Breastfeeding With Different Nipple Shapes and Sizes

What is Normal?

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Normal nipples vary in size and shape. Some women have larger nipples and other women have smaller nipples. Some nipples are pointier, others are rounder. Some nipples are flat or even turned inward, while others are always protruding. All of these variations in nipple size and shape are normal, and breastfeeding can be successful with each of these types of nipples.

Certain nipples shapes and sizes can cause more difficulty with breastfeeding, though.

Women with flat nipples, inverted nipples or very large nipples may find it harder to get their baby latched on to the breast properly. A proper latch is so important to ensure that your baby gets enough breast milk to grow and remain healthy. A poor latch can lead to weight loss, dehydration and jaundice in your infant. It can also cause sore nipples and a decrease in your milk supply.

If you have any concerns about the size or shape of your nipples, talk to your doctor and have an examination of your breasts. In most situations, your baby will be able to latch on without any issues. Your doctor, midwife, nurse, doula or lactation consultant can assist you to get your baby latched on well from the first breastfeeding. They can also recognize problems right away and help you to find a solution to get breastfeeding on track.   


American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Sixth Edition.  Mosby. Philadelphia. 2005.

Newman, Jack, MD, Pitman, Theresa. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers. Three Rivers Press. New York. 2006.

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