How to Apply and Use a Nipple Shield
When and how to use a nipple shield while breastfeeding
Nipple shields are short term breastfeeding aids that are normally made up of thin, soft flexible silicone or rubber, that covers the nipple and areola of nursing moms. The nipple area of the nipple shields are often a bit bigger, which makes it easier for a lot of babies to grasp onto.
A nipple shield is normally used when babies have difficulties latching, which can be a result of nipple size and also shape, if the baby is tongue-tied, premature or if a nursing mom has sore nipples and other issues. The nipple shield acts as a guard and has the same shape of a nipple, with openings in the tip for milk to flow through to the baby.
In this article you’ll learn how to properly apply and use a nipple shield. As a precaution, before using nipple shields you should always consult your lactation consultant to ensure that it is the right temporary solution for you.
If you are unfamiliar with how to use them, here are the steps you need to follow:
1: Wet the nipple shield
One of the recommended things you need to do before wearing a nipple shield, is to wet them before application. You can do this by getting a little spray bottle with water and give your nipple shields a few spritzes, you can also run it under the sink or soak them in a bit of warm water. Wetting them helps the material to soften up a bit which makes it much more flexible, and allows it to stick better to your skin.
Nipple shields can be worn dry, however it works best when it is saturated with water as this makes it much easier to apply and it also makes it more comfortable to wear.
Before applying it, the next step is to select the breast you’ll be nursing from, and then spray the inside perimeter of the nipple shield with water. This again will help the shield to seal nicely onto the areola part of your breast.
2: Applying the nipple shield
The best way to apply a nipple shield is by taking it and pushing it forward. To do this, take your fingers and push from the outside of your nipple shield… until the nipple area is facing inwards.
This allows the hollow area of the nipple shield where you’ll place your nipple to be protruding towards you, and this makes it easier to place your nipple inside.
Once you’ve pushed the nipple shield inwards, place the opening of the nipple shield squarely on your nipple and ensure it is all in. Once your nipple is in place you want to pull and stretch the edges downwards onto your breast, and seal the edges of your shield over the areola.
If when you are through applying the nipple shield there is no space between your nipple and the shield, try to go for a larger set.
3: Latching your baby
Once your nipple shield is safely secured you want to go and get your baby. When using your nipple shields you are basically using the same latching method as you would use without it.
Basically what you want to do is to hold your baby in your regular feeding position, or in a cross cradle position, and hold your breast with the nipple pointing upwards to reach the roof of your baby’s mouth.
The next step is to bring your baby towards you and place your nipple with the shield inside their mouth, so that your baby is able to latch comfortably. If you were unable to latch on the first attempt, keep trying until your baby is safely latched on and visibly nursing.
And there you have it moms! A quick and easy way to apply nipple shields. As a reminder, nipple shields are only a temporary solution for babies who aren’t able to latch comfortably and other issues such as having sore nipples. Remember to always check in with your lactation consultant to ensure that this is the right solution for you.