How to Prepare to Breastfeed When you Have Inverted Nipples
This post is part of our “You Asked” series, featuring questions posed by our readers. If you have a question you would like answered in a future post, please, ask away.
“I am 19 weeks pregnant. I came across the page about flat/inverted nipples in the “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”. I did the test on myself where you gently press and squeeze the areola. My nipples definitely move inward when I do this.
I’m curious- is there anything I can do during my pregnancy to help my inverted nipples release and move outward?”
Congratulations on your pregnancy. How exciting!
There is nothing you need to do to prepare your nipples while you are still pregnant. Babies latch on the breast to breastfeed, not the nipple; nipple shape is rarely, therefore, a cause for concern.
The very best thing you can do during pregnancy is to educate yourself about breastfeeding. Sounds like exactly what you are doing! You can learn more in our post: Preparing to Breastfeed during Pregnancy. To learn more about latching your baby, see this post.
Once baby arrives, if you find you are struggling to latch, here are some things to try:
- Wear breast shells in your bra for about an hour before feeds. A breast shell puts a gentle pressure around the nipple, helping it to evert.
- Try gently flattening your breast to make a ‘ledge’ or ‘sandwich’ of breast tissue. (Hold your thumb opposite the baby’s nose and your fingers under the breast.) This gives your baby something firm to latch unto.
- Sometimes, a nipple shield can be used if none of the above tricks work.
Your baby may just latch right on! You may want to find out if there is a Lactation Consultant in your area, just in case.
Hope that answered your question! Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy!
**You can learn more about the pinch test for flat/inverted nipples in this excellent article by Anne Smith, IBCLC.
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.