|Nipple abnormalities, especially inverted nipples or nipples that are flat or everted, can cause difficulty with your infant latching-on to breastfeed. You can gently squeeze the areola behind the base of the nipple with your forefinger and thumb to see if you have inverted, everted or flat nipples. While a normal nipple will move forward when doing this, an inverted or flat nipple will move inward.
Some tips to help your baby latch-on if you have inverted or flat nipples include:
- Squeeze a flat nipple between your forefinger and thumb to make it easier for your baby to latch on.
- For an inverted nipple, with your thumb above the areola, place your fingers below the areola and pull your breast inward. You also wear breast cups or shells a few hours a day, especially during your third trimester, to help your nipples evert. You can also try pumping just before your baby is going to breastfeed or place a few drops of breastmilk on your nipple to encourage him to latch-on.
If you are having difficulty getting your baby to latch-on because of inverted or flat nipples and it is interfering with breastfeeding and not improving with the above tips, then call your doctor or lactation consultant for further management.
- When Latching: a great guide to latching on effectively when breastfeeding, with pictures and step by step instructions.