Every woman’s nipples are unique, and if you are worried that your nipples aren’t big enough for breastfeeding, there are some ways to increase their size to prepare for breastfeeding.
Whether your nipples are flat or small, there are some things you can do at home to increase nipple size and make breastfeeding easier.Plus this will make it easier for your baby to latch on properly from day one.
Increasing your nipple size is completely possible and you don’t have to undergo surgery to do so. Some easy ways to increase nipple size is through hand expressions, nipple stimulation, and even using a breast pump.
Check Your Nipples
Before trying to increase nipple size, it is important to determine whether or not you need to.
Your nipples will change in shape and appearance while pregnant, and they might actually be fine to feed with as they are.
Even while your nipples might appear small or flat, they might push out when stimulated, which means your baby will be able to latch on when feeding. Here is how to check:
- Place your thumb and your forefinger onto the outside of your areola (the dark area surrounding your nipple)
- Squeeze gently, not causing any pain but applying some pressure from either side.
- Repeat this on your other nipple.
Your nipple will either retract back into your breast after this or push out. If your nipples retract, it means that they are flat and need some help. If they push out, your baby should be able to feed easily.
Increasing Nipple Size
Once you have determined that your nipples are flat or small, these are some things you can do to try and increase their size:
You can use hand expression to express milk from your breast and stimulate your nipples, which could help soften nipples and improve latch.
- Cup your breast into one hand, making a C shape with your thumb and your forefinger surrounding your areola.
- Squeeze gently, applying some pressure, before releasing the pressure.
- Repeat this motion, falling into a rhythm. Avoid rubbing your fingers up and down your skin as this could cause friction burns.
- Milk should start appearing from your nipples and slowly start flowing.
- Do this just enough that your nipples push out and your breast softens.
Use A Breast Pump
The suction from a breast pump can help to draw out flat or small nipples. You will have to choose between manual and electric breast pumps, with either working better for different moms.
If you plan to pump often, an electric pump is better, however, if you are only going to use the pump now and then, and want it mainly to increase nipple size, a manual pump is fine to use.
Pump a little bit each day to stimulate your nipples and hopefully give them a better shape or size for feeding.
You could also use a breast pump briefly before feeding your baby. The breast pump will prepare your nipples for feeding, and your baby should be able to latch on straight away.
Just make sure not to pump too much that your baby does not get their required milk from your breast.
You can try nipple stimulation to increase nipple size.
Pregnant women should note that nipple stimulation might bring on labor, and you should only use this as a way to increase nipple size after talking to your doctor. It is fine to use this method once your baby is born.
To stimulate your nipple, begin by gently massaging the areola.
You can place your fingers just outside of the areola and slowly massage inwards towards the nipple in a rolling motion.
You can use some nipple cream to make it easier to massage.
This stimulation should push your nipple outwards, and make latching on for your baby easier when it is time to feed.
Use Breast Shells
Breast shells are worn on the breasts between feeds. These help to put pressure onto the base of the nipple, which causes them to stick out a little more.
You will need to remove the breast shells before feeding your baby, but when you do remove them, your nipples should have grown in size.
Nipple shields can be worn during feeds if your baby is battling to latch on, or if your nipples are painful.
These create a barrier between your baby’s mouth and your nipples but still allow for suction, which means that milk can still pass through.
Use A V-Hold Or C-Hold
When feeding, using a V-hold or C-hold around your breast can help to increase nipple size. This means placing your hand in either a C-shape or V-shape, cupping your breast, and squeezing gently.
This will help to push your nipple outwards and also help the milk flow more easily.
Holding your breasts this way compresses the breast down, and makes it easier for your baby to latch onto your nipple. This is often one of the best ways to encourage a good latch.
Remove Some Milk Before Nursing
If your breasts are quite full before nursing, your baby might battle to latch on.
If you think this might be the case, you can hand express or use a pump to remove some breastmilk before putting your baby onto your breast.
Your baby will find it easier to latch onto your nipples if your breast is not engorged.
Remember to not remove too much breastmilk before latching your baby on, as this could send signals for your breast to produce more milk than a normal feed, which will just lead to more engorgement.
Increasing Nipple Size For Feeding
Flat and small nipples can cause an obstacle for feeding, but there are so many ways to better your baby’s latch and prepare your nipples for breastfeeding that it should not cause a lasting problem.
If you are really concerned about your nipples or your baby’s latch, contact a lactation consultant for some advice.
They might be able to visit you and help you improve the latch, to ensure that both you and your baby can enjoy breastfeeding for a longer period, and feel much more comfortable while doing so!
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