How To Breastfeed With Short Nipples
There are a lot of reasons why breastfeeding is difficult, but if you find that your breasts are the culprit, it can be incredibly discouraging. Everything from not producing enough milk to your baby not being able to latch on your nipples can cause issues and some are not even problems you thought about before giving birth. Everyone worries that they won't have an adequate milk supply, but it's not as common to worry about how to breastfeed with short nipples.
Your breasts were made to breastfeed, but some things can affect your breastfeeding journey, such as the size and shape of your nipples. If you have flat or inverted nipples, you may have major challenges getting your child to latch, but these are different than small nipples. With small nipples, you may worry that your child isn't getting a strong enough latch or that they aren't able to draw the nipple out far enough to nurse.
But having small nipples doesn't mean you have to give up breastfeeding. According to Dr. Sears, the important thing to remember is that your baby latches on to your areola, not your nipple. As they suck, they will draw out your nipple and stretch it so they can nurse.
However, if your little one still needs help feeding, there are a few things you can do to make breastfeeding with small nipples easier. Julie Johnson from Birth and Breastfeeding Solutions shares on her YouTube tutorial that the great thing about small nipples is that, unlike flat or inverted nipples, they are flexible and have a lot of compression space so you can make your nipple and areola appear larger than they are. Johnson suggested using a breast pump before feeding just to stimulate your breasts and draw your nipple out. (A hand pump would be especially great so you aren't expressing a ton of milk, too.)
If pumping isn't an option or you find that your baby is still having difficulty latching, you can talk to a lactation consultant about using a nipple shield. KellyMom noted that nipple shields are generally a short-term solution, but using them could help your child elongate your nipple so that you can eventually remove the shield and breastfeed your child freely.