Many breastfeeding women experience challenges with latching on to their nipples. In these cases, nipple protectors are useful tools to help a baby learn how to latch and breastfeed. In addition, they may be helpful when nipples are sore or painful due to injury, oversupply, prematurity, or transitioning infants from bottles to the breast.
Nipple shields are flexible, soft silicone covers that protect a nursing mother’s nipple and areola during breastfeeding. They are shaped like an extended nipple and provide baby with a larger surface area to latch on to. They also stimulate the roof of the infant’s mouth, encouraging improved suckling. Using nipple shields can help reduce nipple pain and discomfort caused by an improper or shallow latch, as well as prevent mastitis and blocked milk ducts.
When to Consider Using Nipple Shields
Nipple protectors are usually recommended when a newborn struggles to latch, especially within the first few weeks after birth. This can lead to low weight gain and poor latching, which can be difficult to address without a breastfeeding aid.
Studies have shown that nipple shields can help new mothers who struggle with breastfeeding by providing an effective way to help the infant latch and breastfeed successfully (4). Health professionals often recommend nipple shields for a variety of indications, including helping 35 week premature infants latch and nurse, helping with flat or inverted nipples, and as a method to help babies make the transition from bottle to breast. nipple protectors