About two per cent of women have nipples which are inverted to a greater or lesser degree, which means that they are flat or sit inwards rather than protruding from the breast, even when stimulated. Although this may mean that getting breastfeeding started takes a little more care and attention, it doesn’t mean that you will be unable to breastfeed.
The condition is caused by small pieces of tissue which attach the nipple to internal breast tissue. Often, when a baby starts to breastfeed, these adhesions are broken by the suction of the baby and breastfeeding continues successfully.
It is possible to have one nipple that is less inverted than the other, and you may find that your baby develops a preference for the breast where he can feed most easily. There is no reason, if this is the case, why it shouldn’t be possible for you to feed just from one breast, although you should find that with perseverance and patience you will be able to feed from both.
- Talk to a breastfeeding counsellor while you are pregnant. She will be able to support you in the early days
- Take extra care that your positioning and latching-on techniques are effective
- Try different feeding positions to find the most comfortable
- If necessary, keep up your milk supply by expressing milk
- You may find that using a full-sized automatic electric breast pump can help as it uses suction to draw out the nipple and may break the adhesions that are holding the nipple in.