When you have a fussy, hungry baby who won’t stop crying until you have given her the milk she wants, the last thing that comes to your mind is how to latch her properly. You want to feed her as soon as you can no matter what way that is.
If you have inverted nipples, it may pose an additional challenge. While you may read articles that it is still possible to breastfeed your baby despite your inverted nipples, let me tell you that it didn’t work well for me.
Here are some of their tips and why they didn’t work for me. Then, later on, I’ll let you know my solution to everything.
Suggested solutions to inverted nipples
Use breast shells. I tried almost every brand there is, varying from cheap to really expensive. All I can say is one thing: They barely help.
When you are lactating, your breasts are engorged. Your areola is bigger than usual. Everything is just huge.
The breast shells, on the other hand, are tiny pieces of plastic, roughly 2” in diameter. The holes for the nipples are even smaller.
Without being a spatial expert, you can guess that they don’t fit. The hole that’s supposed to draw the nipple out cannot really draw the entire nipple out except for maybe about 80% of it.
Who can survive with 80% protruded nipple?
Use nipple shields. A product similar to the breast shells is the nipple shield. It’s also made of plastic, and it’s worn over your breasts. The sizes are also similar.
The difference between the two is the time of using it. The former is used when not feeding; the latter when feeding.
Again, it’s the size. The nipple shields do not adhere to your skin by itself; hence, you have to hold them while feeding.
Since the shield is small, your fingers will cover most of it literally, leaving only the plastic nipple for your baby to latch on. And, yes, your baby cannot latch on properly.
Do some nipple massage. Yes, there is this thing they call nipple massage or presses. Using either your left or right index and middle fingers, press the area around your nipples gently yet firmly. At the same time, slowly pull your nipple until it starts to protrude. Latch on the baby immediately afterward.
With sore breasts, it’s tough to press and pull your organic milk bags just like that. And in my experience, it doesn’t take ten seconds before they go back to how they looked like. It was just frustrating.
See a lactation expert. If all the above didn’t solve your inverted nipple feeding problem, the last thing breastfeeding articles suggest you do is to see lactation experts. They will teach you how to latch your baby properly and at the same time give you techniques on how to feed your baby on your own.
While this is very helpful and assuring, who has time to for that?
When I sought for help, I didn’t get it the first time. And imagine how many times I have to feed the baby in one day. Asking for their help every time I had to feed my little one was just not viable for me.
But don’t get me wrong.
They are very, very patient and helpful. They do know what they do, and they share tips and techniques to you carefully. If you are a fast learner, go seek their help.
If not, then the following solution may also be the one to work for you.
My solution to inverted nipples
Pumping. Yes, the one and only solution that worked for me is using an automatic pump to express milk, store it, and feed it to my baby.
It may seem like hard work at first, but I find it very beneficial for a number of reasons.
First, I can express milk any time I want to. I just store it in proper storage bags or bottles then keep it in the fridge. This allows my mammary glands to produce more milk also.
Second, I can sleep longer. Knowing that I have enough supply stored in the fridge for my baby, I can ask my husband or the sitter to feed my baby while I recharge my body.
Third, I can do errands outside the house. Grocery shopping? No problem. Buying new baby stuff? Let’s go. Craving for pizza? Bring it.
As long as I have someone to look after my little one, I’m fine.
I am not, by all means, against the suggested solutions above. In fact, I would have loved it if my baby learned to feed directly from me because I know our bond would be deeper.
But since I was more concerned about being able to feed her without the fuss, I chose the easiest solution for the both of us.
It’s a win-win.