What is a Nipple Guard?

A nipple guard is an accessory that allows a mother to breastfeed when she is having problems with her latch. It can help to stimulate the baby and stimulate milk flow, especially if the nipple is sore or cracked from a poor latch. It may also be helpful in cases of tongue tie (frenulum) as it can help to stimulate the area of the mouth that needs stimulation. It may also be helpful for some babies who have trouble suckling because of an abnormality like an inverted or short nipple or inverted areola. (3)

Some nipple shields can be bought at some retail stores, pharmacies and through government programs such as The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). It is important to only buy new or sterilized used nipple shields because it is not safe for a baby to use a previously worn one if the mother is unsure about its cleanliness.

It is generally recommended to only use a nipple shield until the nipples have fully come in, usually within the first two to six days after birth. It is also suggested to only use a nipple guard in cases where the mother has an obvious problem such as an improper or shallow latch, or a condition such as a tongue tie that affects breastfeeding, and all other methods of improving the latch have been exhausted.

Using a nipple shield can be difficult to wean off and it is recommended that you do so slowly with the assistance of a skilled lactation consultant, who can teach you to breastfeed without the nipple shield. It is helpful to offer lots of skin-to-skin contact with your baby during this time and to try to feed him when he is not hungry (so that he does not become distracted). nipple guard

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