Inverted nipples

Inverted nipples fold inward instead of pointing out. Women with inverted nipples may have a hard time getting started with breast-feeding. A breast-feeding baby latches on more easily to a nipple when it is erect.

To determine whether you have flat or inverted nipples:

  1. Place your thumb and forefinger on the edges of the areola (dark area around the nipple) just behind the nipple.
  2. Squeeze the tissue gently.
  3. 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 breast-feeding. However, their effectiveness 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 breast-feeding if your nipples remain inverted.

Regardless of whether you plan to breast-feed, call your health professional if you notice that your nipples have changed from looking erect to being inverted.

Last Updated: May 4, 2009

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