I’m sure you’ve heard of how nipple shields are the best and help so much with breastfeeding.
And so many people swear by them!
But what you may not know is that there can be problems with using a nipple shield.
I did use a nipple shield for a short period of time. About 1-2 weeks before I stopped completely. But when I received one and started using it, no one told me any of the issues that could happen with nipple shields.
I actually ran into quite a few of them.
And so I think it’s super important for Moms who may use a nipple shield to KNOW what kind of problems can happen when using them.
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Issues with Nipple Shields
Milk Supply May Decrease
Nipple shields can affect milk supply if not used properly.
If your nipple shield isn’t on the right way, or baby can’t transfer milk out effectively your milk supply could decrease.
Higher Risk of Clogged Milk Ducts & Mastitis
Since having a nipple shield can cause less breast milk to be transferred, this can increase your risk of clogged milk ducts and mastitis.
Baby Could Become Dependent on it
They told me when I was using it that this was a possibility if I used it for too long. This could make it hard to wean baby off from the nipple shield.
I was super worried this would happen.
So I was always sure to try without it first and if she couldn’t get latched on I’d put it on.
Takes More Time
When my baby was ready to eat, she was READY. TO. EAT.
I hated having to mess around trying to get it on and making sure it was on the right way, all while listening to her cry because she wanted to nurse.
Another thing that takes more time is the fact you must keep it clean and air dry it after every feeding.
Hurt Worse Using it
Nipple shields are said to help with sore nipples. But this was not the case for me.
Nipple shields caused me even more soreness.
I only really needed it on one side (she had more of a hard time latching on one side). And that side hurt waaayyyy worse than the side without.
And if you don’t get it on just right, it’ll hurt more and could leave a purple mark. Kinda like a hickey almost.
So Why are Nipple Shields Used in the First Place?
Reasons to Use a Nipple Shield
- Women who have flat or inverted nipples. 86% of the women in this study said that it helped them to continue nursing and maintain a breastfeeding relationship until problems were resolved.
- Sore and cracked nipples
- Breastfeeding a baby who’s premature, small, or ill. This research states that 60% of the premature babies actually consumed 50% with the nipple shield. Here’s another study that said, “These findings are the first to indicate that nipple shield use increases milk intake without decreasing total duration of breastfeeding for preterm infants.”.
- Switching babies from bottles to breast
In my opinion, I would say that nipple shields can be beneficial and good for breastfeeding. With the above situations in mind.
But I also don’t think it’s a good idea to permanently be using a nipple shield.
They can help, but it’s only a short term solution.
Just in case a situation comes up where you may need to use one, you can check out these resources below for more information.
And remember that nipple shields should always be used under the supervision of a lactation consultant.
Resources for Nipple Shields:
(Please keep in mind that I am NOT a doctor, nurse, lactation consultant, breastfeeding specialist or anything else you may think of. I am ONLY A MOM who is going off her own experiences and research. If you’d like to know more you can read my full disclaimer policy here.)
Have you ever used a nipple shield before? What are your experiences with using a nipple shield? Tell me below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!