Should I use nipple shields?

Do nipple shields protect sore nipples?

For the most part, nipple soreness happens whilst establishing breastfeeding when mother and baby are learning how to breastfeed. The wrong latch, lengthy sucking on an empty breast and expressing can all cause damage to a nipple not yet used to being sucked on.

Nipple shields are great for protecting the skin of course but it’s very hard, if not impossible, for a new baby to suck deep enough to extract milk and drain a breast whilst using one. Nipple shields make it hard to stimulate milk production and they can create other issues such as blockages from not draining a breast and low milk production due to the lack of stimulation if used for long periods of time. Of course it’s better to be pain-free but you will need to keep feeding or express from the breast to keep up supply so I recommend only using nipple shields in extreme circumstances and for as little time as possible. I also recommend expressing after the feed to make sure the breast is drained and topping your baby up if left hungry and unable to drink from the breast due to the shield.

Fore more information about breastfeeding and lactation check out my book 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine it’s so much more than a routine.