Flat nipples are nipples that are evenly level with the areola, which is the darker-coloured skin on the breasts around the nipples. Flat nipples do not react to cold climates or sexual arousal stimuli. However, if they respond and become erect, they are not flat nipples.
Types Of Nipples
- Puffy nipples
- Hairy nipples
- Hard or erect nipples
- Inverted nipples or retracted nipples
- Flat nipples
- Bumping nipples
- Supernumerary nipples
- No nipples
How to Get Rid of Flat Nipples?
According to a study, 9 to 10 % of women have at least one inverted or flat nipple. Although flat nipples are not a medical issue, women may not like their appearance. There are simple remedies women can try as flat nipple solutions in such cases.
Hoffman's Technique to Get Rid of Flat Nipples
This technique has been in use since the 1950s. As per a study conducted in 2017, this technique proves to be very effective.
How to do it?
- Place your index finger and thumb on both sides of your nipple.
- Firmly press your fingers into the breast tissue.
- Stretch the areola in each direction gently.
How often should you do it?
Perform this exercise five times each morning. If it does not hurt, you can also use both hands and both thumbs.
There will be some pain during nursing, as the nipple is being pulled out. If the pain is intolerable, please discontinue the technique.
Suction Devices to Get Rid of Flat Nipples
Various suction devices are available to help you get rid of flat nipples. Most of these are worn inside the clothes. These devices pull the nipple into a small cup, ensuring it protrudes. The Niplette device is recommended by research. Others include:
- Breast Pumps
- Breast Shells
- Nipple retractors or extractors
How long should you wear it?
Women can wear these for as long as 15 minutes. Regular usage helps loosen breast tissue, enabling nipples to stay erect for longer.
Pull Back to Get Rid of Flat Nipples
If you wonder how to get rid of flat nipples, pulling back is an easy and comfortable technique.
How to do it?
- Support the breast with a thumb on and four fingers under and behind the areola.
- Pull back the breast tissue softly towards the chest area.
- This process may help the nipples protrude.
How to Make Flat Nipples Stick Out for Breastfeeding?
Sometimes, flat nipples change shape during pregnancy. Studies have found that flat nipple breastfeeding problems are common, with around one-third of women facing them. Here are some methods to help solve this issue:
V-hold to Stick Out Flat Nipples for Breastfeeding
In this method, hold the breast like a sandwich.
- Use your index finger and middle finger to hold your nipple in a scissor-like shape.
- Place your thumb and forefinger on top of the breast and the rest of your fingers under it.
- Squeeze your nipple and areola downwards by gently pressing it towards your chest.
Note: Do not be right while squeezing, as it may cause irritation and lead to sore boobs.
Reverse Pressure Softening (RPS) to Stick Out Flat Nipples for Breastfeeding
Studies have found that this technique is performed by breastfeeding mothers to help during their infant's flat nipple latch. Practising RPS before latching reduces the resistance of sub-areolar tissue. It enables breast tissue to interact with your baby's mouth appropriately.
How to do it?
- Use your fingertips to encircle the periphery of the nipple
- Push toward the chest wall for 1-3 minutes before latching
How does it help?
This technique helps push other fluids aside and triggers milk flow. It allows your nipple to protrude so that the baby can grasp it easily.
If you feel that these natural remedies do not work fast, research suggests you can always opt for surgical methods. There are two types of surgeries: ones that preserve some of the woman's milk ducts and others that don't.
Hand Express to Stick Out Flat Nipples for Breastfeeding
Hand expression is an effective breastfeeding technique for removing colostrum - special milk produced in the first weeks of pregnancy. It also softens the breast so the baby can latch onto it with ease.
How to do it?
- Hold your breast in one hand, make a C-shape with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand near the areola.
- Gently compress and release the pressure
- Repeat the process in a rhythmic manner
Note: Avoid squeezing the breast too tight or pulling and pinching the nipple. It will cause breast pain.
Also read: How do Healthy Nipples Look?
Even after using all the tips mentioned above and tricks, you may feel that your baby is not latching on properly. Studies suggest that you can have your baby's latch evaluated by an expert that will advise you according to your situation. It is an effective way to enhance the breastfeeding experience. Exercises are not the only avenue to improve the breastfeeding experience. Numerous women take the help of natural, Ayurvedic herbs like Safed Musli, having milk-producing benefits during this period.
Daniel J. Gould (2015) Inverted Nipple Repair Revisited: A 7-Year Experience (Aesthetic Surgery Journal) https://academic.oup.com/asj/article/35/2/156/181321
Nahed Maher Ahmed Abdallah (2018) Breast and Nipple Problems Encountered among Puerperal Primipara Women in Zagazig (International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research & Allied Sciences) https://ijpras.com/storage/models/article/PHY3NwWWpq0hJPCG0sykmElE4wnxy2Rpz9vmcwUy25fMMSHKNSKM8pZPYO7b/breast-and-nipple-problems-encountered-among-puerperal-primipara-women-in-zagazig.pdf
P.PONMATHI, NALAMSAI MOUNIKA (2017) Effect of Hoffman's technique on flat nipple over nipple type and quality of Breast feeding among post-natal mothers (International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences) https://ijpbs.net/abstract.php?article=NjI3MA==