How to use a nipple shield
- Express a few drops of breast milk onto the inside brim of the nipple shield. This will help the shield to stick and prevent movement.
- Express some breast milk into the tip of the shield.
- Stretch the brim of the nipple shield outwards and place the nipple shield over the nipple and onto the breast.
- Position the ‘cut out’ side of the shield where the baby’s nose will be and flatten the brim of the shield over the breast.
- Hold the edges of the shield in place with your fingers. Point the crown of the nipple shield at the baby’s nose and encourage the baby to open their mouth wide.
It’s important to learn how to use a nipple shield properly and it usually requires a face-to-face consultation with a health professional such as a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counsellor. This helps ensure your baby is well attached with the nipple shield and you know how to tell if your baby is getting enough breastmilk through it.
Cleaning a nipple shield
- First, rinse in cold water.
- Then, wash in hot, soapy water, removing all milky residue.
- Rinse well with clean water.
- Air dry, or pat dry with a clean paper towel.
- Store in a clean, dry container with a lid. The storage container should be washed and dried daily.
Weaning off the nipple shield
All mothers and babies who need soft nipple shields to breastfeed in hospital and after discharge are advised to stay in close contact with their community child health nurse and/or lactation consultant.
They will be able to advise and assist you with weaning the baby off the shield.
In consultation with experienced lactation specialists, it is hoped that in time the baby may wean successfully from the shield onto the breast, although this is not essential for continued breastfeeding.
For more information
Children’s Health Queensland fact sheet: | Is my baby getting enough milk?
Children’s Health Queensland fact sheet: | Increasing your breastmilk supply
Australian Breastfeeding Association video: | Breastfeeding and nipple shields
Australian Breastfeeding Association | breastfeeding.asn.au