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Nov 24

Can I breastfeed if my nipple is short or inverted?

Evert-It
There is this invention called “Evert-It” which deals with this problem. I bought it from the Internet due to recommendations in a breastfeeding book that I read. The verdict – yes, it helped in the beginning, but once your baby learns the correct latch-on, you won’t need it anymore. I also found that if you use a breast pump, you can achieve the same result. I use Avent Isis. – Nor Azleena

Manual manipulation
By and large this is not a problem that can’t be overcome. Once the baby is latched on, the nipple is elongated, which is noticeable when the baby comes off the breast after nursing. Pregnancy itself (especially the later stage) can alter the nipple.

However, inverted, flat or short nipples can make good latching on a challenge especially around the 3-4 days post natal when the breast is hard due to the increased blood supply (as the breast changes to making milk rather than colostrums).

Gently pulling the nipple and rolling it between the thumb and fingers during pregnancy has shown to be ineffective but doesn’t do any harm. – Eirian

Ipplette
A few years ago Avent manufactured something called an “ipplette” (about 6 years ago I bought a few in the UK and brought them back here). It worked like a small bicycle pump to pull the nipple out. Consisted of a nipple shield connected to a thin tube connected to a syringe. The research (done by the manufacturer) showed that when used sufficiently (I think a few minutes every day), the muscles lengthwise around the nipple became slightly longer. Don’t know if they still make them.

This little contraption can be made by taking a plastic syringe (probably a 10ml one), cutting off the end where you would put the needle, pulling out the plunger and putting it in the ex needle end and then using the flange end over the nipple and using a gentle pull to elongate the nipple. Don’t know if anyone who has tried this though. Whatever used should be comfortable and not cause any trauma. – Eirian

Ice cube
A wrapped ice cube to make the nipple stand out can always be used just before you try and get the baby latched on if you expect difficulty. – Eirian

This is usually a problem in the early days, once the baby (and mum) has learnt the art of nursing nipple shape and size is not an issue. – Eirian