How to Fix an Inverted Nipple
Correcting an inverted nipple usually depends on the grade of inversion.
Grade 1: Also called “shy nipples” because there’s little to no fibrosis (thickening of tissues) and the nipples can be easily be pulled out and maintain protrusion.
Grade 2: There is moderate fibrosis. Nipples can be pulled out, but with more difficulty, and they retract soon after.
Grade 3: There is remarkable fibrosis and nipples cannot protrude.
Below are two of the strategies in treating inverted nipples:
How to fix an inverted nipple: Use of nipple retractor or suction devices
A 10-year study pointed out that wearing a nipple retractor (in the study, they made one using the hollow-end of a syringe) for 3 to 6 months successfully corrected grades 1 and 2 nipple inversion. Moreover, the researchers noted that it avoided milk duct injury and preserve breastfeeding function.
Nowadays, there are available nipple retractors and suction devices in the market, but we need more studies to prove their effectiveness.
How to fix an inverted nipple: Surgery
Some doctors recommend surgery to correct nipple inversion, especially those under grade 3. During the operation, the goal is not just to correct the retraction, but to reduce the scarring, preserve the sensation, and maintain the functioning of the milk ducts.
What about the Hoffman technique?
Hoffman technique uses your thumbs to press the breast and manually draw the nipple out. It’s a technique of historic significance, but one report indicated that this method was not helpful in breastfeeding. Furthermore, it may disrupt the milk ducts.