Why is Nipple Shield so Bad?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2013
Why is Nipple Shield so Bad?
Mon, 10-28-2013 - 8:11pm

Hi ladies,

I was discharged from hospital with a nipple shield. I'm now 12d pp.

I had my share of ups and downs with latching and bf-ing for the first week (too much weight loss, ped made us supplement for a day or two, weight came right up). Milk came in, then engorged and told to use shield again. Now little guy won't even try to latch without the shied - he doesn't even do the "open wide" anymore! (and frankly, I don't have the patience to try and make him).

Middle of last week, I decided to look into EPing and kind of decided it might be best for our family now and in the long run.

So, I occasionally still bf (2-3 times a day right now) using my shield.

LO gets right on and gets his feed on with the shield every time, no problem. He falls asleep quickly at the breast and comes off seeming very satisfied (more so than after some BM bottle feeds).

So I'm wondering, why can't I just bf indefinitely using the shield? They say if you use the shield, you have to pump after each use (which is why I decided to EP in the first place - if I have to pump after shield, then why even worry about it - I'll use the milk I pump and DH can help feed with bottles). The LC said it's because your supply will diminsh? I don't understand. Isn't an empty breast and empty breast? How is it different emptying using a shield, versus not? Seems the same to me!

Anyone get any answers on this from a LC or Ped or MD? Or any experience using a shield longer term?

What should I know?


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2013
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 6:38am

I am so thankful you received better advice than I did. I was given a nipple shield due to sore nipples from a poor latch but with no instructions to also pump. It seemed to help my sore nipples. My baby was 7lbs 12oz and within days of using the nipple shield she became dehydrated, dropped to 7lbs  2 oz and my milk supply was nearly gone! So yes, it can diminish your milk supply. I fortunately was able to pump and get my milk supply back and now I EP. I had to supplement with formula to get her weight up and she just never got the hang of BF despite LC visits.

Why did they give you a nipple shield? To help get a good latch? How much milk do you get when you pump after you BF? Are you truly empty? In my opinion, BF is more convenient than EP. Less time, more flexibility in life, no pump parts and bottles to clean... I am curious to see if an LC could help you get rid of the nipple shield and work on a proper latch? In the long run, it might be worth it.

In the end, you have to do what is best for you and baby. And as long as baby is gaining weight and has plenty of wet/poopy diapers a day, that is the important thing! Best of luck!