Breastfeeding with Flat Nipples?
How do I breastfeed with flat nipples?
You never thought that flat nipples were anything to spend extra time thinking about... then you had a baby. Generally the nipple protrudes out and the baby is able to easily grasp the nipple in order to successfully latch and nurse. Flat and inverted nipples will present you with some extra challenges in the beginning, but you can still breastfeed. Most women with flat nipples find that after a few months of breastfeeding they no longer need to "pull" out their nipples for the baby to latch, they tend to stay that way.
As the saying goes, " Babies are fed on areolas not nipples." If your goal is to breastfeed and you have flat nipples here are helpful tips to ease your nursing journey:
Stimulation of the nipple before the baby latches helps the nipple protrude out allowing the baby to take the nipple in it's mouth properly. This can be done by using a breast pump to pull out the nipple or using your hand to tweak the nipple out. I do not recommend using a cold cloth because it can irritate the nipple unnecessarily.
Pulling back on the areola to extend the nipple more can also be helpful after stimulating the nipple out. Making a "sandwich" is helpful in getting more areola into the baby's mouth and lets the baby latch and suck properly.
Nipple shields, I know you might be thinking of some of the stories you'v heard about how bad nipple shields are, but I promise they can be incredibly helpful. Check out this blog on the truth about the nipple shield to put your mind at ease.
Look for some extra support to help you along the way. Sometimes we need someone to help us reach our goals and that's it. Sometimes we want someone to be there with us and tell us were are doing it right. Sometimes we need someone personally connected with all of the local resources and experience supporting mothers who have experienced just what you are experiencing. Lactation Consultants can be a helpful resource for you, they often come to your home and work with you one-on-one helping you problem solve your unique issues. Postpartum Doulas who are trained in the basics of breastfeeding can help you implement the changes or goals your Lactation Consultant has set for you, she can also support you to know you are not alone.
Join a Postpartum Support group to help you surround yourself with fabulously supportive people!