lansinoh contact nipple shields with case

How to Correctly use a Nipple Shield

At my baby shower, I received a nipple shield. Now what do I do with this and how do I use it, I was thinking? A few ladies giggled and it was put back into a bag. No seriously, can we talk about this??

This is a thin silicone device that is worn over your nipple while you breastfeed your baby. Just like your nipple it has multiple small holes to allow milk to flow into your baby’s mouth. This will help some babies latch properly.

Are you new here? I also have the following posts to help you with other breastfeeding information!

To Clip or Not to Clip? That is the questions.
Are Tongue Ties real?
Are Lip Ties real?

When to use a nipple shield?

The most common type is when a Mama has inverted nipples.  So, it can be harder for the baby to latch properly. A nipple shield will give a deeper latch. However, it is not impossible for the baby to latch on inverted nipples.

Premature babies are very weak and lack coordination. Therefore, a nipple shield can be helpful with suction and positioning that will make it easier without wearing out the new baby.

This shield will help if your baby has a tongue or a lip-tie.  These issues can make it difficult for your baby’s tongue to get off the floor of their mouth to make a tight latch for breastfeeding. The nipple shield should not be a fix for the tongue-tie, just an interim intervention before having a proper release.

A nipple shield can be hard to wean when the baby gets used to a shield. Therefore, this is not my first go-to with a baby. A Nipple shield should only be temporary and helps babies LEARN how to nurse successfully. Mama then you will not need to rely on formula or pumping around the clock to meet your breastfeeding journey goals.

What are the Cons of using a nipple shield?

Here are a few drawback to using a nipple shield:

● Milk production can decrease

● Your baby has to work harder

● It may be hard to breastfeed in public 

● Babies can become dependent

Your baby may not be able to empty your breast completely with a nipple shield. Make sure to completely drain your breast.  This will help with supply and demand. You will be at risk for plugged ducts or even mastitis. 

My friend used a nipple shield at the beginning of her journey and more than once in public she would drop the shield on the ground. Then she would have to go clean it while her baby is hungry and screaming for milk.

Do you feel your milk supply is low due to your improper latch, mastitis, clogged duct, bleeding nipples or thrush? Check out my new Ebook that you can download right away with lots of tips and tricks to help along with a lot of printables to help with daily trackers, pain trackers, breastfeeding planner and more. There is a special bonus that comes with a FREE call with me. Check out my Ebook: How to Deal with Pain while Breastfeeding.

Ebook Cover: How to deal with pain while  - How My Emotions Made Me Lose My Breastmilk Supply

How to get the best fit?

Since every Mama’s nipples are a different size, nipple shields come in different sizes to make sure you have the best fit. A lactation consultant can help you with sizing as all shields will be measured in millimeters.

There are so many different types?  Which one is best for me? 

Babies with Tongue or lip-ties

Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shield

Lansinoh Continue goal as per IEP.act Nipple shield a set of 2 with a case.

This shield has a lower profile, which helps with a shallower latch. This will help until the tongue or lip-tie is revised.

Think your child may have a tongue-tie? Grab my freebie Do You Have Pain When Breastfeeding Your Baby? Where I share signs and symptoms of both Mama and Baby where your baby might have a tongue-tie.

Sensitive Nipples

Philips Avent Nipple Protector

Two pack Philips Advent nipple shield.

Due to the shape, your baby’s nose will still be on your breast, not the silicone which can make weaning easier in the long run. Mama’s says it is easy to hold it in place due to the sides being easy to grip with your fingers.  And it comes with a case to make it easy for on the go.

Small Nipples

Purifyou Nipple Shield

This mimics the natural shape of your breast and has a long curve which makes it easier to hold when latching your baby. It comes in a 3 pack and a case for on the go.

Transitioning from Bottle to Breast

Haakaa Nipple Shield

This shield looks just like a bottle nipple with the convenience of not using formula or pumping. A wonderful transition from bottle to breast.

Latching Issues

Ameda Contact Nipple Shield

If your baby is having breast refusal this is a great option. Mamas love it because it stays in place so well.

Short Nipples

Medela Nipple Shield

If your baby is having trouble latching due to your short nipples, this is a great way to teach the baby how to latch without Mama having nipple pain.

Flat or Inverted Nipples

Haaka Two-Pack Inverted Nipple Corrector

These “nipple aspirators” use suction and gentle pressure to help draw the nipple out before feeding for easier milk flow. Put the Nipple aspirators on before you plan to feed and then remove them right before you nurse your baby. The results should last up to 2 hours. However, repeat this process each time you feed.

How to use a nipple shield while breastfeeding?

Here is how to properly apply a breast shield:

  • Moisten the edges of the nipple shield with lukewarm water to help prevent it from moving.
  • Gently turn the nipple shield inside out.
  • Smooth it onto your breast, so the tip of your nipple fits into the nipple of the shield. It should be tight against your breast with your nipple extending into the tip.
  • Squeeze some milk into the tip, or drip expressed milk onto the outside of the nipple shield to encourage your baby to latch on.
  • While nursing, you can occasionally hand express milk into your baby’s mouth to keep him nursing whenever your milk flow slows.
  • Wash the nipple shield thoroughly in hot soapy water, or in the dishwasher on a hot cycle, after each use.

How do you wean from a nipple shield?

Try the following:

  • When you use a nipple shield, always encourage your baby to latch on by themself with a wide-open mouth.
  • Offer skin-to-skin contact each day without wearing a nipple shield to give your baby a chance to latch on their own.
  • After using a nipple shield for a few weeks, try to start the feed with the shield, then quickly remove it midway through the session. If your baby can latch on their own, gradually remove the shield earlier and earlier in the feeding until you can eventually stop using it.
  • NEVER ever cut the tip of the nipple shield in an effort to wean from it, as doing so can leave sharp edges that could harm your baby.

If your baby is frustrated without using the shield and fighting you. Put the shield back on and try again later in the day. I have noticed the best time to try is when the baby is halfway through the feeding and very sleepy. They don’t always notice you took it away and have a wonderful latch.

It will be helpful to make an appointment with me as a lactation consultant.  I start with getting to know you and your baby.  Tell me about your goals, the challenges you are having and work together to make a manageable plan on how to move forward.  I know first hand how to breastfeed two very different children.  My second child had a tongue and lip-tie that was revised on day 4.  Bethany understands being overwhelmed with a new baby at home and having trouble remembering what was said in the hospital. 

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