Every Mother and baby has different anatomy. Even the same pair of breasts can vary in size, shape and appearance. Women frequently have one breast bigger than the other, along with different shaped nipples, areola’s and amount of breast tissue.
A baby’s anatomy will also vary hugely. Differences in tongue mobility, arch of palate, recession of chin and size of mouth can all impact on how easily your baby latches on to feed.
One common obstacle to breastfeeding can be flat or inverted nipples. This by no means indicates an inability to breastfeed, but may require some helpful tips and technique in the early days to get you started.
Here’s a few things to try:
- Nipple stimulation prior to feeding; nipple tweaking and rolling the nipple between thumb and fore finger can encourage nipples to become erect prior to a breastfeed.
- Placing something cold on the nipple may help to bring it out more.
- Using a pump for a few minutes will get the milk flowing and also pulls the nipple out.
- Hand expressing for a few minutes first can also be helpful if you don’t want to faff around with a pump.
- Try these techniques immediately before latching.
- Shaping the breast; Check where your breast lies naturally, use the same hand as the breast you’re feeding from, cup underneath the breast, placing fore finger and thumb either side of the areola, squeeze together and shape encouraging the nipple area to protrude, don’t move the breast, wait for your baby to open their mouth really wide and then swiftly guide them on scooping the underside of the areola and pointing the nipple to the back of your baby’s mouth, allow your baby to get a good grip and start sucking before gently letting go of the breast. It’s advisable to get this technique checked by a breastfeeding specialist to ensure your baby is well latched and help with the technique.
- If you are still experiencing difficulties, seek support.