Breastfeeding is a special moment for the bond between mother and baby, providing significant benefits for the infant’s health and development. It’s natural for mothers to seek ways to make this process more comfortable and efficient, looking for solutions that can assist them on this journey. However, it’s important to learn more about them. In this article, we will discuss the use of nipple shields.
What are nipple shields?
A nipple shield is a silicone device that can help your baby with breastfeeding difficulties. It fits over your nipple and has a base that wraps around your areola. Some shields have a cut-out area for more skin-to-skin contact. The nipple part has small holes for milk flow. Nipple shields are thin, flexible, and transparent.
You may decide to use a nipple shield for various situations:
- If you have a premature baby who has difficulty sucking or latching.
- If you have a baby with tongue-tie, tongue thrust, or retracted tongue (which can improve with time or need other treatments so consult with your healthcare provider).
- If you have inverted, short, or flat nipples.
- If you have a baby that needs additional stimulation to start sucking.
- If you have sore, cracked, or bleeding nipples due to a poor latch.
- If you have an overactive letdown (fast milk flow from the nipple).
- If you are transitioning your baby from bottle feeding to breastfeeding.
Important information to consider before deciding to use a nipple shield
Before using a nipple shield, make sure you consult with a lactation consultant. They can assess your baby’s latch and position to determine if a nipple shield is truly necessary. Sometimes, minor adjustments can resolve the need for a shield.
Nipple shields can be discouraged for three reasons:
- They can reduce milk transfer and prevent complete breast emptying.
- Infants may become dependent on them instead of breastfeeding directly.
- They can lead to decreased milk production.
Once your breastfeeding problems are resolved, you can stop using the accessory. Nipple shields should be a last resort and used temporarily.
Now that you are familiar with the recommendations regarding the use of nipple shields, don’t forget to download the Kinedu app to learn everything about breastfeeding directly from the experts!
The following article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. The recommendations provided may vary depending on your country of residence, as breastfeeding practices and guidelines can differ significantly across regions. Breastfeeding is a complex and individualized process, influenced by various factors such as maternal health, infant needs, and cultural practices Therefore, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider or doctor regarding any specific problems or solutions you may encounter during your breastfeeding journey.