What is a Nipple Shield?

Nipple shield is an artificial, latex or silicone, nipple attached over the areola onto nipple of the mother. It can be used in the following situations;

  • When the mother has flattened, small or inverted nipples.
  • Small, weak or premature babies have difficulty in latching on the mother’s nipples.
  • Nipple shield can aid the transition process to mother’s breasts milk from bottle feed.
  • If the mothers has sore or cracked nipples.

When and why to stop the Nipple Shield 

According to expert gynecologist, the use of nipple shield should ideally stop in 15 – 30 days from the start of its use. If the nipple shield is used for more than 45 days (from the day of its start), there are high chances of the baby getting addicted to nipple shield.

Long term use of nipple shield may result in the following problems;

  • The baby not accepting mothers nipple for breast feeding.
  • Long term use of latex or silicone in the baby’s mouth, can cause temporary or permanent oral problems.
  • If proper hygiene is not followed each time before and after using the nipple shield, then it can cause various infections to the baby.
  • It can reduce the milk supply, as the latching is not directly on to the mother’s breasts.
  • Mental pleasure of breast feeding is hampered for both the baby and the mother.

Nowadays, it is normal to use a nipple shield for any of the above mentioned reasons, but please stop its use before it becomes an enemy.