Sore nipples are literally a huge pain when it comes to breastfeeding. I wrote about my struggles breastfeeding my tongue-tied daughter in an article last month, and while I didn't realize at the time that I could use a nipple shield to help ease my nipple pain, I wish I had. Nipple shields can be a lifesaver, but tongue-tie isn't the only reason to use one.
Common reasons to use a nipple shield for breastfeeding:
Your baby was premature: Preemies can sometimes have a hard time learning how to breathe, swallow, and suck at the same time, and a nipple shield can help with this.
Your baby got used to a bottle: If your baby was primarily bottle-fed and now you're trying to transition to breastfeeding, the silicone nipple of the nipple shield can be a more familiar texture than your real nipple.
You have flat or inverted nipples: If your nipple isn't extended enough for the baby to latch effectively, a nipple shield can extend the shape of your nipple so the baby has something to latch on to.
You have a strong letdown: If your letdown causes your baby to choke or he just has a hard time keeping up with the fast flow, a nipple shield can help prevent milk from spilling all over him.
You have sore or cracked nipples: If your nipples and areola are sore and you need a break, a nipple shield can protect your sensitive tissue and allow your nipples to heal.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 10,000! This super helpful video explains a bit more about nipple shields and then shows a real-life example of how to use one and how to get your baby to latch on to it:
There are also many different brands and types of nipple shields, so if one isn't working for you, it's worth it to try another one. Your nipples will thank you!
About Katie Stansberry
Katie Stansberry is a work-from-home mom of two sweet girls and the creator of Breastfeeding Bliss. After struggling at the beginning of her breastfeeding journey, she wanted to create a happy place where breastfeeding moms could find practical tips, positive inspiration, and the newest and best breastfeeding products. On her "Back to Bliss" breastfeeding blog, she shares her personal stories and tips for making breastfeeding an easier and more enjoyable experience.