Can I breastfeed if I have inverted nipples?

Q: Can I breastfeed if I have inverted nipples?

A: Many moms with flat or inverted nipples are able to breastfeed effectively; it just may take a little extra effort and commitment. First, know that your breasts undergo many changes during pregnancy, and your nipple(s) may protrude naturally during the third trimester. Or your baby may pull your nipple out once she starts to breastfeed. Or you can use a breast pump to pull it out right before a feeding.

If your baby is having a hard time latching on, you may want to consider using a nipple shield, a thin sheath of silicone that goes over your own nipple to give your baby something to latch onto. But these should be used with caution, for several reasons: Your baby can become used to nursing on the shield; the shield may not transfer milk to your baby as well as a bare breast; and the shield decreases the stimulation your nipples get from your baby's sucking, which over time can decrease your milk supply. If you think you need a nipple shield, it's best to talk to a lactation consultant first.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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