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Thread: Inverted nipples and corrective surgery

  1. #1

    Default Inverted nipples and corrective surgery

    Hi all,

    When I was 18 years old I got surgery to correct inverted nipples. They were considered Grade 3 since they never came out. I've had them since I can remember. So when I turned 18, I decided to get the surgery done without anyone knowing, not even my parents. I just wanted to "look" normal. Having children and breastfeeding were far from my mind at that time. Well now I have two daughters, ages 1 & 3 and I have a baby boy due at the end of May.

    I just recently told my Husband about this surgery because I was really embarrassed to talk about it. I also never told my previous midwife about it because I felt ashamed. But this time around I have a new midwife who is also a lactation consultant (thankfully) and she has high hopes for successful nursing this time around. But as I am doing more research on the corrective surgery for inverted nipples, I am having my doubts. They pretty much cut the milk ducts to make the nipple come out. I've only "leaked" out of my left side and nothing ever came out of my right. I am at least hoping I can nurse on one side successfully. I just really want this to work out.

    I am hoping someone where has any experience with this and success stories. I just need some encouragement or hope. If I cannot breastfeed, I am hoping we can find a consistent donor to help us.

    Thanks for reading! Hope to hear from you soon.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Inverted nipples and corrective surgery

    Hi Angela. I am so glad you have been able to talk to your husband and your midwife about your surgery, and that you are seeking more information. Was the issue with your older children low production, or pain when nursing/inability to latch? Or both?

    I hope you find some success stories here. Have you searched on this site? I am sure we have many New Beginnings mother’s stories about dealing with low production for many reasons, you never know who will have the idea that helps you. I also strongly suggest these books:

    Defining your own success, Breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery (I know this is not the surgery you had but this book has helped many moms with any surgeries that potentially lower milk production)

    Making More Milk

    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition-2010)

    All of these books are written directly for mothers and are inexpensive. Your local library should be able to order any of them for you as well if they don’t have them already.

    Do you have access to your own surgical records? That may help.

    Sometimes how much milk a mother can make is outside her control. But many of the issues with milk production that mothers experience these days have to do with things that are more within your control-birth choices, early feeding choices, understanding what is normal behavior and weight gain for a healthy baby in the early days and weeks, and what is normal in terms of milk production in the early days and weeks-being well informed helps to avoid unnecessary supplementation and, when it is needed, finding ways to supplement that have less impact on breastfeeding/milk production. And of course knowing how to optimize whatever production potential a mother has can be very helpful. Even if you cannot make ENOUGH milk (and I have no idea if you can or cannot) ANY breast milk is beneficial to your baby. Also many mothers have found using an at the breast supplementer (SNS or LactAid are two products, some moms make their own) works for them when they are not able to produce enough milk for their baby.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Inverted nipples and corrective surgery

    Great advice from LLLMeg. I'd just adds couple of more websites. This one is about breastfeeding after breast and nipple surgeries: http://bfar.org/index.shtml And this one is a gallery of pictures of moms: http://theshapeofamother.com/ I love it because it shows women in all their un-airbrushed reality- stretch marks, sags, lopsidedness- and also beauty. If you ever looked at yourself and felt like you weren't normal- well, the pictures are a good reminder that normal isn't the same as "perfect."
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: Inverted nipples and corrective surgery

    Thank you ladies for the responses!

    Basically my experiences with my daughters were terrible. Since I didn't want anyone to know about the surgery, I never searched for help. I gave up pretty early on. Which in return, made me feel even worse.

    With my oldest daughter, I leaked on one side (my left side) but the right never ever saw any kind of leakage. I even tried pumping to increase production. I felt engorged with both daughters. I had lots of issues with latching. My boobs got pretty big and on one side my nipple would flatten out (the side that doesnt leak) and so both girls favored the left side. I got cracked, bleeding nipples which was the last straw for me. So honestly, I don't really know for sure if I can EBF. This time around I want to stay determined and not give up. Now that everyone knows about the surgery, I feel like I have a lot of support.

    I've always been chatting with a local mama who is willing to donate her BM to me so I can build up a stash before my son arrives. It took some convincing for my husband to be on board with this but he understands the importance of breast milk and how I don't want to do formula again.

    I will check out the websites and books that you both mentioned. I really appreciate your responses. It means a lot! xoxo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Inverted nipples and corrective surgery

    How long did you manage to nurse your first 2 babies? I'm wondering if your issue was more of a supply problem or more of a latch/pain/cracking problem...? The reason I ask is that latch, pain, and cracking are usually fixable. Supply issues related to surgery can be more intractable.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Inverted nipples and corrective surgery

    What you describe with your older children could be the same story-exactly-as many women with no milk production issues. painful latch and nipple injury are common, not leaking is normal, many mothers do not produce well when pumping and then of course there are the variables-type of pump, how often mom pumps, is the pump the right fit for that mom, is the output expectation reasonable etc. And many moms do not seek help for many reasons. Calling a lactation consultant when I was struggling in the early days with my oldest was one of the hardest things I have ever, ever done. So you are not alone in this at all!

    Your midwife is an IBCLC-board certified? I suggest you talk with her now about after birth care if you need it, If you have any local LLL or other breastfeeding support near you check that out as well.

    Fantastic you have donated milk to use if needed. But be careful to avoid letting that milk cause the same 'trap' of uneeded supplementing that having formula on hand sometimes can. With better information, help and support this time I am very hopeful you will be able to nurse your baby.

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