Remember Babies Breastfeed - Not Nipplefeed
There are many different degrees to flat and inverted nipples with some being more difficult for a baby to latch onto at first. To ensure you and your baby get off to the best start with feeding, contact a Lactation Consultant to help with positioning and latching.
Strategies to help draw out a flat or inverted nipple:
Nipple rolling: Try rolling the nipple between your thumb and index finger for a few minutes and then quickly touch it with a moist, cold cloth. (avoid prolonged ice on the nipple as this can numb the breast and inhibit milk ejection)
Breast shaping: As your hand supports the breast in the sandwich hold, with your thumb on top and four fingers underneath and behind the areola, pull slightly back on the breast tissue toward the chest wall to help the nipple protrude.
Reverse pressure softening:Use your finger tips to encircle the base of the nipple and push back towards your chest wall for a few minutes prior to to latching baby on.
Breast shells: These are plastic devices worn in your bra before feedings, they are designed to apply pressure to the areola and draw out the nipple. Restrict use to no longer than 30 minutes as the constant pressure can increase your risk of mastitis.
Breast pump: Using the pump for a few minutes before a feed can help draw out the nipple.
Strategies to help your baby latch onto a flat or inverted nipple:
First try strategies above to help draw out the nipple.
Express some breastmilk onto the nipple first before trying to latch baby on.
If one breast is easier to latch baby onto, start with that breast, then try the above suggests to help latch onto the more difficult side.
Use the laid-back breastfeeding position.
If all the above suggestions don't work, then you can try a nipple shield once your milk has come in. To make sure you have the right size, know how to properly apply it, and how to wean from the shield, contact a Lactation Consultant for guidance.
REMEMBER the most important thing is PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE!