Breastfeeding with inverted nipples.
I am currently pregnant with my second child, and have been remembering the breastfeeding trials I had with my first son. I have one inverted nipple. My son was a champion and had no problems latching and eating from that side. For me though, it was absolute misery. He pulled the nipple out after feeding for just a few days. I was initially delighted. I quickly found out just how painful that is. All the tender skin that had never seen the light of day was being vigorously sucked. I literally had a huge open sore that wouldn't heal where the pulled out skin was. After giving it a week, I was a wreck- shaking uncontrollably each time I had to feed that side. Even though I used the nipple shield it was just to painful. I talked to a LC, who told me to give it another week, and then pumping might be my only option.
I followed her advice and eventually ended up pumping on that side full-time. I knew I would do just about anything to keep breastfeeding my son. Even though I was pumping, the nipple never really healed. And even though it pulled out, the adhesions never broke and over time it would go back it. Because I basically had an open sore on one side, I was REALLY susceptible to mastitis. Now matter how careful I was I would get it. Eventually I had to give up breastfeeding (after 6 months). After getting it four times, I just couldn't go on.
Wheh-- that was a long story! Even though I had some trials, I really enjoyed breastfeeding (besides the mind-numbing pain) and would like to try again. I plan on discussing all this with a LC too-- but I really wanted to see if anyone out there had a similar story or some sage advice :) :)
Re: Breastfeeding with inverted nipples.
Welcome to the forum, mama, and congratulations on upcoming baby #2. I'm sorry that inverted nip gave you such a hard time with your first baby. I'm impressed that you made it to 6 months! Mastitis is awful. It's like being hit by a truck, only you can't just lay down and die. You have to go care for a baby!
I think you should have hope that your next breastfeeding experience will be completely different from your first. Each baby is different, and you never know what's going to happen. This time things could go perfectly right from the get-go! I am thinking that maybe a breast shell worn on the inverted side might help you, and you can start wearing it now. Give the shells time to work on the adhesions...
I -am surprised that you continued to have an open wound even after you switched to pumping the inverted side. Makes me wonder if there wasn't something going on in addition to the inverted nip- a persistent bacterial infection that was never treated with the correct antibiotic (this happened to a friend of mine- she had mastitis 6 times before the docs finally cultured her milk and put her on the right antibiotic), or perhaps an incorrectly sized breast shield.
Now, if you run into the same problem with your next baby, and you feel like you cannot use that inverted nip, you could always just feed on one breast. Most moms are capable of feeding on one breast alone- think of moms of twins, with just 1 breast per baby. And if that doesn't work, you could always nurse on the good side and use formula to make up any shortfalls. Breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing!