Breastfeeding

Q&A: Nursing With Inverted Nipples?

"I have an inverted nipple. It never pops out! I really want to breast feed and have heard about the shields. Will this really work? Is there anything else I can do to help the situation?" —mrsjrmiller

Some women have nipples that don’t stick out and may appear flat or even inverted. With a little patience, you can get your baby to successfully latch onto your breast. Your baby’s sucking motion can draw the nipple out. Pumping just before nursing can help pull the nipple out too.

Some experts recommend using nipple shields during feedings; as the baby sucks, the milk comes out through a hole in the shield. You don’t want to use nipple shields long term because they can lead to decreased milk supply. You can also wear breast shells during pregnancy to coax the nipple to stick out. Finally, there are hand exercises that you can do to draw the nipple out.

Find a board certified lactation consultant to help you through this process. Your OB, pediatrician, hospital or local la leche league group can help you find a lactation consultant near you. You can also use the International Lactation Consultant Association to find an LC near you.

By Andi Silvermanm, author of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding