Nipple shields, an underrated breastfeeding accessory

The pressure and relentlessness for breastfeeding are often palpable in the hospital after birth, to the point that bottle feeding has become almost taboo. However, breastfeeding is not always as natural as we think.

Too many moms are crushed under the pressure of perfect breastfeeding and do not know that you can breastfeed differently if needed. Unheard of and rarely offered by nursing staff after birth, the nipple shield is worth seeing as a solution to some breastfeeding problems and not as a nuisance. The most important thing is that baby can benefit from breast milk for the first six months ... no matter the way, right?

What is it?

The nipple shield is an accessory made of molded silicone that is placed on the nipple. There are several sizes and models to suit all types of breasts. It allows, among other things, to protect sore nipples or to facilitate putting in the baby.

Why use it?

The post-delivery fatigue and discouragement of the new mother can make them think about giving up breastfeeding when they are determined to do so. The Better Life guide discusses breastfeeding in its chapter on breastfeeding difficulties and solutions.

Among the most common difficulties:

  • flat or invaginated nipples
  • baby who is not gaining enough weight
  • baby who has trouble suckling
  • cracked or painful nipples
  • very firm breasts or engorged with milk

Instead of completely giving up breastfeeding, adding an accessory such as the nipple shield can allow many women to continue breastfeeding as long as they wish. Ask a lactation consultant for advice before use, as the nipple shield may result in decreased milk production in some women and may create a habit in the baby.

How long do you use it?

The nipple shield should be used while the breastfeeding problem that has led to its use is regulated. In some cases, it will be used throughout breastfeeding. You can consider weaning when it is no longer needed. How? By offering direct contact with the nipple to your baby whenever they drink. First, start breastfeeding with the nipple shield for about 30 seconds, then when the breast is more supple and less milk-laden, remove the nipple shield and offer the naked nipple to your baby. Give them about thirty seconds to take the breast and suck. Replace the nipple shield if the attempt is unsuccessful, then try the next drink.

How to maintain it?

The maintaining is simple. Just wash the nipple shield with warm, soapy water after each use and let it air dry. You can carry it in a small, airtight plastic container while travelling to make sure it stays clean and on hand. A tip: buy two to avoid a moment of panic if you lose one.

Image de Myreille Simard

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