and assistance, it's totally doable.
Mother breastfeeding a baby
Overcome breastfeeding challenges with a flat nipple. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 8 May 2023, 10:30 am IST
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Breastfeeding can be quite challenging, especially for first-time moms. Add flat nipples to it, and you may find breastfeeding even more difficult. As the name suggests, flat nipples are simply the ones that are not raised. They look like they lay even with the areola and the skin of the breast. They basically do not stick outward from the breast. If you have flat nipples, you might need more time and patience while helping your baby to latch on properly. But be secure in knowing the fact that feeding your child is possible. You just need to know some techniques so that your baby can get the right nourishment from your milk. So, read on to find out how to breastfeed with flat nipples.

Health Shots connected with Dr Rashmi Baliyan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Primus Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, to know about flat nipples and breastfeeding.

breastfeeding with flat nipples
Breastfeeding with flat nipples is possible. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

She says genetics, nursing, hormonal changes and medical disorders, are just some of the causes of some flat nipples in women. Nipples that are flat can either emerge later in life or be present during birth. Inversion or temporary flattening of the nipples can also happen during breastfeeding because of hormonal changes and pressure from the baby’s sucking. The form and appearance of the nipples can also be impacted by certain medical diseases such breast infections, tumours, and hormone abnormalities.

Breastfeeding with flat nipples

Wondering if you can breastfeed with flat nipples? The answer is yes, nursing is possible for mothers with flat or inverted nipples, says Dr Baliyan. It can be a bit difficult, but there are ways to make it simpler.

1. Breast compression

It can help to facilitate your baby’s ability to latch by gently compressing the breast behind the areola.

2. Breast pump

Before breastfeeding, using a breast pump might assist to draw out the nipple and make it more noticeable, says the expert. Breast pumps come in different types, including manual as well as electric breast pumps.

3. Nipple shield

To give your baby a more pronounced surface to latch onto, a nipple shield can be placed over your nipple. But speak to a lactation consultant before going for a nipple shield. If it’s not used correctly then you might hurt your breasts.

4. Fix your position

Lay back while breastfeeding as it will allow gravity to help to draw your nipple out. You just need to recline with your baby on top of you while feeding your child.

breastfeeding with flat nipples
You can hold you breast while feeding your baby. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Stimulate your nipple

Coaxing your nipple out by gently stimulating it yourself is another way to ease breastfeeding. Try to roll your nipple between your finger and thumb. You can even touching your nipple with a cold and damp cloth.

6. Hold your breast while feeding

When you sit down to feed your child, hold your breast. This simple trick can make it easier to give your baby a good latch (difference between a good and bad latch). You can create a C-shape with your hand so that you can control the movement of your breast. This way, you can easily guide your nipple toward your baby’s mouth.

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7. Go to a lactation consultant

If you feel pain or have trouble producing sufficient milk for your baby, you can reach out to a lactation consultant. The expert can offer tips on breastfeeding with flat nipples and help you better.

So, while learning different breastfeeding positions for your baby, you can also try out these methods if you have flat or inverted nipples.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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