Little Sunday story time by a mama who wants to remain anonymous

You’re searching the internet for information as you’ve discovered your inverted nipple as an adult or you’ve known your unique type and new want to breastfeed your infant. Either way you will search the internet until all weblinks have turned purple because you’ve been there. The links will take you to pages that help you identify your inverted nipple and others will generalize and over normalize the challenges with breastfeeding with inverted nipples. I was never successful finding helpful information online. I am not a nurse or a lactation specialist so don’t start with the medical critique. I am a determined mama that found a way and want to share to that desperate mama out there.
The fact is you may like your nipples that have been permanently inverted since birth but there will be an issue with breastfeeding to overcome. This information is for those worried they may not be able to nurse without a shield. I have the most severe type of inverted nipples. To clarify, since birth my milk glands have always been short thus pulling both nipple tips inward. They are not flat. I’m very knowledgeable about my anatomy so do not doubt my claims.
As an 18 year old, I visited a plastic surgeon to have my inverted nipples “corrected.” After the surgeon told me he would simply cut my milk gland and it would be “fixed.” The caveat to this procedure would be that I wouldn’t have the option to breastfeed. I decided not to limit my future self and found peace with my anatomy at that time.
I had my first child with a desire to breastfeed. The information online says breastfeeding is not nipple feeding and that is accurate however the problem with not having a pointed nipple is the baby’s roof of mouth will not be stimulated to suck. If the baby is strong enough to suck hard enough you may have better luck. This is the biggest challenge to overcome. They say to wear a nipple shield to create a nipple so that’s what I did. I purchased all the sizes and followed all the tips and tricks. Some people are very successful using a shield and that’s great. I believe these people are likely to not have the most severe nipple inversion like me. I was not successful. I found that I needed three hands. One for my breast, baby and the shield. I’m not certain how women without an over supply are successful. I’m also not sure how their babies are not riddled with horrible gas. My first baby refused to breastfeed in the most profound way and as a first time overwhelmed mom, I caved.  
After many months of the endless washing of bottles, I promised myself I would try much harder if there were future children. My future child arrived 2 years later. During my pregnancy, I armed myself with every YouTube clip on everything to do with breastfeeding. Sadly, everything I watched or read was not specific to my struggle. I decided to be my own pioneer and make this work. Once they put my little angel on my chest, I inhaled all the preciousness and the determination set fire. Originally I did not want a lactation consultant because my experience with a lactation consultant for the first baby was so awful. This time was going to be different and if she wasn’t helpful I had the courage and impatience to kick her out. Thankfully she was very kind and helpful. She acknowledged my uphill battle which was very appreciated. She then showed me how to punch behind my nipple forcing it to stay outward. My baby latched with the widest mouth using this tip and even occasionally sucked. The pinching hurt badly but my happiness was much more overwhelming. She told me to continue doing this and spoon/bottle feed. Once we returned home from the hospital, I thought the nursing was picking up and going great for a four day old so I was not pumping or supplementing. He looked and sounded like he was breastfeeding to me being inexperienced. At almost two weeks old I went to a lactation consultant at the hospital and learned he had lost significant amount of weight. He was sucking using the pinching technique not suckling. The suckling reflex is triggered by touching the roof of baby’s mouth. My “nipple” didn’t reach so there was no transfer of milk. The lack of strength in the suck probably also played a part. I also learned that bad feeds lead to bad feeds and that was exactly the situation we were spiraling into. My baby appeared satisfied but he was exhausted. I still have serious mom guilt about not recognizing the need for more dirty diapers.
Again, this information is from someone with severe inversion. After many fears, tears and prayers something clicked at 4.5 weeks old. From 2 weeks to 4.5 weeks old, I pump every 2-3 hours after attempting to nurse him then feed him a bottle. I did all this while keeping up with my toddler. I’m not a Pinterest craft mom so she watched a lot of TV and loved it. Eventually our little pretend nursing sessions became me as the pacifier but I also think this is what helped. My nipple started to protrude, swell and most importantly stick out doing this and pumping. I would cry every pacifier session we were having thinking that was going to be the very last time because it was getting too hard to do breast, bottle then pump. The pumping was a bit painful being on a high setting to try and pull them out more. I had scheduled a lactation appointment that week fully expecting the same outcome. My little guy transferred over 3 ounces! I cried and thanked God for his faithfulness. We’ve had our challenges still with oversupply and blood blisters but nothing we cannot handle. My nipples turn in while I’m wearing a bra but “come out” or swell during nursing sessions. My newborn did not have the strength being a full term baby. We are three months old and have been exclusively breastfeeding since.
While I appreciate the over normalization of breastfeeding with inverted nipples it is not helpful to some that need additional help. We get “it’s breastfeeding not nipple feeding” however the facts remain that stimulation is required.