Is there any help for inverted or flat nipples?

Q: My nipples are so flat that they're almost inverted. Is there anything I can do to draw them out?

A: Yes—but not until close to delivery. "I usually recommend waiting until the last month of pregnancy to use breast shells— plastic dome-shaped devices that are worn over the nipples to help draw them out," Neifert says. "The concern is that wearing shells may stimulate the nipples, which in turn can cause uterine contractions that could trigger preterm labor." If you do opt to use breast shells, be sure to work with a lactation consultant. Using a breast pump is also highly effective—but you must wait until after delivery. "A good breast pump is the best thing of all for inverted nipples," she adds. "Using it before latching the baby on can help your nipples protrude more." Also, even if you have inverted or flat nipples now, it may not be a problem once your child starts nursing. "The baby's sucking stimulates nerve endings, which makes the nipple more erect," Neifert explains. You also can pump after nursing to bring in more milk and draw out the nipples even further.