What is a Nipple Guard?

A nipple guard is a small silicone device worn over the nipple during breastfeeding to help babies latch better and suck more effectively. It is designed with a base that wraps around the areola (the skin of the breast) and a cone-shaped area for the nipple. It has small holes at the tip to allow milk to flow into your baby’s mouth (1).

Nipple shields are sometimes recommended for mothers with flat, inverted or short nipples as well as for infants who have difficulty latching due to prematurity or problems with the tongue such as tongue tie. (2)

If your baby has difficulty latching on to the nipple, a nipple shield can provide stimulation deep in their mouth to trigger their sucking reflex (3). This allows your baby to suck more effectively, which helps them learn that breastfeeding is how they get their food (4). It can also help you continue nursing without relying on formula, which may lead to healthy weight gain in your baby (5).

If you are using a nipple shield, make sure to wash it in hot soapy water after every use and boil it once daily to sterilize it (6). It is important to choose the correct size shield for your baby and to remember that a nipple shield is only meant to be used temporarily while you work on improving your baby’s latch with the help of a trained Lactation Specialist. Once your baby has a good latch, you can start to slowly wean off the nipple shield while continuing to feed them breastmilk (7). nipple guard

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