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When to Use Nipple Shields

An extract from Medela about Nipple Shields.

Medela nipple shields can be an effective tool for a new breastfeeding mum with latch-on problems or an overactive let-down response. The nipple shields enable continued breastfeeding without interruption until these problems are resolved.

When to Use Nipple Shields

  1. Flat or inverted nipples: Some babies have difficulty latching onto the breast. Flat or inverted nipples can contribute to latch-on problems. A nipple shield gives the baby a larger area to latch onto, while breastfeeding helps draw the nipple out. This makes it easier for the baby to latch onto the breast later without using the nipple shield.
  2. Latch-on difficulties: Somer babies are slow to learn how to latch on in the first week. The use of a nipple shield can temporarily assist the baby in attachment to the breast, until the baby has learned the proper technique without the use of a shield.
  3. Overactive let-down: Occasionally a mother will have an overactive let-down response (fast milk flow) which can cause a baby to choke and pull off the breast. Using a nipple shield can slow down the flow of milk, thus enabling the baby to continue nursing. As the baby matures and becomes more coordinated with the sucking and swallowing, the nipple shield is no longer needed.

Using a Nipple Shield should be a temporary measure, to help you and baby get through the learning period so that you can continue breastfeeding.

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