Types of nipples

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grafic normal, flat and inverted nipple
grafic normal, flat and inverted nipple

Before your baby is born, it is helpful to know what type of nipple you have. Women may have different variations of nipples. These variations include small nipples, large or especially long nipples, flat nipples or inverted nipples.

In most cases these variations will require little or no special treatment. Always keep in your mind that babies do breastfeed and not "nipplefeed". If a baby is able to take in a good mouthful of breast, often even flat or inverted nipples will not cause any problems. However, some types of nipples are harder for the baby to latch onto and sometimes it might be advisable to invest some time in treatment for a flat or inverted nipple that may make latch-on easier for the baby.

You can determine whether or not you have flat or inverted nipples: Gently compress your areola about three centimetres behind your nipple. A normal nipple will evert or protrude, an inverted nipple will invert or retract.

If your nipples are flat or inverted you may use Nipple Formers - not to be confused with nipple shields - to try to draw out the nipple. Nipple Formers are worn inside the bra, which may need to be one size larger than normal to have room for the formers. Nipple Formers can be used already during pregnancy or after birth. Seek the advice of your lactation specialist if you suspect to have flat or inverted nipples.