A nipple protector, also known as a nipple cover, is designed to help ease the transition to breastfeeding and reduce nipple pain. It works by covering a mother’s nipple and areola while baby tries to latch on to encourage skin-to-skin contact that mimics the breast. It’s a great option for new moms struggling with short-term breastfeeding challenges, including preemies, small babies, nipple pain, flat or inverted nipples, tongue tie, lip tie, overactive let-down and more.
Some nipple shields are round and cover the entire nipple and areola, while others have “cut-outs” that allow a little more of the skin to touch, a feature that is helpful for encouraging a baby’s instinctive breastfeeding behaviour. Some also have air holes to prevent a baby from ingesting excess gas bubbles while nursing, a condition known as colic.
There are a variety of nipple shields available, from soft, flexible silicone to plastic and even latex. They are typically available in sizes ranging from 16 to 24 mm. A good fit is important since a nipple shield that is too tight can lead to chafing, and a too-large shield can interfere with the baby’s ability to latch on.
When choosing a nipple shield, it’s recommended that a mom seek out a nipple protector that is BPA and PVC free and made from soft materials such as food-grade silicone or latex to avoid irritating the skin. It’s also best to use a nipple shield only under the advisement of a lactation consultant and to remove it partway through the feeding or when switching breasts. nipple protectors for breastfeeding