Nipple Shields - Part 3

Several styles of nipple shields are available. The thinner, flexible silicone, which is used almost exclusively, comes in both a circular nipple shield and the contact nipple shield. Both have a firmer tip that protrudes like a nipple, but the contact shield has a cut-out area which is meant to be placed where the baby’s nose would be during breastfeeding to allow skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby. It also helps to prevent the shield brim from bending back into baby’s face. Both are used and each one has its own following.

Applying the shield can be done in several ways. Some simply place the shield evenly over the nipple with mom holding her fingers along the borders of the brim to keep it in place. Others position the shield on the breast with the soft brim turned out and then smooth it onto the breast, believing it helps it stay in place better. Another way is to turn the tip halfway inside out and place it over mom’s nipple. When the shield is slowly turned right side out and smoothed into place, mom’s nipple is drawn into the tip, which makes it easier for baby and helps it to stay in place. To help the shield stay in place some dip it in warm or hot water before applying. Others apply a small amount of lanolin to the brim to help it stick to the skin.

To latch onto a shield, baby needs to open wide and latch onto the soft brim surrounding the nipple. If any of the firmer nipple area is seen, baby needs to be removed from the breast and repositioned. Again, as mentioned in the previous article, make sure the length of the teat is appropriate to baby’s mouth size.