Inverted, Flat or Very Large Nipples

Common Challenges of Breastfeeding

Some women have nipples that turn inward instead of protruding, or that are flat and do not protrude. Nipples can also sometimes be flattened temporarily due to engorgement or swelling while breastfeeding. Inverted or flat nipples can sometimes make it harder to breastfeed. But remember that for breastfeeding to work, your baby has to latch on to both the nipple and the breast, so even inverted nipples can work just fine. Often, flat and inverted nipples will protrude more over time, as the baby sucks more.

Very large nipples can make it hard for the baby to get enough of the areola into his or her mouth to compress the milk ducts and get enough milk.

What you can do:

  • Talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant if you are concerned about your nipples.

  • You can use your fingers to try and pull your nipples out. There are also special devices designed to pull out inverted or temporarily flattened nipples.

  • The latch for babies of mothers with very large nipples will improve with time as the baby grows. In some cases, it might take several weeks to get the baby to latch well. But if a mother has good milk supply, her baby will get enough milk even with a poor latch.

Ask for help if you have questions about your nipple shape or type, especially if your baby is having trouble latching well.

Updated June 6, 2016

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