How & When To Use A Nipple Shield?

When To Use A Nipple Shield

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As a new mother it is natural for you to take time to master breastfeeding. At times, a couple of problems may make it difficult for you to feed your baby directly. A nipple shield is a good solution for you to escape the pain of sore nipples and make it easier to feed your baby.

Temporary use of nipple shield is suggested by many medical experts for latch-on problems. There are other reasons to use nipple shield that will unfold as you read on.

What Is A Nipple Shield?

Nipple shield is a thin nipple-shaped sheath, worn over the nipples and areola of the breast during breastfeeding. It is made of soft flexible silicone, latex or rubber. The shield has holes at the end of the nipple that allows milk to pass through.

[ Read: Nipple Confusion ]

When Do You Need A Nipple Shield?

A nipple shield is usually suggested if:

  • You have sore or cracked nipples that make breastfeeding agonizing.
  • Your baby is nipple confused and is more likely to go for an artificial nipple.
  • You have small or inverted nipples that make it difficult for your baby to latch on. Nipple shield helps your baby’s breast milk suction easier and draw the nipples out.
  • You have engorged breasts.
  • Your baby is prematurely born and needs to work on the skills of latching.
  • Your baby has some physical disorder that does not allow sucking milk with the mouth directly from the nipples.

[ Read: Engorged Breasts ]

How To Use A Nipple Shield?

Here is how you can use a nipple shield:

  • Sterilize and wash the nipple shield thoroughly before applying on the nipples during breastfeeding.
  • Rinse the shield gently with warm water. This will soften the nipple shield and make it easier to apply on the nipples.
  • After rinsing the shield, turn it inside out half way through and then place on the nipple.
  • After adjusting the shield on the nipples, place the back of the shield on the areola with the tip drawn out. It should be placed in a way that the nipple should be inside the tip of the nipple shield.
  • You can also moist it with breast milk to help it seal better into position.
  • Hand-expressing a little amount of breast milk into the shield tip will help your baby get started.
  • Gently stroke the lips of your baby with the nipple shield and wait for your baby to open the mouth as wide as possible. Do not latch your baby just to the tip of the shield, but the brim of the areola.
  • Make sure to see your baby’s mouth moving; you should also be able to hear sucking noises.
  • If the nipple shield is torn or ripped, do not use it.
  • Make sure to renew the nipple shield in a month’s time. It may look new but there can be small cracks hosting bacteria in it.
  • Discontinue using as soon as you and your baby are comfortable feeding directly from the nipple.

[ Read: How To Latch Baby On Breast ]


  • There are a couple of studies to indicate that nipple shield decreases milk supply and milk intake of the baby.
  • Thin silicone nipple shields are better to use than latex or rubber ones.
  • You should bear with the fact that nipple shields are meant for temporary use only.

[ Read: How Much Milk To Feed A Newborn Baby ]

  • Nipple shield also decreases the flow of milk, which makes feeding time longer. This may tire both you and your baby as well.
  • Keep them handy for problems during breastfeeding but do not make it a regular habit unless
    suggested otherwise by medical experts (in case of permanent disorder in mother or child).

In case you have used one to breastfeed your child, do share your experience here to help other moms.

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