Flat Nipple Success Stories? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 03-25-2010, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I could really use some positive stories from women who successfully breastfed with flat nipples.

Anyone care to share?

Tell me your story!
How did you make it work?
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#2 of 17 Old 03-25-2010, 07:25 PM
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Oh, man!

My first baby was born in the hospital (after planning a home birth) because my membranes ruptured at 35 weeks. Dd was early, jaundiced, and a slow nurser. I still get angry when I think about this nurse who kept pinching my nipple when I was trying to get dd to latch on! If that had happened with my second baby, I would have pinched her back!

It did help to pinch/roll my nipple (gently) so it would stick out a little for her. I also got very engorged because she was so slow to nurse. We cup fed her and breastfed. I pumped before she nursed if my breast was too full to soften it up a bit, also it helped get the milk flowing. I used hot washcloths on my breasts before nursing or pumping.

Dd became a champion nurser after a couple rough weeks. We weaned at 27 months when I was pregnant with ds.
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#3 of 17 Old 03-25-2010, 07:37 PM
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I didn't know or realize that I had flat nipples until after DS was born. I ended up using nipples shields at first which helped and pumped before he would feed in the first month because it was hard for him to latch. With DD who is now almost 5 months, I've had no issues with her latching and exclusively nurse / pump.
The midwife and lactation team at the hospital were very helpful! Good luck!!

edited to add:
I'm not sure if this is true, but I feel like pumping helped bring my nipples out......which is maybe why its not an issue now with my daughter?

2004 2009
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#4 of 17 Old 03-25-2010, 09:16 PM
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I have flat nipples as well (didn't know it) so at first DS would latch but not start sucking and I had to use a nipple shield which he took to right away.
I tried every time to get him to latch without by pinching and sandwiching my nipples and he got better and better. In retrospect using a pump would've been helpful right before feeding because it sucks out the nipples great.
DS is EBF and I also pump if I have to be away. He doesn't have any issues of switching between the breast and the bottle and some people suggest that the shield may help with that.

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#5 of 17 Old 03-25-2010, 11:37 PM
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I wanted to say that I didn't really have trouble with my second baby either. He was a stronger nurser than dd, and not sleepy like she was even though he was born at 35 weeks too. Maybe all the nursing and pumping changed my nipples enough to make it easier for him too.
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#6 of 17 Old 03-26-2010, 03:40 PM
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Same story as most previous posters. Used nipple shield for the first week or so until DD got used to the "sandwich". Now, at 8 months, my nipples have gotten a bit bigger, and DD is so much older, no problems. But it was impossible to do side-lying in the beginning, and she still doesn't do it. Oh well. It's frustrating when all of the advice you get assumes a specific breast anatomy, but it's comforting to know that there are those of out there with similar stories who made it work.
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#7 of 17 Old 03-26-2010, 11:16 PM
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I had no idea I had flat nipples until my midwives told me so after the baby was born. She just couldn't latch on correctly. I used to grip my nipple in a death grip to get it to pop out - I don't suggest this. What ended up working for us is that my DH went to Target and bought the cheapest hand pump available. I would pump 5 or 6 times to get my nipple to stand out and then quickly pop her on. It was a huge PITA but it worked. After about 2 months, my nipples stayed out and we haven't had any problems since.

Good luck to you!
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#8 of 17 Old 03-27-2010, 12:24 AM
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I used a hand pump for a minute before I would latch on ds1 and I only had to do that for the first wk, mostly at night when my breasts were a little fuller.

There are many variations of nipple size and as a BF counselor for the past 10 yrs I have never seen a woman w/nipples anywhere close to the shape of a bottle nipple, so try not to be overly concerned about your nipples not being long enough for a good latch. The "sandwich" technique from Dr. Sears' BF book is what I used to make sure baby had enough breast in the mouth.

I think the most important thing is to use a good latch technique from the start and avoid artificial nipples. I wouldn't use nipple sheilds unless you absolutely have to and only under the care of a knowledgable lactation consultant. They can cause problems if not used properly.

My experience is similar to pps who mentioned that w/subsequent children it was much easier. The tightness of the nipples relaxes over time w/BF.

Wife to dh, Mommy to ds1 12/2002, ds2 9/2005, and ds3 9/2008.
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#9 of 17 Old 03-27-2010, 12:43 PM
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Hmmm as a teen I had both of mine pierced because they were so flat... Now one side has a better nipple than the other, for the right which is still fairly flat I just massage it before latching so it sticks up enough for ds2 to feel it.
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#10 of 17 Old 03-27-2010, 12:59 PM
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I had inverted nipples when DS was born. I also had my nipples pierced in early adulthood, thinking it would correct the issue. I soon removed them because I didnt care for them at all.
I was aware it could be an issue in Bfing later in life, so I would gently tug them outward every now and then. when DS was born at home I had to pull my nipple outward so he could latch, but I soon found I didnt have to do that at all, and DS could easily suck and latch on without any help. I had no issues throughout and DS is still nursing strong at 13 months. I'd say my nipples are usually slightly inverted to some-what flat these days. it can be done Good Luck!

