Breastfeeding with inverted nipples: top tips?

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Breastfeeding with inverted nipples is possible by teaching the baby to latch on properly, preventing engorgement, avoiding pacifiers and bottles, using shells or a breast pump, and using nipple shields as a last resort. The baby takes milk from the areola, and a mom can make her breasts into a sandwich shape to help the baby latch on. Working with a lactation specialist can help establish a strong nursing relationship.

Some of the best tips for breastfeeding with inverted nipples include understanding how a baby gets milk from the breast, teaching the baby to latch on properly, and preventing engorgement. Avoiding pacifiers and bottles can also be helpful when breastfeeding with inverted nipples, as can shells. If all else fails, temporarily wearing a nipple shield can help establish a strong breastfeeding relationship between mom and baby.

Women often believe that breastfeeding with inverted nipples is not possible because the nipple is where breast milk comes from. In reality, the baby takes milk from the areola, that is, from the surrounding area. The nipple ejects a small amount of milk, with the main purpose of helping the baby attach to the breast in the first place. Teaching a baby to latch on properly can be more difficult with inverted nipples, but in most cases, it’s entirely possible.

When a baby is breastfeeding, as much of the areola as possible should be in his mouth. When breastfeeding with inverted nipples, a baby may have difficulty determining when to latch on because the nipple acts as a guide for the mouth. To help baby latch on, mom can make her breasts into a sandwich shape.

To do this, wrap one hand around the breast, leaving the areola uncovered. Gently compress the breast, flattening the areola. This will help the nipple protrude in many cases, but will also give the baby a spot where the nipple should be exposed, thus helping the newborn to latch on. Point the breast towards the baby’s upper lip. As a reflex, the newborn often opens its mouth wide, allowing it to latch on and breastfeed.

Engorgement, which is common in the first month of breastfeeding, can make it difficult to breastfeed with inverted nipples. Engorgement makes the breast hard and latching on difficult for the baby. Expressing or pumping a little milk, just to soften the breast, before feeding can make breastfeeding with inverted nipples much easier. A small, portable breast pump is usually ideal for this.

Since breastfeeding with inverted nipples makes it a little more difficult for the baby to latch on, using pacifiers and bottles can be confusing for the baby. Pacifiers, which usually have very prominent nipples, can interfere with a baby’s natural grasping reflex. Bottles can cause a baby to become frustrated with breastfeeding because the nipples on the bottle provide near-instant gratification. Limiting the use of these items until a baby is latching on to the breast consistently can be of great help when breastfeeding with inverted nipples.
Nipples, when worn about half an hour before each feed, can help pull the nipple out. Worn inside your bra, these little plastic shells press on the areola, causing the nipple to protrude. A woman can also use a breast pump right before a meal to help push out an inverted nipple.

Nipple shields are typically a last resort and are best used on the advice of a lactation specialist. The nipple shield creates a fake nipple when worn on the breast, thus helping the baby to latch on properly. Using one for an entire feed can limit the amount of milk draining from the breast, which can reduce milk production. Most often, it’s best to use the shield to fasten your child, then quickly unlock your child’s mouth, remove the shield, and reattach it. This can help prevent nipple confusion and drain as much milk from the breast as possible, thus protecting breast milk production.
Breastfeeding with inverted nipples can make breastfeeding a little more time-consuming than normal in the beginning. However, it is possible for most women with inverted nipples. Using these tips and working with a lactation specialist can help mother and baby establish a strong nursing relationship, providing both parties with numerous health benefits.

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