Conditions & Treatments

Flat or Inverted Nipples

An effective breastfeeding baby usually has little trouble breastfeeding even if his/her mother's nipples appear to be flatter. A less effective breastfeeder may need some time to figure out how he/she can draw the nipple into the mouth with latch-on.

Flat or Inverted Nipples

Techniques for flat or inverted nipples

An effective breastfeeding baby usually has little trouble breastfeeding even if his/her mother's nipples appear to be flattened. A less effective breastfeeder may need some time to figure out how he/she can draw the nipple into the mouth with latch-on. Although the benefit of using hard plastic breast shells is not conclusive, some mothers find it helps to wear them in the bra between feedings. Breast shells exert a small amount of traction to help draw the nipple outward. Using a breast pump to draw the nipple out just prior to breastfeeding may also help.

If nipples invert, or "dent" inward, with stimulation, try the interventions mentioned for flat nipples. Nipple eversion devices are available. Ask a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) for information. Occasionally, one or both nipples are severely inverted. If one breast is less affected, your baby can breastfeed on the less affected breast. Most women can produce enough milk in one breast to exclusively breastfeed their babies. If you only nurse on one breast, it is a good idea to pump the other breast so that your breasts will be approximately the same size. You can store the milk you pump in the freezer and use this milk for times when you are away from your baby.

Treatment Programs


Massachusetts General Hospital understands that a variety of factors influence patients' health care decisions. That's just one reason why we're dedicated to ensuring patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because a single option might not serve all patients, we offer a wide range of coordinated treatments and related services across the hospital. Patients should consult with their primary care doctor or other qualified health care provider for medical advice and diagnosis information.

Select a treatment program for more information:



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