Breastfeeding and the Use of a Nipple Shield

A nipple shield is used to protect the nipples during breastfeeding and create suction to keep the baby latched on. It can also be used to help with latching issues such as flat nipples, or if the baby has had many bottles and is not comfortable with breastfeeding. Several studies have shown that nipple shields can reduce nipple pain during breastfeeding.

If using a nipple shield, it is important to rinse or soak the shield with warm water prior to use. This will make the nipple shield more supple and the film of moisture on the outside helps to create a better seal or suction when applied to the breast. It can also be helpful to rub a little nipple cream on the inside of the shield prior to applying it to your skin, to minimize friction and irritation.

Some nipple shields have a small dimple at the end, which should be placed against your nipple to help draw it deep into the nipple area once applied to your breast. If needed, the nipple shield can be gently pushed in and positioned correctly with the thumbs and fingers.

If a nipple shield is not used properly, the nipples can become cracked and painful, the milk transfer may decrease and a mother can develop blocked milk ducts or mastitis. A nipple shield should be used only for the length of time that is necessary to achieve the desired results. It is a good idea to monitor the number of wet and dirty diapers, and to do daily weight checks to ensure that baby is getting enough milk. If a problem persists, seek qualified breastfeeding support. nipple shield