How To Fix Flat Nipples

When my first baby was born, it was a stressful time. I had no idea that I had flat nipples. If I had known earlier on I could have figured out how to fix flat nipples, and we could have had a successful breastfeeding experience, but that’s not how it happened!  I could not get my son to latch. After a consultation with a lactation consultant, I was told I had flat nipples and was given a shield to use. I didn’t realize this shield would lead to the demise of my breastfeeding endeavor. I got mastitis twice! Every breastfeeding session would lead to tears. My son lost so much weight. We eventually had to supplement with a bottle of breastmilk I was pumping, a formula, or combination. He stopped taking the breast altogether at four months. I pumped what I could until my supply ran out. (see picking a breast pump)

When I was expecting my second child, I extensively researched ways to avoid breastfeeding failure. I had to find out how to fix flat nipples!

Supple Cups are like two little plastic thimbles you place over your nipples, squeeze the air out, and they draw the nipple out.  This helps gently stretch flat or inverted nipples. Over time, this breaks the adhesions that cause flat/inverted nipples in the first place. The is a permanent fix. Basically, you wear them for different lengths of time, depending on if you are pregnant or not, and how far along you are. Baby gets a deeper latch and has fewer problems latching on. (nipple stimulation can cause contractions so talk to the doc first.)

 

How To Use Supple Cups For Inverted Nipples

Instructions: Use a liberal amount of nipple gel or lanolin on the nipple before applying the Supple Cups for a better seal and rub some of the gel inside the cup. Center the Supple Cup over the nipple and gently squeeze the tip; this will create a gentle vacuum, pulling the nipple into the cup. After it is in place, give a gentle tug to make certain the device has a good seal. If pain is experienced, remove and do not squeeze as much from the tip to allow for lower suction. We recommend the Soft Shells for inverted nipples or for sore nipples to be worn over the device.

Helpful Hints: Many bras will cause the device to immediately come off. We recommend the Shells to everyone using the Supple Cups. Place the Shell over the Supple Cup inside your bra and set a timer. Do not wear it over one or two hours on the first day. If you do not have any pain or discomfort, you may advance your time each day. By the end of the week, most people will be able to wear it for eight hours. Do not wear it over eight hours. The Shells for inverted nipples can also be worn opposite of the time the Supples are being worn to speed up treatment time. Using shells for sore and inverted nipples can help prevent a tight bra from flattening out the nipples. It may take up to three weeks before your nipple will fill up the Supple. Do not use excessive suction to speed up this process. Nipple trauma could result and may delay treatment time.

If you are pregnant: Please make sure your OB knows you are using this during pregnancy. Stop use immediately if you notice uterine contractions related to wearing it. In the last trimester, its use may not be recommended. Leaking milk may cause it to dislodge easily, and nipple stimulation can cause contractions in the third trimester. It is best to use before becoming pregnant or early on in the pregnancy. Use with caution after 20 weeks gestation.

Postpartum use: This can be used to facilitate breastfeeding after the baby is born. Take it to the hospital and have readily available before delivery. Place it on your nipples with the OB’s approval before giving birth. It can also be used in the early days of breastfeeding after the baby is born, but once a copious milk supply has come in, the device will not stay on. For flat nipples, edema, and engorgement, Supple Cups can be worn for 5-10 minutes before latching baby. Supple Cups enlarge flat nipples and enable the baby to latch. They reduce edema and engorgement when a normal nipple becomes flattened.

Internal dimensions of Supple Cups:
SizeDiameter in mmInchesWorking length in mmInches
#111 mm7/1615.5 mm5/8
#212.5 mm1/221 mm13/16
#314.5 mm9/1621.5 mm13/16
#416.5 mm5/819.5 mm3/4

 

Cleaning: Place a few drops of coconut oil in the Supple Cups and roll between fingers a few times, then place a drop of liquid soap and a little water to remove the oil. They can also be washed in hot soapy water and air-dried or placed in boiling water to sterilize.

Warning:
* Stop using immediately for any nipple pain, trauma, sore or blister and contact your healthcare provider.
* If you experience any tri-phasic color changes of your nipple, contact your healthcare provider. Color changes of blue, purple, black, deep red or white nipples should be reported.
* Keep out of reach of children and pets; this is a small part and can be a choking hazard.
* Supples should not be worn on open sores, cuts, or where a rash exists.
* Supples should not be placed in the mouth.

Disclaimers: 
* Nipple stimulation can cause uterine contractions and possibly bring on early labor, though extremely rare.
* If you are unsure about the status of your pregnancy, please consult with your doctor before using Supple Cups with your pregnancy.
* Supple cups should only be used during normal, low risk, healthy pregnancies.
* Supple cups should be worn according to directions and worn at your own risk, as we are not responsible for misuse of Supple Cups during pregnancy.
* In a normal low-risk pregnancy supple cups could be worn for 4 hours a day with no problems. Please check with your OBGYN, or lactation consultant.

 

My Experience: How To Fix Flat Nipples:

I started wearing mine at about 22 weeks pregnant. They are not supposed to hurt, but they did for me. You coat the inside with lanolin, and your nipple should have a generous coat of lanolin as well. I did this as instructed. I developed blisters. I researched and could not find any reviews stating that this would happen. I guess that I wore them too long for a beginner. This set me back. After the blisters heal, I started back again–slower this time. Boom–success!

I eventually was able to wear them on a daily basis for weeks at a time, including several hours at night! This time there was no pain or blistering.  They do make a noticeable difference in my flat nipple problem. Immediately after I removed them, my nipples are much more prominent. They did retract over time, but they didn’t disappear altogether like they used to.

Things were truly different this time around for me when I breastfeed my newest. She actually had something to latch on to. I felt compelled to share this because there is very little information out there for women like me. I feel like even the most educated of us take the shield and go for it, some with great success, others (like me) lose the breastfeeding battle.

There is also something called a Niplette that I will cover in a separate post, at a later date.

Have you tried supple cups? I’d like to know your thoughts.

 

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