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Nipple shields are silicone nipples that are used to cover the nipple when there are certain problems when breastfeeding. There are many women who have to turn to them first in order for breastfeeding to be successful. If it's your thing, keep reading and find out theHere are things to keep in mind before wearing nipple shields.
It is just as important to have them when they are really necessary as not to always use them at the first difficulty, because misused they can create more problems than benefits.
Before a difficult breastfeeding The most important thing is to make a correct diagnosis: if we do not know why breastfeeding is not working, there is little we can do to solve the problem. Midwives and lactation consultants are the best professionals to help you diagnose and treat the difficulty. And what is considered a difficulty in breastfeeding?
- Pain during breastfeeding
Pain when breastfeeding is never normal. It tells us that the baby is not properly attached to the nipple, which in addition to causing pain has other consequences, since that little one will probably be making more effort than necessary to express the milk, as they cannot find the effective attachment to the breast.
- Weight problems in the baby
When a baby does not gain the least weight according to his age, it means that we surely have a problem with latching onto the breast. Your child is probably not sucking with the necessary force, is not sucking properly or the baby-nipple position is not being correct for some physical reason (flat or inverted nipple, sublingual frenulum, etc.).
- Cracks, blockages or mastitis
Any of these breast problems are reasons to assess and correct the way of breastfeeding, and in no case indicate that you have to abandon breastfeeding.
Faced with all these difficulties, nipple shields can be useful, as long as we have an up-to-date breastfeeding professional who appreciates the difficulty and knows how to guide us. For example, when there are cracks in the nipple, the nipple shields can be useful for a few days to avoid pain for the mother and make the crack heal, but if we do not correct the cause of the crack, which is probably a bad position of the baby at the breast , it will appear again as soon as we remove the liner.
And if for some of these circumstances that we have described above, you have to use nipple shields to initiate or continue breastfeeding, it is important that you take into account the following points:
It is very important to know that the nipple shields have different sizes and that we must buy the right size for our chest. The liner should cover the nipple without it rubbing against the wall of the nipple. Nor should we buy a too large nipple shield, as it will irritate the areola.
We have to place the nipple shield so that it empties the breast and does not move when the baby begins to suck.
We can sterilize the liners after buying them before using them for the first time, but afterwards the only thing necessary is to wash them well with hot water and soap, making sure that there are no traces of milk on them after feeding.
- Baby position
The position of the baby at the breast is the same as if we were not using a nipple shield. Mouth wide open, lips everted, baby close to its mother's breast. If we use an incorrect breastfeeding technique, we will face the same difficulties as if we did not use a nipple shield.
In principle, if breastfeeding is working well thanks to the nipple shield, there is no specific rule of when to stop using them; in fact, if something is going well, common sense tells us why we are going to change it.
But it is true that to breastfeed With a nipple shield is more “tedious” than doing it without it (remembering to always carry the nipple shield in your bag, have a place to clean it, put it on correctly before each feeding…), so many women are wishing they could breastfeed without them.
Here your baby will lead the way: start the feeding in the usual way with the nipple shield and when he is relaxed nursing, move him away for a few seconds, remove the nipple shield and offer the breast directly again. If the baby accepts it without problem, there is no pain and the latch is good, you can try the feedings without a nipple shield. On the contrary, if the baby rejects the breast, cannot latch on or you feel pain, it means that he is not yet ready to be breastfed without a nipple shield, and you have to endure a longer time using it.
The good news is that almost all babies are ready at 3 to 4 months to suckle perfectly without a liner. Like most parenting difficulties, everything passes!
You can read more articles similar to What you need to know before using nipple shields to breastfeed, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.