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what is a nipple shield? how to use A nipple shield For Breastfeeding

nipple shield
A nipple shield helps us to overcome difficulties related to breastfeeding. Let's discover together their advantages and types. Read more!

Nipple Shields: Ally in the Adventure of Breastfeeding

A silicone nipple shield is an imitation of the nipple. Its main advantage is that it allows our babies to have the nutrients of mother’s milk in contact with us when for some reason, we cannot provide it directly. In this way, we avoid its extraction and the use of bottles.

Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

When Should a Nipple Shield Be Used?

A doctor should recommend a nipple shield. Mothers often use them as a fine training method for our baby to latch on the nipple correctly. This, of course, helps us experience the closeness and love that breastfeeding implies. It really is an alternative. It helped me considerably.

When I had my beautiful first child, I was inexperienced as a new mother. My baby had some trouble latching on to the nipple, which caused me much uncertainty. Thanks to the nipple shield, my baby and I came through with flying colors and enjoyed the unique experience of breastfeeding.

It is also advisable to use the nipple shield when the baby is premature. It is indicated when the woman has flat or inverted nipples, making breastfeeding difficult, sometimes impossible.

When we experience pain in our nipples, nipple shields contribute to improving the skin and ensuring that our clothes do not hurt us. They can also be used when babies have become accustomed to the bottle and we wish to breastfeed. Given the resemblance of the bottle nipple and the nipple shield, the baby will find similarities between them, as their texture is similar since both are made of silicone.

We Can Stop Using a Nipple Shield When We Decide to Do So 

As mothers, we must keep in mind that the nipple shield does not have to be used during the breastfeeding period. This means that we can remove it little by little and replace it with our nipple. That’s how I did it.

The shield became my ally since I can breastfeed my son. In the first months, I counted on its help, and then little by little, I removed it and managed to get my baby to take my nipple. I cannot describe in words the emotion I felt that day. My gratitude to the people who design these breast shields is enormous. So there is a beginning and an end to their use. These shields make it easier for us as mothers to live that experience of feeding our children with breast milk.

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

Characteristics of a Nipple Shield

The first characteristic is that it has the shape of a nipple, it is made of silicone, and it is transparent. The silicone backing is soft; it offers us comfort and the certainty that it will not mistreat our skin. All models have ventilation holes that facilitate perspiration and recovery of the breast skin when it is injured. It has the property of not being noticeable on clothes.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Nipple Shield and Baby Nutrition

One of the concerns that overwhelmed me when I started using nipple shields was whether my son would receive the milk necessary for his nutrition. When using a nipple shield, the baby isn’t in direct contact the nipples and therefore doesn’t suck them accordingly. This may cause insufficient milk to come out for the baby, and we must be alert about this.

Always be attentive to your baby’s health and nutrition. For example, I always kept a close eye on the number of diapers used daily. A certain amount of milk ingested by the baby corresponded to many dirty diapers. Hand in hand with my doctor, I made the best decisions in this regard. He gave me the information and instructions to make sure my child was well fed.

In most cases, this is not a problem at all. But you should be aware of this.

Correct Use of Nipple Shields

In my experience, the use of the nipple shield was rewarding. For the shield to stay attached to the nipple, all I did was wet it with warm water; at other times, I would moisten it with a few drops of water or breast milk. I made sure to place it so that my baby would touch my breast and be as comfortable as possible. I would place the shield’s tip right on the nipple and cover the aureole with the rest of the shield. We advise you to add little drops of breast milk to the shield’s surface to make it easier for the baby to breastfeed.

The Transition From the Use of the Nipple Shield to Breastfeeding

The first thing to keep in mind is that if our baby is receiving the corresponding nutrition, removing the nipple shield can be done without haste. We can do it gradually. This way, we ensure our child’s peace of mind. This should be done when our baby and we are more relaxed.

If our child becomes upset because of unsuccessful attempts to take milk directly from the nipple, the ideal is to allow him to take his feedings through the shield. So the goal of removing it to switch to breastfeeding directly from our nipple should be postponed. Most important thing is the tranquility and nourishment of our child.

Types of Nipple Shields – There is One for Each of Us

For each type of nipple and need, there is a nipple shield. The selection depends on our comfort and needs. This ensures that the breastfeeding experience is more pleasurable, both for our children and us.

There are silicone nipple shields that are very soft. They are usually used when the nipples are sore. They have a triangular design that allows the baby to contact our skin.

There are also nipple shields that are heating pads. According to our requirements, they have the property of offering cold and heat. As far as cold therapy is concerned, it is ideal for soothing breast engorgement pain. On the other hand, heat therapy helps to fluidify breast milk. Thus the milk flow improves considerably. Also, it helps to relieve blockages in the milk ducts.

There are so-called lactation shells that serve to protect sensitive nipples. It’s ideal for women who have flat nipples, as they help their formation and make it easier for us to give breast milk to our children.

We also have disc-shaped nipple shields; they are soft and cover the nipple delicately. They fulfill the function of absorbing the breast milk that flows from our nipple while we are not feeding our baby. I can almost assure you that we have used nipple shields at some point in our role as mothers. They are really efficient and meet our requirements.

Advantages of Nipple Shields

As we have seen so far, nipple shields help overcome the difficulties that some women have during the latency period. Therefore, they help us to extend the duration of this experience. Most importantly, in those cases in which we present limitations to breastfeeding, these nipple shields ensure breastfeeding.

Hygiene of Nipple Shields

Nipple shields help us to make breastfeeding a success. But we must do our part by ensuring their hygiene. We must sterilize and store them in a safe way. Our hands must be clean when we use them. Likewise, the breast area should be cleaned accordingly. This ensures that the experience of maternal latency does not have any complications due to lack of asepsis.

Medela Nipple Shields: An Option to Help Us Breastfeed Our Baby

We can find all the positive qualities that we have pointed out of the nipple shields in the Medela protectors – Medela Contact Nipple Shield for Breastfeeding. They have the property that they are made without BPA (Bisphenol A), which, as we know, is a chemical that is used in the manufacture of various plastic products but has been determined to be toxic.

Medela Contact Nipple shields are designed to facilitate breastfeeding. They minimize “breastfeeding-related problems, including flat or inverted nipples and those experiencing latch-on difficulties, soreness, and excessive weakening.” They have a unique design with a cut-out area that increases skin contact between mother and baby.

They are safe to use and have no taste, so breast milk maintains its genuine taste. Visit this LINK, and you will find complete information about MEDELA nipple shields.

One thing for me is guaranteed, if we present problems to breastfeed our children, we count on nipple shields.

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