Part 2 – What type of nipple are you?
You would have seen Part 1 of this blog - What type of breast are you? So now its time to talk Nipples. Nipples are funny old things. Everyone has some sort of resembling nipple feature, but who knew there were so many different shapes and sizes. Nipples are never really talked about or discussed unless a celebrity flashes her breast to a camera or your midwife or doctor asks to check your nipples for breastfeeding. I guess this leaves a lot of us wondering…are my nipples normal or are they weird? And are they going to make good feeders?
So, after a bit of research we’ve found a breakdown on the different shapes and sizes that our crazy beautiful nipples can come in. We found this rather funny, but interesting at the same time.
These nipples protrude a few millimeters from the areola at their regular state, but protrude further upon arousal, temperature changes, or tactile stimulation.
Flat nipples are not everted at their normal state. They are just like they sound: Flat; blending into the areola. Flat nipples will protrude, albeit less so than "normal" nipples, upon stimulation, temperature changes and arousal. Flat nipples have the ability to turn into "normal" nipples when breastfeeding draws them out.
Puffy nipples have most of the same characteristics of "flat" nipples, the only difference being that in "puffy" nipples, the areola is raised up off the breast.
Inverted nipples occur when the lactiferous ducts do not get properly stretched during puberty. Inverted nipples have a dimpled appearance, folding into the areola. Much like with flat nipples, inverted nipples can be drawn out from the body either through cosmetic surgery, breastfeeding, nipple shields, all of which loosen up the tissue. There are three subcategories, or "grades," of inverted nipples.
Grade 1 These nipples can occasionally become everted from arousal, temperature changes, and stimulation. They can also protrude through manipulation by lightly squeezing fingers around the areola, a few centimeters behind the nipple. Grade 1 nipples will maintain protrusion without retracting.
These nipples can be pulled out (though not as easily) through the same manipulation method as Grade 1 nipples. However, Grade 2 nipples retract back into the areola after finger pressure is released.
These nipples are retracted into the areola, meaning they are a little harder to be pulled out through physical manipulation. They can sometimes require surgery in order to protrude.
This is when one nipple is inverted while the other is not. Kind of like your boobs are winking at you.
Nipples and Breastfeeding
Regardless of all these different nipple shapes, breastfeeding can often come down to sheer determination. Remember that babies BREASTfeed, not NIPPLEfeed, so as long as baby can take a good portion of the breast into his mouth (baby's mouth and gums should bypass the nipple entirely and latch on to the areola), most types of flat or inverted nipples will not cause problems with breastfeeding.
Yes, maybe having nipples that protrude further, can be easier than inverted nipples, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. For more tips on breastfeeding take a look at this blog from Medela. It has some good helpful solutions.
Despite the fact that "normal" is one of these categories, one study indicates that "28%-35% of women have nipples that don't protrude that well, meaning that "abnormal" nipples are actually pretty common. And about 10% of all nipples are considered "inverted." That's similar to the same statistic of the population of homosexual people! But, just remember, no matter what size/shape or normal Vs weird your nipples are, your precious bundle will never complain as long as they are being loved and fed.