Mama to DS 2/23/2009 and DD 7/22/2014
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#11 of 17 Old 03-27-2010, 02:08 PM
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I had totally flat nipples before children.. and sadly, because of *terrible* nurses and support for the first two dds, I didn't nurse them beyond a few days because I couldn't get it to work ... But with dd3 I was determined (for a myriad of reasons including FINALLY being a SAHM, I didn't want to shell out the $$ for anything else, and gosh, it's waaaay better of course!)... it was a struggle at first, but I had checked into things far more ahead of time (finding a nurse that would help me... there weren't any IBCLCs in the area), gotten books, read online and just generally asking about the experiences of others. .. It was hard for the first few weeks ... ugh.. really hard, even. But.. suddenly things just 'clicked' between dd3 and I and we went on to have a beautiful nursing relationship until she weaned herself at 40 months!

It *can* be done! (just like others said)! good luck on your venture! The most important thing I could tell you is to surround yourself with supportive people!!!

Judy, wife to my Catholic deacon husband ... homeschooling mother to my four girls, a boy, and someone new in May '15! Forever remembering our loss (8/11) .
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#12 of 17 Old 03-27-2010, 02:34 PM
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yep, inverted nipples here as a youngster/first-time mother. first breastfeeding attempt w/ my oldest failed (but mostly because i was young and had no help) but was completely successful w/ my subsequent children due to perseverance and tons of hands-on support from my midwife. i would suggest seeking the help of a LLL professional, too, if needed.

the invertedness is a thing of the past for me now. (as the nursing broke the adhesions that kept them "in") and they're now permanently standing out at full mast, so to speak, which i imagine would be the case for most everyone. i went on to nurse ds#3 for 4 years and this lil' one going on 2.

an fyi--if you choose the nipple shield route, be aware that many women (and babies) have a hard time breaking free of the need for them simply because that's what they've grown accustomed too. (but it sounds like many upthread had an easy time of it!)

gl and don't give up!
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#13 of 17 Old 03-27-2010, 02:46 PM
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I wore those nipple sheilds? for pulling out flat nipples, and I played with them alot during pregnancy. My first babies were twins, and one couldn't use my flattest nipple so I always put her on the "better" one. All my kids have preferred that one, but both are fully functional and I have bf 5 babies with them.

homebirthing,,homeschooling intactalactivist mom to 3dd jumpers.gifand 2dsbouncy.gif.babyf.gifAlways busy
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#14 of 17 Old 03-29-2010, 03:30 PM
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DD was born on a Monday, couldn't BF until Wed because she was in an oxygen tent. She had trouble latching on, and the lactation consultant at the hospital helped me to use a nipple shield at first while she was nursing, and those hard nipple shells when she was not. I think using the shield really helped break the little adhesions that kept my nipples flat. I always tried latching her on without the shield first but at first it was just too hard/frustrating for her to manage. After a few days, she went for the bare boob and we've never had to use it again. She's never had nipple confusion, FWIW.

I know nipple shields can cause problems for some women, but they were a godsend for me during a very stressful stay in the hospital.

p.s. 2.5 years later, and we are still nursing.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#15 of 17 Old 03-30-2010, 03:00 PM
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I had (have?) one flat nipple and one "regular" nipple. When DD was born, I couldn't get her to latch on the left side. Nothing made the nip "perk" up. I got a breast shell (looks like a donut with a cap over it) to help draw out the nipple. I remember I wore it all the time, and when DD would nurse on the other side, milk would flow and fill the cup up! I didn't realize it though and milk would spill all over the place and I would get so flustered.
Anyway, it took quite a few days and many attempts to get her to latch on that breast, and eventually she did. I did pump that side when she couldn't latch and I got too engorged. Sometimes just pumping for a few min to get the milk to flow was enough to get her latched on.

I guess it's not flat any more, b/c both nips perk up the same way now when she nurses and when it's cold. I don't expect to have problems with future nursing children, but at least if I do I know what to do.

Good luck!! <3

Carrie SAHM to Nora Caitlyn ('08) and Finnley Dax ('11) homebirthing, breastfeeding, babywearing, intactivist, doula mama!         
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#16 of 17 Old 03-30-2010, 07:00 PM
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1st baby--used shields for 3 months, then finally got her to latch without, nursed 2 yrs

2nd baby--will latch but i have to sort of squeeze the end of the breast to make it easier for him

it's doable!!

Homeschooling mama to DD 3/28/06 reading.gif,  DS 2/27/10 coolshine.gif, Belle the Orange Dog 03/11, and DD babygirl.gif 10/03/2013.
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#17 of 17 Old 03-30-2010, 07:23 PM
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I had inverted / flat nipples with my 1st and I did eventually successfully nurse him - but it was very hard in the beginning. I didn't have the right support and I ended up with him getting dehydrated and hospitalized for jaundice. I was determined to make it work and with an enormous amount of effort I overcame the many problems created by not getting the best start possible. But it took a lot of perserverance and enduring of much pain for 3 months!

Better to get a good start off the top I woud recommend talking to a LC (a good one) before birth and getting suggestions on how to get the best latch possible - including a visit post-birth and post milk coming in (that was my undoing) I could get my nipples to come out a little before my milk came in - but after that it was nearly impossible with the engorgement. Then it all went down hill in a big hurry...

However, I did go on to nurse my son for over 2 years. I also learned A LOT from my experience and successfully nursed 3 more children (still on my 4th right now) without any problems.

You can totally nurse with flat nipples! good luck.
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