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Nip the Pain in the Bud: A Beginner's Guide to Nipple Shields



Nipple shields are a tool that can be useful for breastfeeding mothers who may be experiencing difficulties with their breastfeeding journey. These shields are generally made of silicone and are worn over the nipple during breastfeeding to help protect and ease any pain or discomfort.


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to put on a nipple shield:

  1. Choose the right size. Nipple shields come in different sizes, so it's important to choose the one that fits best. You can measure your nipple size to determine the correct size for you.

  2. Clean the nipple shield. Before use, clean the nipple shield with warm soapy water and rinse it thoroughly.

  3. Prepare your breast. Gently massage your breast and nipple to stimulate letdown and prepare for breastfeeding.

  4. Position the nipple shield. Hold the nipple shield in place over your nipple, making sure the shield is centered and flat against your breast. Gently press the edges of the shield against your skin to create a seal.

  5. Latch your baby. Bring your baby to your breast and encourage them to latch onto the nipple shield. Make sure your baby's mouth covers the entire nipple shield and is positioned correctly for a good latch.

  6. Monitor the feeding. Keep an eye on your baby's feeding to make sure they are getting enough milk and are latching properly. It's important to continue to monitor your baby's weight gain and feeding habits while using a nipple shield.

Now that we've covered how to use a nipple shield, let's discuss when they can be useful. Here are a few situations where a nipple shield may be helpful:

  1. Flat or inverted nipples. If you have flat or inverted nipples, a nipple shield can help your baby latch onto your breast more easily.

  2. Sore or cracked nipples. Nipple shields can help protect sore or cracked nipples and reduce pain during breastfeeding. If your nipples are cracked or sore, read here for a great way to promote healing.

  3. Premature babies. Premature babies may have difficulty latching onto the breast, and a nipple shield can help them to feed more effectively.


It's important to note that nipple shields should be used under the guidance of a lactation consultant (IBCLC). They are not a long-term solution and can interfere with milk production if used incorrectly. Additionally, some babies may not take to a nipple shield, so it's important to have other breastfeeding techniques in your toolkit.


Nipple shields can be a helpful tool for breastfeeding mothers who may be experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding. With proper use and guidance from a lactation consultant, they can help protect and ease any pain or discomfort while breastfeeding.

 

About the author: Kellie Green is a certified and licensed Speech Pathologist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), who specializes in infant feeding. She operates a private practice in Columbus, OH, Green Living & Wellness.

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