Whatever your reason for using a nipple shield, the goal is always the same – To extend or give you the ability to breastfeed baby without having to introduce formula. If you’re new to the idea of using a nipple shield or struggling in some way, we’re glad you found Back to Mom. We’d like to share some simple Do’s and Don’ts:
- Work with a lactation consultant so they can show you how to properly latch baby on the shield. A poor latch on the shield can re-enforce suckling problems or poor latching problems and even make them worse.
- Monitor your baby to make sure they are getting enough milk by tracking wet and soiled diapers.
- Make sure you choose the correct size nipple shield. Nipple Shields come in different sizes and even shapes and finding what works best for you and for baby is a must so you can both be comfortable and avoid issues down the road. If you do not have flat or inverted nipples, The Natural Connection Nipple Shield could be perfect for you. It's open ended and allows your baby to access your nipple while protecting you from a painful latch.
- Learn how to correctly apply the nipple shield. It seems like you can just pop it over the nipple and be on your way but there’s actually a correct way to use it. You can find our Step-by-step guide on How To Use a Nipple Shield The Right Way.
- Change your state of mind – Not many women “plan” to use nipple shields so changing your idea of what breastfeeding is to include using a nipple shield is a must. You may end up using it for weeks or even months so decide that it’s okay to be okay with having to use a nipple shield and accept that it is part of your journey to nourish your baby.
- Find a routine that works for you. Nipple shields add an extra step or two to your breastfeeding routine with cleaning and sanitizing the shields. As well as an additional item to remember when going out so find a good routine that works for you so you don’t get stuck with a hungry screaming baby having to wait for you to clean the shield or drive home because you forgot it. (I had multiple so I only had to clean and sanitize every 3-4 feedings instead of every time.)
- Remove the shield half way through feeding and try to latch baby on the bare breast every time. If baby refuses to suck or latch, try the Back To Mom Nipple Shield Weaning Kit. .
- DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. Mom guilt is real thing and is as heavy as an elephant carrying triplets, but this is one thing you should NEVER feel guilty about. You are doing exactly what you need to make sure your baby gets every drop of that liquid gold they can.
- Don’t forget to be patient. It might take baby longer to empty your breast and get full but give them the time, which helps them and triggers your body to produce more milk. Don’t jump to “topping them off” with a bottle as it could start a cycle that leads to ending breastfeeding all together.
- Don’t get caught without a Nipple Shield. You don’t ever want to have a screaming baby for a half hour while you or your spouse runs to the store to pick up a new nipple shield. Buy a few and keep one in your diaper bag so you never get caught without it. (I used to wash mine and tuck it in my bra. It assured I always had it ready and with me – Plus it made it warm and smell like my skin.)
- Don’t be afraid to try to latch baby to your bare breast. Doing it regularly will get baby used to the idea. The Back to Mom kit can also be used to start introducing the bare breast and nipple to baby.
- When it’s time to wean from the nipple shield, DON’T cut the nipple shields. A great help with weaning is the Back To Mom Kit™ here which is a Nipple Shield Weaning Kit and a great tool to help wean baby off the nipple shield easier.