Nipple shields are a great tool that get a bad rep sometimes. Ultimately, they are a lifesaver for many moms who would otherwise not be able to continue their breastfeeding journey. Nipple shields are a clear silicone device that goes over your nipple on your breast and provides a nipple for baby to latch onto. It also acts as a barrier between your baby’s mouth and your nipple. Whatever the reason a nipple shield is needed, we always recommend consulting a lactation consultant before using it if possible. It’s also important to know that there is no shame in needing a nipple shield. It does not mean you failed; it does not mean there is something wrong with you. It means you are smart and dedicated to your baby and their need for nourishment... no matter the way.
You have flat nipples. If you have flat or inverted nipples, it may be very difficult or impossible for your baby to latch and get breast milk. Using a nipple shield can give your baby something to latch onto. It will help pull your nipple into the shield which over time can help bring your nipples out so that baby can eventually latch to your bare breast.
You have large breasts and nipples and your baby is too small to latch on. Whether you are large or your baby is just small (i.e. a preemie) nipple shields can help bring you and baby together. Because nipple shields come in different sizes you can even choose a small size if your baby's mouth is really small.
Your nipples are so sore that your toes curl every time baby latches. If you are in crazy amounts of pain every time you feed your baby it might be time to consider a nipple shield. Nipple shields might be the perfect way to give your nipples a break from the pain and allow you to continue to breast feed your baby. Make sure you consult a lactation specialist so they can help remedy the original problem that was causing pain so when you wean baby off the nipple shield the pain won’t reoccur.
You have blisters on your nipples. This again comes back to your baby maybe having issues with latching. Fist things first, get an appointment set up to have baby’s latch analyzed by a professional. If your anything like some moms your baby might have a great latch and IBCLC’s say all looks good but you are still in huge amounts of pain with every feed, nipple shields might be the answer. Even if you only use it every other feeding just to give your nipple a break. If you are determined to keep your breastfeeding journey going then nipple shields might just be your saving grace.
If you decide to go ahead and start using a nipple shield it’s important to make sure you use the nipple shield the right way.
Here are some great tips to help you with using a nipple shield too.
No matter the reason you start using a nipple shield you’ll likely eventually want to wean from them. Weaning baby off nipple shields can be frustrating and take time but this nipple shield weaning kit can be a huge help.