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Can You Breastfeed With Flat Nipples? Some Cases Are More Difficult Than Others

There are many concerns a new mom faces both before she gives birth and well into her motherhood journey. Breastfeeding, no matter how prepared you feel, is often one of those aspects of motherhood that takes much more work than anticipated. Although the vast majority of women are able to breastfeed regardless of breast or nipple shape and size, certain cases require a little bit more work than others. You may be wondering can you breastfeed with flat nipples, and while the answer is generally a resounding "yes," there are cases when it may be more difficult than others.

According to Medela, about 10 percent of women have flat or inverted nipples. Though that's not a huge number, it does raise concern for some nursing moms-to-be. But, as La Leche League noted, as long as your baby is able to "take a good portion of the breast into their mouth" (meaning your babies gums should bypass the nipple entirely and latch onto the areola), you will likely have no problems, even with flat or inverted nipples. After all, it's called breastfeeding, not nipplefeeding.

That doesn't mean it's easy. If your baby is struggling to latch on well, they can have a hard time drawing the nipple up to nurse. Additionally, f your baby is premature, sick, weak, or just having a hard time with latch, flat nipples can be especially challenging. Luckily, breast tissue is generally responsive and will often change during pregnancy or afterwards to meet the new demands of your baby.

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Many pregnant women with inverted nipples are proactive and wear nipple shields or "nipplets" designed specifically to draw up the nipple, and permanently correct it within a few weeks of use. You can use nipple shields after pregnancy too, making it easier on your baby to get a good latch.

Other moms with flat or inverted nipples use a breast pump prior to nursing their baby, to get a boost before baby latches on. But according to Baby Center, flat nipples shouldn't hold you back and with the proper techniques, you'll be able to nurse your baby just as you'd hoped.