nipple shields


Registered User
can't find this in other threads so giving this a try. i've been using nipple shields for bf for inverted nipples, have been using them for 2 weeks and they seem to be working: baby seems to be swallowing, delivering wet/dirty diapers (this is the only gauge i know of, any others?). i am using the Medela contac silicone shield.

i was reading though that i should starting working on weaning the baby off the shields at some point in time. it will also be more convenient for me with one less item to worry about.

wondering if anyone has experiences with shields and weaning. i feel like she has just started to get the hang of bf and i'm dreading changing anything during feedings to affect them, as difficult as it is to get her going in the first place.

also, has anyone heard or experienced reduced transfer with the shields?

Dear Kellyst,

It is good to hear that a simple device like a nipple shield has helped you breastfeed your baby. I would encourage you to continue using the shield for as long as it helps the baby breastfeed more effectively. In general, as the baby gets older, more coordinated, and more experienced at sucking, it will be easier to wean him off the shield.

The length of time a baby needs the shield will vary. Some babies may need it for just a few feeding, some a few days and some a few weeks or very rarely a few months.

To see if the baby is ready to breastfeed without the shield, try removing the shield after several minutes of effective breastfeeding and then quickly return the baby to the bare breast.

If when you try to breastfeed without the shield the baby is unwilling or unable to latch on then the changes are that the issue isn?t completely resolved yet. In which case give up for a few days and then try again later.

It was once recommended to wean the baby from a nipple shield by gradually cutting off the tip of the shield until it was gone, but this is not appropriate with the newer silicone shields. Silicone has sharp edges when cut that can hurt the baby.

The thicker rubber nipple shields available some years ago were found to reduce the milk supply and alter baby?s sucking patterns. This does not appear to be the case with the thinner, more flexible silicone nipple shields available today.

It was once thought that nipple shields caused more problems than they solved but in some situations they can be a useful tool to help preserve breastfeeding.

Nipple shields may be useful in the following situations:

? For a mother with inverted nipples whose baby cannot latch on after improving latch-on technique.
? The premature baby who is not yet fully effective at the breast or is having problems latching on or staying at the breast.
? The full-term baby having latch-on problems. Using a nipple shield can be tired after attempts to improve latch-on technique have been unsuccessful.
? The full-term baby with tongue thrust, a retracted tongue, neurological problems or a weak suck.

Nipple shields are NOT recommended for treatment of nipple pain and trauma. Although they can occasionally provide some pain relief, the mother?s nipple may be pinched inside the shield tip unless the basic latch-on problems are resolved.

Best wishes,
Sarah Hung
La Leche League Leader in Hong Kong
Dear Reei,

I hope this doesn?t come across as preaching but?

If you have the sort of problems that require nipple shields please get in touch with a lactation consultant. They will be able to explain the correct use and make sure you get a pair that both fit your nipples and the baby?s mouth. When we buy eye glasses we consult a professional rather than just buying off the shelf. The same is true of nipple shields. It is very important when using nipple shields that your latch is as perfect as you can make it.

Best wishes,
i agree with Sarah. actually i thought they helped in the beginning BUT they just become a nuisance after a while, just one extra thing to worry about when you have 10 things on your hands already.
then i figured out maybe DD can do it without the shields.. but she keeps stopping after a little while... now (only after i stopped bf-ing) i realized that my milk was gushing out too fast and she was choking on it half the time. i wish i had gotten help back then, i think would've made bf-ing much smoother.