Breast Shells & Nipple Shields
Amie Brunner, RN - May 14, 2018
Some nursing mothers have challenges when breastfeeding. Whether there is a latch problem, inverted or flat nipples, or temporary irritation and/or pain, breast shells and breast shields may help breastfeeding success. 

What are breast shells?

medela-nipple-cone.jpgBreast shells can be very helpful for a breastfeeding mom and her baby. They are hard, smooth plastic protectors that the mother can wear in her bra between breastfeeding sessions.

Breast shells have various uses for the breastfeeding mom. Breast shells can help soothe sore nipples, help with flat or inverted nipples, help with engorgement, and keep nipples dry to prevent further irritation. Breast shells can be worn before delivery and at the start of breastfeeding if a mother has flat or inverted nipples.

Breast shells are reusable and have two different sized backs that are interchangeable. The smaller of the two backs is used for flat or inverted nipples while the larger sized back is used for engorgement, irritation, and keeping the nipple dry.

What is a nipple shield?

Nipple-shield.JPGA nipple shield is silicone nipple that is applied over the nipple and areola. A nipple shield can be used for a breastfeeding mother that has flat or inverted nipples and her baby is having difficulty latching on for feeding.  The design allows for optimal contact between the mother and baby during breastfeeding.

Nipple shields are used when there is difficulty latching due to oral problems or prematurity, flat or inverted nipples, bringing the baby back to breast after bottle feeds, or nipple trauma. There are other reasons for use as well, but the aforementioned reasons are some of the most common.

Ideally, the nipple shield will not be used for the duration of nursing and the mother will be able to wean the infant off and return to a natural latch if possible. This is a reusable item that can be cleaned with soap and water, air dried and used again.

If you have any questions about breastfeeding, please reach out to Schneck's Family Life Center by calling (812) 522-0435.