When you chat with first-time expectant mothers, you may find one or two who feels excited about the thought of breastfeeding their child. Some may say, “Oh, I hear it is the best form of bonding that my baby and I can do after birth!” Others want to do it because they know that breastmilk is rich with all the nutrients that an infant can ever need while he or she still can’t eat real foods.
What most new moms may be unable to prepare for is the pain that may come from having a baby latched on your nipple multiple times a day. It may not feel like much at first since newborns don’t have teeth yet. However, when the infant is so hungry, his or her gums might clamp down, thus bruising or making the nipple sore.
Nevertheless, it is inadvisable to switch to formula milk because of that. You mostly need to express milk as long as your body produces it too; otherwise, the liquid might leak out, or your breasts will become agonizingly swollen. To avoid all kinds of pain when breastfeeding, therefore, you should start using nipple shield now.
What Is It?
Assuming you have never seen a nursing nipple shield in your lifetime, try to think to the silicone toppers that come with feeding bottles. The shape is practically the same – there’s the elongated end which serves as the nipple, as well as a slightly wide opening that’s connected to the milk container. There are also tiny holes on the suckling part to let the liquid out.
What’s different about nipple guards is that they stick on the mother’s breasts. They are seamless, and the opening is enough to cover the areolas. They come in different sizes too, which is perfect for every mom out there.
When Should You Use It?
Breast shields are a lifesaver for occasions when:
- You Have Upturned Or Flat Nipples
It is biologically possible for some mothers to have nipples that do not stretch even during the suckling process. That can frustrate a baby, especially when he or she is hungry. No amount of pulling can fix that, so you need a nipple guard to become an extension of your flat or inverted nipples.
- You Want To Start Using Feeding Bottles
A nipple shield can be a helpful tool when you think it’s high time for your son or daughter to stop breastfeeding. The truth is that it can be difficult for the child to transition if all he or she knows is the feel of your breasts. But once you use that silicone covering often, the infant may not get fazed much by the sight of a feeding bottle.
- The Baby Is Teething
There’s no shame in wanting to breastfeed your child even when he or she is older than six months. It may be wise to obtain a breast shield, though, since the infant’s milk teeth can start appearing at this point. If you try to feed him or her during a fuzzy state, the baby might bite your nipple hard, to the extent that it becomes swollen or, worse, bleeds.
How To Use Breastfeeding Nipple Shields?
The constant first step is to sterilize the nursing shield with warm water before every use. That will eliminate any germs or bacteria that touched it. Then, you have to ensure that the guard fits over your nipple and areola. You may hold it in place while the infant’s still trying to latch on it. Once breastfeeding time is over, you should clean it with cold and soapy water before putting it in storage again.
What Kind Of Nipple Shield To Get?
A regular breast shield has a round bottom part that covers the areola completely. Mothers love how it sticks to the skin. If you get a Medela nipple shield, to be specific, you can expect the material to be super thin. Thus, the baby may not feel uncomfortable while breastfeeding.
In case your child has already developed his or her latching skills, you may try using the cut-out nursing shield from Lansinoh. It allows more skin contact between you and the infant. Furthermore, the guards from the brand come in a little case, so you may not misplace it.
It matters to note that using a nipple shield is not always recommended by specialists. You should work with a lactation expert if you have troubles breastfeeding your baby to know whether you need one and for how long. Good luck!
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