Will my baby be able to latch on?
My nipples are so small!
Sound familiar? I’ve heard so many moms worry about this and I’ve too. On many occasions, my nipple appeared flat and I had to get it to pop back out somehow.
So, if you’re that mom that’s worried because you have a flat or an inverted nipple, worry no more. This article will guide you on how to increase nipple size effectively.
What Are The Types Of Nipples?
Now, nipples come in various shapes and sizes. Every woman’s nipple is peculiar to her but for the topic of breastfeeding, I’ll be talking about two types of nipples. They are:
- Inverted nipple
- Flat nipple
As the name implies, this nipple faces the opposite direction than is usual. It retracts inward into the breast tissue rather than protruding outward.
If your nipple is inverted, there’s a major likelihood that latching on gets difficult. It’s almost as though your baby can’t find the nipple to feed. It’s not impossible to breastfeed with an inverted nipple though and there are ways to remedy it.
Just like the precious type, the nipple name says it all. A flat nipple appears to be flat. It’s not going outward nor is it going inward. It’s almost as though the nipple blends into the rest of your breast.
This is usually what leads moms to seek out ways to increase their nipple size. I experienced this type a few times during my lactation period.
There’s a chance you don’t have a true flat nipple if stimulation or coaxing causes it to pop out. If that’s the case, then you should breastfeed just fine.
How Do I Know My Nipple Is Too Small To Breastfeed?
I know what you’re probably thinking, “I can tell my nipple is too small by just looking at it.” Well, that could work, I mean seeing is believing right? However, there is a need to properly examine your breasts to see whether or not it truly is small or flat. Here’s what to do:
- Use your thumb and index finger to hold the sides of your nipple and roll it.
- Check to see if the stimulation causes it to protrude. If it does then your baby can likely replicate that and latch on easily.
- If it doesn’t, well that’s where the journey to increasing your nipple size begins.
How To Increase Nipple Size For Feeding: Step by Step Guide
1.Use a Breast Pump
If you think about it, the problem, in many cases, is your nipple facing inwards so what better way to increase it than to cause the opposite?
As you know, a breast pump causes a sucking motion that is much stronger than your baby’s. So, a couple of pumping sessions here and there may just increase your breast size. And that’s regardless of whether you use a manual or electric pump.
Pumps can get expensive especially the electric ones, more so, if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding. If that’s the case, a manual pump should do just fine. Otherwise, check with your health insurance whether it covers the electric pump payment partly or fully.
3. Hand Express
I couldn’t possibly leave out the good old hand expression! Sure, a pump will do just fine but occasional hand expressing can be a lifesaver.
Let’s say your breast feels way too full with milk. There’s a likelihood that your nipple will appear to be flat due to the engorgement. So, a bit of hand expression to soften your breasts may just be due. Here’s how to go about it:
- Place your thumb and index finger behind your areola in a C shape. Preferably from the side.
- Ensure that your thumb is above your breast and your index finger beneath.
- Squeeze gently until you find a rhythm.
- Be careful to not roll your fingers as that may cause injuries to your skin.
- A liquid should drop out of your breasts, just before the milk starts flowing.
- Express just enough to soften your breasts.
4. Use Breast Shells and Nipple Shields
Away from the suction devices, breast shells and nipple shields can do more than a handful in increasing your nipple size. Although both are slightly different, they serve quite similar purposes.
A breast shell is worn over your nipple and it can work to pull the nipple during wear. As you may already have realized, an increase of your nipple might just center mainly on the pull.
Breast shells can be worn discreetly inside your clothing and can serve as protection to your nipple.
Nipple shields, on the other hand, can be worn while breastfeeding. Their main purpose is to serve as the nipple for your little one in any case that you can’t have your baby feed directly to your nipple.
They also work to increase nipple size through pull but many experts believe that it can lead to nipple confusion. And worst case scenario, your baby rejects your actual nipple. So, keep this in mind before you go get yourself a nipple shield.
5. Use Breast Holds (C-Hold and V-Hold)
Yeah, you read it right, how you hold your breasts can affect your nipple size. That is, if you press it enough, your nipple may just pop out!
Here are two of the most effective breast holds when it comes to increasing nipple size for feeding.
- Use your thumb and other fingers to form a C shape.
- Cup your breasts with your thumb above and your fingers beneath.
- Ensure your hands are situated just behind your areola.
- Apply slight pressure, sort of like holding a sandwich!
- This should cause your nipple to increase by a reasonable extent.
- Form a scissor shape with your index and middle fingers.
- Insert your breast into this “V” with your fingers situated behind the areola.
- Apply pressure gently and just like the C-hold, your nipple should slightly increase.
6. Nipple Stimulation
I earlier mentioned that nipple stimulation can cause your breasts to leave the “flat” form. This is perfect if you don’t have a truly flat nipple as a little touch gets it up and running!
You can easily follow the steps I listed earlier and see how it goes. Or you could follow Hoffman’s technique. I particularly enjoyed using it as it worked very well for me.
Here’s how to do it:
- Hold your nipple on either side with your thumb and index finger.
- Press your nipple backward into your breast tissue.
- Then roll your hands away from the nipple thereby stretching the areola.
- If you’re bothered about flat or inverted nipples, then you could perform this technique as many as 5 times daily. Of course, that’s if it causes you no pain.
7. Remove Milk Before Breast Feeding
Lots of moms deal with engorged breasts and it can get uncomfortable quickly. Worse of all, the downsides don’t end there, it makes your nipple appear flat thereby difficult to latch on.
This is where the expression comes in. You can use your breast pump or even hand express just before a feeding session to relieve yourself a bit and get your nipple back to protrusion.
If you’re not an exclusive breastfeeder, you could as well pump milk for storage. Yet, I advise you don’t empty your breasts at a go especially just before feeding because two things can happen:
- Your baby doesn’t get adequate milk at that feeding session.
- Your body makes more milk for the one removed and you’re back to feeling too full.
- Seek Professional Advice
- Most of the methods mentioned here can easily be done at home with no new equipment. The thing is, you may not know what would or wouldn’t work.
Instead of a trial and error session, I would advise you to speak to a consultant or any other qualified professional. They will guide you on all you need to know and what would work for you.
They may as well have access to some baby supplies so make sure to ask for breast pumps if you use one to increase your nipple size.
I put this last because you shouldn’t get to it without step 7. If none of the at-home methods work for you, your doctor may advise you take the surgical direction.
Surgery is a good sure way of increasing your nipple size. Although the kind of surgery you undergo will determine whether or not you can still breastfeed your little one.
In one instance, you can increase your nipple size via surgery and breastfeed just fine afterward. While in the other instance, you will not be able to breastfeed anymore. Your doctor will guide you on the best path for you to follow.
It can get tiring and sometimes overwhelming if your baby simply can’t latch on to your flat nipple. With minimal effort, you can increase the size and get your breastfeeding journey back on track!
Have you tried any of the above methods to increase your nipple size before? What worked and what didn’t? I’d love to hear your answers, leave them in the comment section below.