Inverted Nipples & Breast Feeding

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Most women with inverted nipples are still able to produce milk and breastfeed their babies. The main complication with this tends to be due to the lack of the nipple projection as it is difficult for the baby to latch onto the nipple and can therefore, not nurse effectively and get enough milk. If you only have one inverted nipple, there is of course the option of just feeding your baby with the alternate breast, however this can be painful and tiring for you. There are options that avoid the corrective surgery that can be sought to resolve this problem.

Possible non-surgical options to ease breastfeeding

  • The Niplette: This device can be purchased and it stretches the milk ducts and physically sucks the nipple out of its inverted position to allow the baby an opportunity to latch and nurse normally.
  • Breast Shells: These are worn for a few months before giving birth and then before each time you need to feed. They help withdraw the nipple so it is protruding so your baby can latch.
  • Breast Pump: This can be used as a way to obtain breast milk without needing your baby to nurse. The pump is used before each feed and is an option for either wanting to extract milk to bottle-feeding or it can also pull the nipple out so you can breastfeed naturally.
  • The Hoffman Technique: This method does not require any type of device at all. It is a massage technique use to try and get your nipple to protrude. The general technique involves pressing down on your nipple with your thumbs and pulling away from the nipple. This should be done both up and down as well as from side to side several time a day.
  • Nipple Shield: A nipple shield is effectively a fake nipple, which aids your baby to latch. This option is often only used as a last resort as they severely limit the amount of milk available for your baby.

How can you help your baby breastfeed?

There are numerous options you can try that rule out the need for purchasing bizarre devices or adopting massage techniques before every feed. These options are generally used to ease the natural breastfeeding process for both you and your baby so it can be as close to normal as possible.

To get the nipple to stand out from the breast so it is available for the baby to latch on to, you could try nipple stimulation. This is normally very effective for those women who have grade 1 inverted nipples which protrude occasionally. This stimulation may be done by placing something cold on it or rolling your nipple in your hand until it becomes erect.

It is often advised to new mothers who have inverted nipples, that they start nursing as soon as is realistically possible after giving birth. Once this first feed has been accomplished, nursing should occur every couple of hours after that. This is done to prevent the nipple from swelling as this could make the nipple even harder for the baby to grasp.

From hereon, the breastfeeding process is much like that for every other new mum. You just need to ensure that your baby is calm when feeding time comes around and that they are latching to your nipple correctly. If this does not work and your baby is not getting enough milk, you may resort to using a breast pump. Just remember, if you do have to take this option, it’s not the end of the world as your baby is still getting all of the goodness from your breast milk.

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