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.