Help with Flat Nipples

Updated on January 03, 2009
I.T. asks from Augusta, GA
10 answers

Hello everyone, my daughter just gave me a beautiful baby grandaughter for Christmas! She was actually born on the 18th. She is breastfeeding and is having to use a nipple sheild. Her nipples will not stay out. She is nursing a lot and a long time-like once she nursed for 2 hours at night. She had an appointment with the lactation specialist at the hospital after she had come home. The ls said that she would much prefer that she breatsfeed even if she has to use the shield with the goal being to attempt to get the nipples to stay protruded so it would no longer be needed. The ls also said that nursing would probably have to be for longer since the baby would not be getting as much through the shield. Has anyone had this problem with their nipples and what did you do to get them to stay out? We have tried manual stumulation, ice, cold air, bait and switch. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance. You ladies are an awesome bunch :-)

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answers from Atlanta on

I had the same problem with inverted nipples. Eventually they will come out and stay out. It worked the best for me when I used a breast pump and then fed my daughter with the bottle. The electric breast pump provides enough suction that it would bring the nipple out and then it would stay out. Good Luck!

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answers from Atlanta on

Hello, 1st of all congrats on a wonderful christmas present. Let your daughter know that using a breast pump for just a moment before feeding helped me. But I did choose to only pump after a few weeks (just because it was easier for me and my husband) This allowed us both to feed and i got more sleep(a little) Don't give up if there continues to be problems. I was able to pump for over 6 months with both my daughters and did not have to use formula until around 7 months. A good pump is key. Medela Pump in style was wonderful. We purchased ours from a company in Canada, and the price was about $100 less.



answers from Charleston on

I don't have any experience with it, but I've seen a product that is supposed to help with flat nipples. It's supposed to be used before delivery, but it would definitely be worth a try anyway if it will help your daughter to breastfeed longer. It's by Avent and it's called the Niplette that is supposed to pull flat nipples out. You can Google it to find out more, but here one site that explains it:

I wish your daughter luck!


answers from Atlanta on

I have flat nipples but I found it didn't matter when my baby was latched correctly. The latch should be large enough to take in much of the aureola so the baby is not actually sucking on the nipple. I'm sure you have gone over the correct latch with the specialist though. Another option would be to buy a nice electric pump and just give her breastmilk in bottles and to supplement with formula if she finds pumping constantly a pain. The "bonding" one derives from nursing isn't much good if it's difficult for both the mom and the baby and she can still get the nutrients of breastmilk from pumped milk.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi! I used my nipple shield for just over 8 weeks. My LC told me that new studies prove that the shield doesn't interfere with the transfer of milk like it used to. I also pumped ALOT in the beginning to get the milk flowing. I finally tried the breast shells and she latched on without the shield. I don't know if she was just ready or if it was the shells but she's been latched ever since. My nips are flat too. good luck



answers from Savannah on

There are two La Leche League Leaders who run this page, and you can post a question there. One of the ladies lives in Beaufort, and one in Bluffton.

Has the baby also been checked for tongue-tie by a KNOWLEDGEABLE specialist? There is an ENT in Savannah (Pooler, actually) who can examine the baby and clip her tongue. This helped me so much, and I noticed an immediate improvement. (Tongue tie runs in our family and other sibs, so I had some idea).

Keep on stretching (the nips). Using an electric pump first to pull them out AND to get the milk supply coming out will help you get past the letdown (not drowning the baby with too much milk), and can get it ready to put the baby on.



answers from Spartanburg on

I just had our first child on Nov.3 & I also have flat nipples. Something that helped me was to pump for just a few minutes on the side I was going to feed off of, that helped pull my nipple out. I also just kept working with it, just pulling on my nipples and putting my daughter directly to it, the pulling didn't help much, but I was able to get my daughter(that was 3 weeks early)to latch on, but it took a good 2.5 to 3 weeks for her to catch on. She will be 8 weeks old tomorrow and we are no longer having issues, I can now just slightly pull on them & they'll stay out!! It does take a lot of time & patients in the beginning, but it's worth it. My feedings now last between 15-30 minutes..they were quite a bit longer in the beginning, hopes this helps, sorry i don't just have a miracle answer. Just so you know my lactation consultant told me the shield would actual make it harder on the baby, we had to do what is called finger feeding to teach her how to latch on & suck properly, so that is an option that you could look into also....good luck!!!



answers from Atlanta on

Well, first, the hard nipples you get when you're cold aren't the same thing as what you're wanting so I'd give up on the ice/cold thing -- unless the lactation consultant told you otherwise, I guess.

Worst case scenario is that she has to use the nipple shield forever -- or that she pumps and bottle feeds. I don't know of a way to make the nipples do what we want them to do. But, of course, breast milk is the best thing for baby.

Congratulations on the healthy baby and that your daughter is able to produce milk for her!



answers from Atlanta on

I would get rid of the nipple shield. The lactation consultants did the same thing with me with my first. My nursing didn't last but about 6 weeks because of it. My milk supply didn't grow to meet his needs, and even when my nipples did come out my son was already used to the shield, etc., etc., etc. I would get rid of it.

Just because one has flat or inverted nipples doesn't mean they can't nurse without them protruding, as I found out. I just had my 5th child (3 months old now) and he is doing fine and nursing up a storm with the way mine are. Sometimes when he nurses, they are flat, but no big deal....they can still nurse.

I would pump if she really needs them to come out for her sake, but I really would get rid of it. I told another lactation consultant about the shield that I had used with my first child and even she agreed that will slow down milk supply as well as you can nurse without that thing. I think it depends on the consultant.

Anyway, good luck!


answers from Columbia on


I don't know how much this will help...but I had a problem similar to this when I had my daughter. I tried to breastfeed when I had my daughter and I thought that she was feeding long enough and getting enough milk, but then when she was jaundice after the first couple of days I found out that she wasn't getting enough milk. I tried and tried but eventually my daughter just stopped trying latching on b/c my nipples wouldn't stay protruded enough for her to find them no matter what I did. The lactation consultant told me I had inverted nipples. So instead of trying to breastfeed I would pump and give her milk that way. It worked for a little while and I was mixing it with formula too b/c my milk production was getting low. Then I eventually got mastitis and had to stop all together and just go with formula. It can be a very frustrating process but if your daughter can figure out a way to make it work that's great. Mention the pumping to her and maybe that will make it easier. Best of luck!

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