Breastfeeding is an important activity which every mom has to perform after the birth of her baby. It is important for an infact to have breast milk as it contains some crucial nutrients which cannot reach the baby by other means. Breastfeeding can be painful for some mothers and to avoid this pain, there are many equipments and products available in the market.  One of these products is a nipple shield. Let’s find some more useful information about nipple shields:

Nipple Shields

What is a Nipple Shield?

A nipple shield is a nipple shaped sheath that is supposed to be worn over the nipple and the areola during the time of breast feeding.  Many modern day nipple shields are made by using a thin, soft and very flexible silicone.  These nipple shields have some holes at the end part of the section of the nipple. These holes allow the breast milk to pass through and reach the baby’s mouth.  In older times, nipple shields were made of a relatively harder material such as latex or thicker plastics.

When are Nipple Shields Used?

  • Nipple shields are used by those mothers who have either invested nipples or nipples of small size.  These types of nipples make it difficult for the baby to latch and hence nipple shields prove useful.  What the nipple shield does is that it allows easy feeding.
  • Often it is seen that babies who are small in size or are weak may find it difficult to latch on the breast and hence in these cases too, nipple shields may prove useful because nipple shields make latching easy.
  • In the case where babies are used to having milk from milk bottles, they may need the help of nipple shields to suck milk from the breast of the mother. Nipple shields seem like bottle teats to the babies and hence make it convenient for them to have the milk.
  • Nipple shields are also used in those cases when the nipples of the mothers become sore due to breastfeeding.  In these cases, the shield makes it possible for the mother to continue with breastfeeding even with cracked nipples.  These shields can improve the latching technique and make nipples heal quickly.
  • Another main use of nipple shield is for those who wish to know the quantity of milk consumed by the baby.

Disadvantages of Using Nipple Shields:

Apart from its many benefits, using nipple shields can be disadvantageous as well. The following are some of the negatives associated with nipple shields:

  • If the shield is not used properly or is used incorrectly, then the baby may get lesser quantity of milk.
  • By using nipple shields, the breastfeeding mother may be at a higher risk of plugged mastitis and ducts.
  • Another disadvantage of using nipple shields is that it may make weaning a little difficult.

Choose the Correct Type of a Nipple Shield

You must buy only those nipple shields which are made using thin silicon not a hard plastic or latex type of a material.