A simple solution for inverted nipples

As many as one in ten women suffer from flat or inverted nipples. This condition is defined by a nipple that does not respond to a ‘pinch test’, the cold, or stimulation by becoming erect. Moms with flat or inverted nipples can potentially have a problem when wanting to breastfeed their babies.

Women can check for inverted nipples by pinching the nipple (around the areola) between an index finger and the thumb. An inverted nipple collapses into the breast, while a normal nipple will protrude.

While inverted or non-protractile nipples are a common problem, this can cause physiological distress particularly for women who wish to breastfeed. The anatomical fault lies with a short lactiferous duct, which tethers the nipple and prevents it from projecting out. The mainstay of treatment has been breast surgery, where the lactiferous ducts are sectioned out. However this may destroy the breast tissue, as well as its ability to function, and thus may prevent breastfeeding.

Non-surgical correction

The Philips AVENT Niplette is an effective and simple solution for flat or birthinverted nipples. Through gentle suction, which is controlled by the user, the Niplette pulls the nipple out into a small plastic thimble-like cup. The Niplette is a discreet, non-surgical solution that is clinically proven to help nipples stay erect after only a few weeks of daily wear. Initial use is encouraged as much as possible (day and night).

A clinical trial undertaken for the British Journal of Plastic Surgery revealed that all participants found the Niplette easy to apply and use, and all patients were able to expose their nipples from the inverted position immediately. Furthermore, four of the 22 patients studied were able to stop using the Niplette by two months and 13 patients by three months, proving its efficacy as a non-surgical correction device for inverted nipples.

While it is ideal to use the Niplette before becoming pregnant, new moms can use it for the first few days after giving birth for a few minutes before each feed to draw the nipple out before positioning baby at the breast. The Philips AVENT Niplette can also be used to permanently cure flat or inverted nipples before pregnancy or in the early stages (the first six months), if breasts are not too sore.

The Niplette is suitable for correcting inverted nipples which have developed as a result of hereditary factors or during puberty. Any nipple inversion which is not congenital but has occurred recently should be immediately checked by a doctor before the Niplette is used. Use is not recommended in the last trimester of pregnancy.

The Philips AVENT Niplette is available at Baby City at a suggested selling price of R1000.

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