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…
Buuuuuttt…it DID help me with the problem we encountered when we started breastfeeding!
So nipple shields do have their benefits.
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.
So here are nipple shield pros and cons!
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Nipple Shield Pros and Cons
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.
Helps with Latching
Some women have flat or inverted nipples. This actually makes latching on harder for baby.
Now eventually after nursing for so long your nipples will be “pulled out” more.
But what can you do during the meantime?
This is when a nipple shield comes in handy. Women who have flat or inverted nipples have found that using a nipple shield helps “pull” their nipples out to allow for a better latch.
Gives Relief to Sore Nipples
Wearing a nipple shield can help give some relief to sore and cracked nipples.
Helps Preterm Infants with Breastfeeding
Wearing a nipple shield can help with 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.”.
Helps with the Transition from Bottle to Breast
A nipple shield may help with switching babies from bottles to breast.
As you can see using a nipple shield can have its pros and cons.
With the above situations in mind, I would say that nipple shields can be beneficial and good for breastfeeding.
But I also don’t think it’s a good idea to permanently be using a nipple shield.
They can help, but only as a short term solution.
Now, this is just my opinion. I mean I’ve heard of women using them during their whole breastfeeding journey with no complaints.
If you think you need to use one I would ask and see what a lactation consultant thinks and see what they recommend. Nipple shields should always be used under the supervision of a lactation consultant.
You can check out these helpful resources below for more information.
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.)
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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!