Shy nipples

What if my nipples are inverted but I can bring them out with my fingers?

“Shy” nipples look flat or inverted but come out when you do a pinch test, squeezing the areola between your thumb and pointer (index) finger just behind the nipple. Mothers with shy nipples are unlikely to have problems latching the baby, but they may first have to tease the nipple out. Nipple pain and damage are more likely in mothers with shy nipples.

A) Describing shy nipples

Shy nipples look flat or inverted but come to a normal position with the pinch test. There is no cord in the nipple root holding the nipple to the tissues of the breast. This is a Grade 1 inverted nipple. It’s just shy – it can come out but doesn’t like to! There are pictures of shy nipples at the bottom of this FAQ.

B) Breastfeeding with shy nipples

If your nipples are shy, it is unlikely you will have problems latching your baby. You may need to tease the nipple out using your fingers before latching the baby.

You are more likely to experience some nipple pain and damage because the nipple isn’t used to being pulled out of its normal position. This will settle with time.

It may be useful to get the nipple used to being in the “out” position while pregnant by using one or more of the following inverted nipple treatments:

  • Nipple root stretching
  • Pumping
  • Devices that help pull the nipple out (nipple everters)