Techniques for flat or inverted nipples
An effective breastfeeding baby usually has little trouble breastfeeding even if his/her mother's nipples appear to be flattened. A less effective breastfeeder may need some time to figure out how he/she can draw the nipple into the mouth with latch-on. Although the benefit of using hard plastic breast shells is not conclusive, some mothers find it helps to wear them in the bra between feedings. Breast shells exert a small amount of traction to help draw the nipple outward. Using a breast pump to draw the nipple out just prior to breastfeeding may also help.
If nipples invert, or "dent" inward, with stimulation, try the interventions mentioned for flat nipples. Nipple eversion devices are available. Ask a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) for information. Occasionally, one or both nipples are severely inverted. If one breast is less affected, your baby can breastfeed on only one breast. Most women can produce enough milk in one breast to exclusively breastfeed their babies.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact St. Louis Children's Hospital at 314.454.5437 or 800.678.5437 or email us.