Flat nipples do not protrude out of the areola when they are stimulated, making it difficult for a baby to latch on while breastfeeding. Inverted nipples cause a similar problem, with the nipples retracting inwards on stimulation. In both cases, it is still possible for a mother to breastfeed her child. While in some cases, this may prove to be a problem with the baby being unable to latch on, causing engorgement, in most cases, breastfeeding is still possible.
Some of the common techniques that can help mothers’ breastfeed their child better despite having inverted of flat nipples include the following:
- Stimulating the nipples: The technique involves grasping the nipple for about 30 seconds and then applying a cold and moist cloth immediately before breastfeeding. This makes the nipples stand a little and can help the baby latch on.
- Pulling back the areola: The fingers can be used to pull back and stretch out the areola. This helps the nipple stand up to some degree.
- Using nipple shields: Thin, flexible artificial nipples made out of silicone may be worn over the actual nipple to facilitate breastfeeding.
In case none of these techniques work, a breast pump can be used to help the nipples protrude. Ensure seeking the guidance of a lactation consultant if inverted or flat nipples cause too much of a problem.