Many breastfeeding moms find the use of a nipple protector, or nipple cover, helpful during breastfeeding difficulties such as poor latching and painful, inflamed nipples. They can be purchased at most stores, hospitals and through government programs like WIC. A nipple shield is usually best used in conjunction with a breastfeeding consultant or lactation educator. These professionals can help you identify the specific reason that is making it difficult for your baby to latch and work with you to correct this problem.
A nipple protector helps by stimulating your baby’s suck reflex by increasing the size of your nipple, encouraging a good latch. This is especially important for new moms with flat or inverted nipples as their nipples may not be able to reach the soft palate of a newborn’s mouth, which is where the suck reflex needs to be stimulated.1
While a nipple protector can be a great tool for breastfeeding, it is a temporary measure. The goal is to be able to breastfeed without it, and your lactation consultant can work with you to help you achieve this goal!
One thing to keep in mind with the use of a nipple shield is that it will need to be washed regularly and sterilized daily. A nipple shield can be washed in hot, soapy water or by microsteaming it for about three minutes. It is also recommended to not buy used nipple covers, as this can expose your baby to potential contaminants. nipple protectors for breastfeeding