How to use a Nipple Shield

How to use a Nipple Shield

What is a nipple shield?

A nipple shield is a thin silicone device used over the nipple to temporarily help with breastfeeding. The most popularly used shield is the Medela Contact Nipple Shield.

 Medela Contact Nipple Shield

Why would a nipple shield be used?

There are a variety of reasons why a nipple shield would be used. Overall, it helps keep the breast in the baby’s mouth while they try to suck to get enough milk.
Momma’s Needs:
  • Sore or cracked nipples that need healing
  • Flat or inverted nipples
  • Engorged breasts
Baby’s Needs:
  • Latching problems
  • Premature delivery
  • Nipple confusion
  • Unable to suck well because of physical challenges

How to use a nipple shield.

Always be sure the shield is clean before using it. In fact, washing it in warm water right before a feeding may help warm it up to fit and stay on the breast better. Gently fold the shield inside out about halfway before placing it on the nipple then fold it back right side out onto the skin. This creates a tight and comfortable fit for mom. There should be a bit of a gap between the nipple and the tip of the shield.

The Medela shield has a groove cut out to allow baby’s nose to still touch the breast, this helps him/her recognize the smell and feel closer to mom. Gently rub the tip against baby’s mouth until it opens wide enough to stick the shielded nipple inside. Be sure there is a wide and deep latch, not just baby’s mouth around the tip. Once baby is latched, they should begin sucking. Many babies are demanding and want instant gratification. If they aren’t happy sucking a few times before milk is released, try using a hand to expel some milk into the shield for baby to get going.

Nipple shields are designed to be used temporarily. Babies tend to get used to them quickly and end up having a difficult time weaning from them, so it is suggested to use them only when necessary and for as short a time as possible. These simple shields help babies become more familiar and comfortable with breastfeeding and are becoming more and more popular for sore moms who need a bit of relief!  

For a more visual example of how to use a nipple shield, click here for a video showing how these shields are used. Please be advised that there is some *obviously appropriate for the context* nudity.

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1 comment

[…] unfamiliar with how to use a nipple shield, read all about them from one of my previous posts: How to Use a Nipple Shield. Basically, nipple shields are great for helping with latching issues and/or flat or inverted […]

How to Care for Sore Nipples when Breastfeeding

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