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Nipple shields have worked for me with both my babies. On this page I offer tips on brands, sterilising and how to use them. You are then given the opportunity to share your own tips or advice. Since we no longer have access to lots of breastfeeding mothers in everyday life, I thought it would be great for us to help each other online.
I believe that I would have been able to feed my first baby for longer if I had used them throughout. When she was born I had great difficulties latching her on to my nipple. I don't know if this was because she was being fed formula every three hours due to a suspected infection, or because my nipples are quite flat. I remember being over the moon when a nurse at the hospital suggested that I should try shields and the milk finally started to flow! Unfortunately, on returning home, a midwife told me not to use them. My nipples proceeded to become more and more injured and I had to stop breastfeeding my baby at five weeks. Read more by visiting the Stories page.
I therefore decided to use shields from the beginning with my second child and I breastfed her with a shield for four calendar months!
I am using Medela Contact Nipple Shields, which protect your nipples during feeding and also help your baby to latch on. The special shape offers maximum skin contact and they come with a practical storage box.
It can feel like a bit of a faff to use a nipple shield, but I think it is worth it to keep breastfeeding for longer. The easiest way to sterilise is to use sterilising wipes, especially when you are out and about. I have found that the lansinoh cream is the hardest thing to clean off and the wipes make that easy. I also sterilised my shield once a day along with my bottles in my microwave steriliser after washing it with hot soapy water with a clean bottle brush. Finally, another way to sterilise the shield quickly is to boil a kettle and pour boiling water over it after washing in hot soapy water with a clean bottle brush.
You simply place the shield over your nipple, making sure your nipple is in the middle, and then latch the baby onto it. The baby will then suck your nipple up and you will avoid injuries usually associated with latching on. You will also avoid rubbing during the feed, thereby preventing blisters and cracks. You may find that your shield slips out of place before the baby can latch on. Lansinoh cream helps the shield to stay in place.
Do you have any tips for using nipple shields? Share them here!