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Have inverted nipples? Try five minutes nipple massage for successful breastfeeding

This will help mothers with inverted nipples to breastfeed their babies post delivery.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : March 8, 2018 2:23 PM IST

Your breasts undergo go a lot of changes when you are pregnant - they increase in size, become sore, the areolas become bigger in size, they leak and so on. However, for women who have inverted nipples, the nipples might cushion themselves further inside the breasts as their size increase. Now inverted nipples are just a physiological feature in some women and have no health implications. Having inverted nipples don't affect your pregnancy in any way neither do they prevent the breasts from lactating and producing milk. Here are some changes that happen in your breasts during pregnancy.

But postpartum, inverted nipples could be a problem, especially during breastfeeding. An infant might find it difficult to latch-on the nipples and breastfeeding. This could lead to problems during feeding session and subsequently formula feed taking precedence over breastfeeding. We don't need to tell you that while this arrangement can help the child stay satiated it isn't a nutritious choice. Breast milk is the best food for your child. Here are nine things you should never say to a breastfeeding mother.

So to avoid this problem, mothers who have inverted nipples can indulge in nipple massage during pregnancy. Use either coconut oil or olive oil or any heavy duty moisturizer of your choice for massage.

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How to do it

Take little amount of oil or moisturizer in your palms and gently massage your breasts, particularly the areola. Once you moisturise the area well, then with your thumb and index finger pull the nipples outward. Don t be too harsh, as during pregnancy your nipples turn to be sensitive and sore. If you get harsh with them you might end up hurting yourself. So be gentle. Try massaging your nipples right from the start of your pregnancy, at least twice a day.

Word of caution

While there is no harm in nipple massage, but know that many women and midwives believe that breast and nipple massage can lead to the ripening of the cervix and subsequently a premature labour. The study states that breast and nipple stimulation aids production of oxytocin from posterior pituitary gland which helps in the ripening of the cervix and eventually dilates it to make way for a vaginal birth. So, one needs to be very cautious while doing this massage. Read to know how breast and nipple massage can lead to vaginal delivery.

As a precaution don t spend too much time massaging the nipples, limit it to a few minutes, especially, when your expected due date is nearing. However, you might have to do this massage even after delivery to help your nipples project outward so that your child can latch-on to your breasts. Continue this practice to make breastfeeding easy despite the problem.

Reference:

Singh, N., Tripathi, R., Mala, Y. M., & Yedla, N. (2014). Breast stimulation in low-risk primigravidas at term: does it aid in the spontaneous onset of labour and vaginal delivery? A pilot study. BioMed research international, 2014.

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