You probably have heard about nipple shield before, but you aren’t really sure that you need one.
After all, it is only an accessory, which means that you can use it or not – it completely depends on your personal preference.
Naturally, the shield is designed for moms to deal with some breastfeeding challenges and issues.
About the Nipple Shield
This breastfeeding accessory is made of super soft, super thin, and clear silicone that can cover the mom’s nipple and rest over it.
As the name suggests, the accessory has a small hole on the tip so your baby can still suck. The accessory acts like a shield to the breast, in the event of problems and issues.
Although the nipple shield is claimed to be handy to overcome the breastfeeding issue, it doesn’t mean that you should use it at your heart desire.
When you encounter problems, it is strongly advisable that you consult professional lactation experts or consultants.
They are trained and experienced professionals who can help you identifying the core cause of your issue.
In the event that the shield is needed, they will recommend it. But if they don’t think that the shield is necessary, then they won’t recommend it.
The General Functions of the Shield
So, what is nipple shield mostly needed for?
- It helps when the baby is small, sick, or premature. Weak babies can’t suck properly and the shield will definitely help so they can learn better and more effectively.
- Moms have inverted or flat nipples. It is definitely an important issue because newborns can’t make the nipple stretch. Because the nipple can’t stretch, the baby can’t suck and they aren’t able to feed.
- The baby has lip or tongue tie, which prevents them from extending their tongue. The baby is unable to latch properly. Of course, the issue should be resolved by the doctor but in the mean time, the shield can help them to feed properly.
- It helps with excessive let down reflexes, which are the condition where the breasts are experiencing forceful milk production and flow, causing the baby to sputter, pull off, and choke. The shield slows down the flow and provides an adjustment period for the babies until they are getting used to the condition and they are able to regulate it properly.
However, the most common usage of the shield is when moms are experiencing cracked or sore nipples.
This condition can be painful and the pain will only intensify when baby is sucking on them – it can be excruciating!
With the shield, the pain can be minimized, allowing the moms to recover and heal completely. You can also try pumping and storing it in the stainless steel baby bottles to allow yourself to heal.
A Word of Advice
But then again, the shield can obstruct the breastfeeding success so it is only advisable when the lactation consultant is advising on using one.
If you are determined to use the shield, don’t use it most of the times.
It is better if you can consult the usage of the shield with the lactation consultant.
Only by doing so, you can choose – and use properly – the right nipple shield fitting to your needs.