Using Nipple Shields For Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a natural process, but many women have difficulties with it, especially during the first few months after childbirth. This is more likely to happen with the first-time mom.
Having difficulty with breastfeeding is common, so you don’t need to worry about it. These days there are different supports can help you nurse your little ones effectively, and a breastfeeding nipple shield is one of them.
Using a nipple shield during breastfeeding is quite effective. New moms and lactation consultants are using this product throughout the world.
What Is A Nipple Shield?
A breastfeeding nipple shield is a soft and flexible nipple-shaped protector that is made of silicone. There is a hole on the tip of each shield which allows the continuous flow of milk and makes feeding your child easy.
You place it over your nipple and breast during breastfeeding and lets your baby latch easily.
Nipple shields have been designed to stay in the place during the feeding process. The design keeps mom comfortable even if worn for longer periods because of its soft texture.
Why Use A Nipple Shield For Breastfeeding?
Using a nipple shield during breastfeeding has proven to be beneficial in helping your little one during feeding.
It is specially made for moms with lactation problems. If your child is having trouble latching, then a nipple shield can be a good solution.
And as always, consult your lactation professional first before starting the use of a nipple shield.
Benefits of a Nipple Shield:
The following are some benefits of using breastfeeding nipple shields:
1. Breastfeeding a Premature Baby
Premature babies are quite weak. So creating the suction for breastfeeding or position them properly for feeding can be difficult. Using a nipple shield for breastfeeding will help those little kiddos while feeding. The shield holds the nipple in such a position that your baby can feed easily. It also allows your baby to take a stop to breathe in the same position.
According to the research, premature babies consume more milk if fed through a breastfeeding nipple shield. You can stop wearing the nipple shield after your baby becomes strong enough to feed by himself effectively.
2. Moms with Flat or Inverted Nipples
Your baby will find it difficult to breastfeed if you have flat or inverted nipples. Using a nipple shield during breastfeeding will help you here too.
The nipple shield is designed with an extended shape and provides a large surface area that makes it easy to latch onto your breast. The shield draws your nipple out and makes feeding easier for your baby.
3. Poor Latch
Not every breastfeeding woman will need to use a nipple shield, but it can help the women who have problems getting your baby to latch.
A poor latch can be because of various many reasons:
- It can be because of your flat or inverted nipples.
- Tongue-tied or the prematurity of your baby can also cause poor latch.
- Some babies also refuse to breastfeed because of a reason that is still unclear.
Mothers can also use a nipple shield if they have cracked nipples or sore breasts. It will help to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
Disadvantages of Using Nipple Shields
Besides the great benefits that using nipple shields during breastfeeding offers, there are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of:
- Your baby might get a less supply of breast milk if you place the nipple shield incorrectly over your breast.
- Using a nipple shield increases the risk of plugged ducts and mastitis in moms.
- Many moms find it difficult to wean the child off of the shield.
Precautions When Using Nipple Shields
There are some precautions when using a nipple shield as well. By following these precautions, you will reduce the chances of any compilation of using a nipple shield.
- Pay attention to whether your baby is getting enough milk supply when you are using a nipple shield. To ensure that your baby is getting enough milk, you need to count his wet diapers daily. Having at least 6 wet diapers a day means things are going well.
- Another important thing is the sound of swallowing. You should listen for frequent swallowing during the feeding.
What Do You Do If You Think You Need To Use A Nipple Shield?
When you think you need to use a nipple shield during breastfeeding, then there is a need to learn how to use it correctly. Nipple shields look so simple but you need to know the tricks to use them correctly. You can get guidance from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding proficient.
You should ask your doctor or hospital to help you to find the best lactation consultant in your area. A lactation consultant can guide you in the best way. He can help you in the following ways:
- She can select the right sized shield for you that will fit your best.
- She will help to ensure that your baby is latching on and feeding properly.
- She will give you advice on how long you should use nipple shields.
- She will also offer various other tips on how to wean your baby off should it be the right time.
How to Use a Nipple Shield:
Experts suggest talking with a certified lactation consultant before using a nipple shield. The lactation consultant can provide different options and tips. Using a different nursing position can also help.
If you need to use the nipple shield, the lactation consultant will help to guide how to place it correctly. Placing the nipple shield correctly is important to avoid further compilations.
Before feeding your baby with a nipple shield, you first need to fit it in place. If you are facing difficulty fitting it in place, use warm water. Apply warm water to the inner sides of the shield and then stick it in the place.
If you feel the nipple shield is slipping off when your baby latches, you need to clean the nipple shield. You can clean the nipple shield with dish soap and water and simply rinse thoroughly.
Above all, experts also say that a nipple shield should only be temporarily and under the supervision of lactation consultants. A certified lactation consultant can guide you on how long you should use the nipple shield. You should stop using it once the problem that causes you to use nipple shields has been solved.
How Do You Know If You Are Using The Nipple Shield Correctly?
Making sure that you are using the nipple shield correctly is very important. If you used it incorrectly, you can damage your skin. It can also reduce enough supply of milk. Therefore, make sure that you are using it accurately.
There are some signs to know whether you are using the shield correctly or not.
- You can see milk in the nipple shield.
- You can listen to your baby sucking and swallowing.
- Your little one is satisfied after feeding.
- Your baby is gaining weight according to his age.
- Your baby is having the expected wet diaper and stools.
The use of a nipple shield during breastfeeding is completely safe. If you think that you need to use a nipple shield during breastfeeding, you only have to consult your lactation consultant before starting to use it.