Pro Tips To Using Breast Shields
A breast shield or commonly known as a nipple shield is a thin, flexible cover typically made from latex, rubber or silicon designed to be worn by a mother on her nipples and areola for breastfeeding her infant.
While experts suggest that breast shields must be a mother’s last option for breastfeeding her baby, if all her alternatives have failed, the shield does not have any such serious side effects known to stand against its use. A nipple shield is advised in case:-
- A mother has sour or cracked nipples, and breastfeeding is highly painful.
- The baby is nipple confused and would rather prefer an artificial nipple to feed on.
- A mother’s breasts are engorged.
- The baby was born premature and needs to learn to latch on.
- A mother has flat or inverted nipples which make it difficult for the baby to suck on.
- A mother has a skin infection or disease.
Here’s how to choose and apply a breast shield:-
- Choose a correct size and shape – The baby is not likely to get the milk if you do not choose the right shields of the breasts. There are a couple of factors to be kept in mind:-
- There are a variety of nipple shields available in the market to fit different women. The shield should be shaped like a breast and must be transparent in look.
- To determine the correct size, it is best to place the shield directly on the breast and make sure the nipple fits aptly into the shield’s cup area.
- Not too loose not too long – The shield must not be too loose otherwise it would fall off and disrupt breastfeeding. At the same time, the length must be longer than the area of the breast to which it will be attached, but not too long that the baby will have to make extra efforts to suck milk.
- Check for allergy – Since there is a broad range of breast shields available in the market, it is best to check that you are not allergic to the shield’s material (rubber / latex / silicon). For the material can cause serious skin problems and hamper breastfeeding.
- Placing the nipple shield – Once a breastfeeding shield has been selected, it is important to put it in the most appropriate manner. Place a couple of drops of the breast or expressed milk on the shield. Doing this ensures the breast milk is passing aptly though the hole of the nipple shield.
- Placing the lower half first – The best way to fix the shield is to turn it inside out about half way, then place the bottom half under the nipple first and secure the rest later, with gentle hands.
- Ensure the nipple is positioned exactly in the center which will effectively maximize breast milk transfer and chafing.
- The shield allows the infant’s face, nose and chin to touch mother’s skin which helps strengthen their bond.
Once you’re done breastfeeding the baby, it is utmost essential to sterilize the nipple shields, just like other baby equipment, before using them again. Make sure to change them every month, even if they look as new as brand new.