Different types of nipples and their effects on breastfeeding
Our body changes so much over the years. Be it aging or pregnancy, we are constantly changing but some things remain the same as we hit puberty, and that’s our nipples, their shape, and types.
Our nipples go through a lot, especially when we are breastfeeding. Before and after pregnancy, and when we are breastfeeding, nipple shapes and sizes may change and could affect the breastfeeding experience. There are different types of nipples, some people may have big nipples, others may have small nipples, some may have inverted nipples while others could have flat nipples.
Figuring out different types of nipples is the first way of identifying your feeding problem and overcoming them.
Breastfeeding With Large Nipples
Having big nipples does not mean you won’t be breastfeeding your baby efficiently. In any case, you need to make sure that your baby is latching on to the nipple properly and getting the nourishment they need from your milk.
What to Do
Your baby will have no problem with breastfeeding if you have big nipples, however, in case your baby is not able to latch on to the nipple, then you can try a nipple shield that will allow them to latch properly. You can also try different nursing positions.
Breastfeeding With Flat Nipples
How to identify flat nipples? If you are unable to feel a bud in the center of your areolas then chances are you have flat nipples. For some women, the nipples are erect only when the areolas are stimulated while for others it does not protrude from the breast.
What to Do
Flat nipples will not keep your child from breastfeeding efficiently, however, they might face issues in latching. So, how can you overcome this issue? It’s simple, you can either try V-hold or the C-hold to help your baby latch effectively on your breast. You can also try and express breastmilk by hand, or try new techniques like reverse pressure softening which can help your nipples erect.
Breastfeeding With Inverted Nipples
If you have inverted nipples (where the whole nipple turns internal), you can still breastfeed your baby with ease. As long as your baby can latch onto your breast and is putting on a healthy weight, you don't have to worry about inverted nipples.
What to Do
As your pregnancy advances, your nipples also change and it might start to erect easily and become bigger, but if by any chance that is not happening, then your inverted nipples could be the reason why breastfeeding your baby is difficult. You can try nipple guards that help in protruding the nipples, you can C-hold or the V-hold, or you can try gadgets like nipple extractors, or breast pumps to help your nipple become erect so that your baby can latch on properly.
Some women have been breastfeeding effectively with different types of nipples and sizes for a long time. As a rule, your baby will want to latch on without any issues, however, you might want to give your baby a chance to get the hang of breastfeeding and techniques.
If you have any worries about the size and types of nipples or your ability to breastfeed with different types of nipples, try looking for help either from your midwife or obstetrician. Your doctor or your birthing specialists like a doula, or lactation advisor can help you in assisting with trying new latching techniques that can help your baby latch efficiently from the first breastfeeding.