Nipple shields....are they good or a bad? There is so much conflicting information out there for moms so we thought we might try to clarify it.
Nipple shields have been used in one form or another for over 500 years! Early nipple shield were made of:
Fast forward to the 20th Century and we started to make nipple shields from rubber, latex and now silicone. They have come a long way for baby and are much thinner now than ever before.
We hear a lot about the possibility of nipple shield use reducing milk transfer. This most likely comes from a 1980 study which had this finding. The thing is that the nipple shields being used in 1980 and those being used today are quite different. The much thinner silicone shield allows for much more feeling for mother and thus less reduction in milk transfer and production. Some shields also have a cut out for the babies nose and this tends to aid in that touch component.
We recently asked a group of moms why they used a nipple shield and these were some of their responses (paraphrased):
Why Use a Nipple Shield?
Nipple shields can be a great tool if used with common sense. Good reasons include:
Ultimately, there are usually underlying circumstances for which a nipple shield is being used. It is imperative that families visit with a trained lactation professional to figure out what is going on and to make sure that we take care of those issues. Long term nipple shield use may be a challenge. Often babies will not take a nipple shield as they get older. Carrying a nipple shield with you at all times can be stressful and putting one on with ease before latching baby in public can also cause mom undue stress.
~Tina & Ginger