Nipple Shield

Nipple Shield

Posted on  November 13, 2022
Nipple Shield

If you are experiencing nipple pain while breastfeeding your baby, it may be time to try a nipple shield when nursing. While it is not necessary for every mother, there are times, it may call for the use of one.

What is a nipple shield?

A thin piece of silicone that is placed on the areola and nipple. You should only use a nipple shield after speaking to the midwife or pediatrician.

How does it work?

The base of the shield wraps around the areola (skin around the nipple) while the cone-shaped area covers the nipple. The nipple part of the shield has tiny holes at the tip that allow milk to flow into your baby’s mouth. The texture of the shield is thin, transparent, and flexible.

When is a nipple shield helpful?

  • For a premature baby, who may not be strong to suck or latch.

  • For a baby who has tongue-tie or retracted tongue.

  • For a breastfeeding mother with inverted, flat, or short nipples. The shield helps by making your nipple longer and harder.

  • For a breastfeeding mother with soft breasts. The shield’s silicone texture and base helps to make your breasts feel more firm.

  • For a breastfeeding mother with sore, cracked or bleeding nipples due to poor latch. The shield helps to heal your nipples.

How should a nipple shield fit?

Nipple shields come in different sizes, measured in millimeters, and completely depends on the size of your infant’s mouth. The fit is considered right when the baby is latched correctly to a nipple shield – mouth should be over the whole nipple with their lips extended around the areola. It shouldn’t be just a sucking on the tip of the nipple. Therefore, it is important to choose the right size of the nipple shield.

How to clean it?

Sterilize the nipple shield prior to its first use. Thereafter, it is advisable to wash your nipple shield with hot water and soap after each use.

How long to use it?

It is always better to speak to your midwife or pediatrician on the degree of usage. A nipple shield should be used for dew weeks or less. The longer a nipple shield is used, the harder it usually is to stop using one, therefore be mindful.

Always remember, nipple shields are used as a last resort when all other avenues for establishing breastfeeding is exhausted or don’t work. It is a temporary solution to help your little one learns to latch properly and breastfeed effectively. The shield helps stimulate the roof of your baby’s mouth which slowly encourages to improve sucking.

Begin nursing your baby with the shield in place for a few minutes and remove the shield to try latching your little one directly on to your breast. Do keep in mind, all babies are different, so while it may take some mothers to resolve the breastfeeding issue quickly, for others it may take a bit longer. And that is completely FINE!

Did you use a nipple shield to help improve your breastfeeding experience?

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