101 Basics of a Nipple Shield

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A nipple shield is a silicone device that is worn over your nipple to assist your baby if they are having difficulty breastfeeding (chest feeding or nursing). The base of a nipple shield wraps around your areola (the skin around your nipple) and has a cone-shaped area for your nipple. Some nipple shields have an area cut out to allow you and your baby to have more skin-to-skin contact. The shield’s nipple has tiny holes at the tip that allow milk to flow into your baby’s mouth. The majority of nipple shields are thin, flexible, and translucent. Click here to check out the best nipple shield malaysia.

When to use a nipple shield?

When a baby is learning to breastfeed, usually within the first few weeks after birth, parents use nipple shields. For various reasons, some babies have difficulty latching (or attaching) to the breast early on. This can result in your baby not receiving enough milk, resulting in poor weight gain. Using a nipple shield can help your baby learn to nurse or improve their suckling ability.

Breastfeeding parents who use a nipple shield can continue breastfeeding without pumping into bottles or switching to formula.

What does a nipple shield help with?

A nipple shield facilitates your baby’s latch. During breastfeeding, your baby’s latch refers to how their mouth attaches to your nipple and areola. A good latch assists your baby in emptying the breast and receiving enough milk during feedings. Breastfeeding pain is frequently caused by an improper latch. This is because your baby is sucking only the tip of your nipple rather than the entire areola.

How should a nipple shield fit?

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Nipple shields are available in a variety of sizes. The sizes are in millimetres and are determined by the size of your infant’s mouth. When your baby is properly latched to a nipple shield, their mouth should extend around the areola and cover the entire nipple. Your baby should not be sucking on the nipple’s tip alone. Your nipple should fit inside the nipple shield’s conical shape without touching the side.

Consult your lactation consultant if you are unsure of the size you require. They’ll help you choose the right size and even show you how to put on a nipple shield.

How does a nipple shield work?

A nipple shield functions almost identically to a second nipple. It fits over your breast and nipple and has tiny holes at the end through which milk can flow from your nipple to your baby’s mouth. It aids infants who have difficulty latching onto the breast by acting as a longer, firmer nipple. This makes learning to latch and suck easier for your baby. When your baby is strong enough to nurse directly from your nipple, you should stop using a nipple shield.

Advantages of using a nipple shield

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For lactation professionals, using a nipple shield is usually a last resort because the disadvantages may outweigh the benefits. A nipple shield is advised when there is a problem with your baby’s mouth or tongue that is interfering with their latch. This could be caused by prematurity or a condition such as tongue-tie. Your nipple is too short or inverted to reach your baby’s mouth roof (where the sucking reflex is). Every other method for improving your baby’s latch has been tried. Your nipple has been injured and needs to heal while you work on improving your baby’s latch.

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