There are two main types of nipple shields. Contact nipple shields promote skin-to-skin contact with your baby, and regular nipple shields are basic all-around shields without cutouts. If you decide to start using a nipple shield, it’s best to contact a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor so they can guide you accordingly.
There are lots of reasons why breastfeeding doesn’t always go as planned. Having trouble breastfeeding is common and certainly doesn’t make you any less of a mother. Nipple shields have proven quite useful for the following challenges:
Arriving earlier than expected, premature babies sometimes require a bit more patient nurturing and training. Their natural sucking reflexes may not be very strong yet, and nipple shields can encourage them to latch and suck.
Flat, short, or inverted nipples
When it’s time to start breastfeeding, some moms realize that their nipples are flat, short, or inverted. They might notice that their baby is constantly crying, pulling away, or falling asleep. Nipple shields can help your baby draw in your nipple and provide sensation deep in the palate to stimulate sucking.
Breastfeeding can be painful, especially in the early days when your nipples aren’t used to the friction yet. A properly sized nipple shield can provide a short-term breastfeeding solution for cracked, sore, or peeling nipples. When used properly, a nipple shield will fit like a glove and provide temporary relief until you find the source of the problem.