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Breast-Feeding With Inverted Nipples

Topic Overview

Inverted nipples fold inward instead of pointing out. Women with inverted nipples may have a hard time getting started with breast-feeding. A breast-feeding baby latches on more easily to a nipple when it is erect.

To find out whether you have flat or inverted nipples:

  1. Place your thumb and forefinger on the edges of the areola (dark area around the nipple) just behind the nipple.
  2. Squeeze the tissue gently.
  3. If the nipple is flat or inverted, it will flatten or retract into the breast instead of pointing out.

Special techniques and breast shells sometimes are recommended to prepare inverted nipples for breast-feeding. But how well they work is questionable. Inverted nipples may naturally become more erect after the birth of your baby. Your health professional or a lactation consultant is usually able to help you and your baby start breast-feeding if your nipples stay inverted. In some cases, he or she may recommend using a nipple shield.

Regardless of whether you plan to breast-feed, call your health professional if you notice that your nipples have changed from looking erect to being inverted.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Mary Robbins, RNC, IBCLC - Lactation Consultant
Last Revised April 3, 2013

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