Inverted nipples fold inward instead of pointing out. Most women with inverted nipples will still be able to
breastfeed. If the baby is having a hard time latching on to the breast, ask your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant for help.
To find out whether you have flat or inverted nipples:
- Place your thumb and forefinger on the edges of the areola (dark area around the nipple) just behind the nipple.
- Squeeze the tissue gently.
- If the nipple is flat or inverted, it will flatten or retract into the breast instead of pointing out.
Special techniques and breast shells sometimes are recommended to prepare inverted nipples for breastfeeding. But how well they work is questionable. Inverted nipples may naturally become more erect after the birth of your baby. Your health professional or a lactation consultant is usually able to help you and your baby start breastfeeding if your nipples stay inverted. In some cases, he or she may recommend using a nipple shield.
Regardless of whether you plan to breastfeed, call your health professional if you notice that your nipples have changed from looking erect to being inverted.
Current as of: February 28, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.