Happy Wednesday, Lovelies!
More breastfeeding talk in today’s post, but it’s a piggy-back on my last post – My Breastfeeding Journey – The Pain Filled Truth. While I already shared my story, I wanted to share the 5 critical things that helped me through the pain of breastfeeding with inverted nipples. I wanted to list these things in order of importance, but as I got down to it, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without any of these things.
- Newman’s Ointment – This is hands down the most important thing for me. It’s prescription only, so I didn’t get until I was released from the hospital. I had not known about it until the lactation consultant told me to ask for it. I had purchased lanolin creams and nipple compresses, but they were not nearly as effective as the magic of Newman’s Ointment. If you know you have inverted/flat nipples make sure you talk to your Doctor, so that you can get it either before you head to the hospital or so you can get it straight away with your other medication. Even at 7 months I will use this if I’m having a rough day. In the beginning, I used it after every single feeding and it made the next feed bearable. I highly recommend talking to your doctor about getting this.
- Hospital Grade Pump – In the beginning, feeding Lennon from the breast was too excruciating. Lennon’s suck was too strong for my inverted nipples. After my breakdown in the hospital, part of my plan was to rent a hospital grade pump for a month. Even though I got a pump through my insurance (I got the Ameda Finesse Double Pump), it wasn’t as heavy duty as the hospital grade pump. For that month I almost exclusively pumped, trying from the breast when I was feeling up to it (which wasn’t very often). I really liked using a pump in the beginning because I could control the speed and suction. Pumping should not hurt, so if it did, I could turn down the suction intensity. I used the Ameda Platinum Double Electric Pump. Pumping was really important for me to help draw (more like rip) out my nipples to a point where I could feed Lennon from the breast with the shield.
- Nipple Shield – When I was in the hospital trying to latch Lennon onto my breast for the first time, the nurse got me a nipple shield because she noticed my inverted nipples and also how they retract. For some people, the shield is to help with pain tolerance. While this was also the case for me, it was mostly so that Lennon could latch on at all. I used the Medela Nipple Shield, and I really like the shape of them and the thinness. I think it’s designed to prevent nipple confusion, which I am really grateful for now since I no longer use it. Without this shield, I highly doubt I would be able to feed him. I would probably be exclusively pumping, which I was NOT a fan of.
- Time – As I mentioned in my Breastfeeding Journey, I took every stage of breastfeed about 6 weeks at a time. I didn’t start really feeding Lennon from the breast (with the nipple shield) until I dropped my pumped milk on the ground when Lennon was 6 weeks old. Even then there were times feeding was so painful that I would skip feeding him that meal and give him formula so my body could have that extra time to heal. It took 6 weeks more for my nipples to draw out enough so that it wasn’t so painful and I could exclusively breastfeed. When Lennon was 4 months old I stopped using the shield, and this took another 6 weeks to be pain-ish free. It’ll take a lot of time mixed with lots of pain, but if you want it bad enough and you can manage the pain, it’ll be worth it in the end (at least in my experience it’s worth it).
- Patience – Breastfeeding has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My patience has been tested, but I feel as though I’ve come out stronger than before. I almost gave up on several occasions but I am so glad I didn’t. If you’re like me, you will cry. Repeatedly. I cried over and over just in the first two days at the hospital. Then continued as I pumped. Even more when I stopped pumping, and they resumed when I stopped using the shield. It’s okay to cry. In the moment the pain felt never-ending. I always wanted to breastfeed my children. It wasn’t even a question then, so why change my mind now. I am able to produce milk, and not everyone is. I didn’t want to take that for granted. Patience with yourself, your body, and even your baby is critical in breastfeeding.
Having inverted nipples sucks. I’m sorry if you are going through this. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. But life throws curveballs every once in a while, and hopefully we can still knock them out of the park!
If you need extra help, or have any questions about my experience feel free to comment below or send me an email! There isn’t much information on the internet about how to deal with this sort of thing, so I am happy to help in any way I can.