Flat or Inverted Nipples
Many women have flat or inverted nipples. These are nipples that don't stand out much from the areola and don't protrude during stimulation. This shouldn't cause problems during breastfeeding. In fact, 28-35% of pregnant women have nipples that don't extend properly. Proper extension is considered beneficial during breastfeeding as babies tend to latch on to a good portion of the breast so that the end of the nipple will hit the back of their throat.
If you're concerned about your flat or inverted nipples, don't worry. There are tips and advice that you can follow to help breastfeeding go smoothly.
One answer to your problem is the natural breast changes your body goes through during pregnancy. Just as most women's breasts grow during pregnancy, there's also the chance that inverted nipples will 'evert' or extend themselves during the third trimester.
Some women wear breast shells. These is made out of two rings: one that applies gentle and consistent pressure to your areola to lure out the nipple and the other ring is a protective dome that covers your nipples.
Hoffman exercises may be prescribed: simply put your thumb and index finger on either side of your nipple and gentle pull it outwards. Repeat this procedure five times a day.
It's a really good idea to offer your breast to the newborn as soon as possible following birth. This will 'imprint' your nipple as its food source. Babies born to mothers with inverted nipples are particularly prone to nipple confusion. A baby will prefer nipples that protrude, as they hit the back of the baby's throat. Therefore, don't introduce artificial nipples or bottles unless necessary, and not until your baby becomes comfortable with suckling from your breast.
Using a breast pump to express milk can be helpful in extending your nipples. Rely on this if you really have breastfeeding problems, as it still allows your baby to drink the nutritious milk.
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