A nipple guard, sometimes called a nipple cover or breastfeeding support device, is a thin teat-like covering that can be placed over a mother’s nipple. It’s designed to help babies with latching problems, such as premature infants or those with tongue ties, learn how to nurse. Holes in the tip of the shield allow breast milk to flow into a baby’s mouth, and a firm teat-like shape helps babies create suction and latch on correctly. Ideally, nipple shields should be used temporarily, under the guidance of a lactation consultant who can monitor a baby’s feeding to ensure that the nipple is not being damaged and that the breastfeeding process is being successful.
The most important thing when using a nipple shield is to make sure it’s the right size for a newborn. If the shield is too large, it may prevent a baby from creating suction and latching on correctly. It may also cause nipple pain. A lactation professional can help a mom choose the proper size for her. Once a baby is able to latch properly, the shield can be removed.
It’s also important to keep in mind that nipple shields can decrease milk production. This is because a baby can’t get the firm stimulation needed to trigger milk flow. As a result, mothers who use nipple shields may need to express more frequently to maintain a strong milk supply. nipple guard