Product Type: Medela kids equipment
Newest Review: ... to suit and also come with a case which makes them easy to take anywhere. Medela nipple shields work by being placed onto the nipple ... more
These shields saved our breastfeeding days
Medela Contact Nipple Shields
Member Name: jillycat
Medela Contact Nipple Shields
Advantages: Helps your nipple heal great thin design which for me helped with latching on
Disadvantages: Hard to be discreet whilst feeding using these
What are they
These nipple shields from Medela come in packs of two with their own little carry case which is very convenient for carrying them around. The carry case is newer feature that wasn't around four years ago and it has been nice to see that the company has listened to feedback and included them as part of the sets now, as this makes them very convenient for carrying in your baby change bag. The case is very ease to click open and closed with one hand I find which is essential I think for those baby juggling moments most mothers need.
The shields themselves are made from ultra-thin, soft silicone which is odourless and tasteless for your baby. Unlike a lot of nipple shields on the market there is a contoured cut away top section which means that your baby can still smell your body and it helps with the bonding process due to this.
They come in various sizes and you do need to get the right size I found as the wrong one can actually make sore nipples worse in my experience. I found using a medium ore initially while the right size for my sons mouth actually only enclosed part of my nipple which then made the soreness worse. Moving up to the large size within a week soon rectified this and my son at under 3 weeks managed the large size even better than he did the medium and had no problems feeding using the large surface area. The way to check the size you need is to measure the diameter of the nipple base after breastfeeding when the nipple is warm and moist and hence the size it will be when baby is feeding. I personally found the large suited us both best but it does come in three sizes small = 16mm, medium = 20mm, large = 24mm
Why use them and In use
I have to first say that health professionals say that nipple shields should really only be used if you are having problems as they can cause a reduction in your milk supply and can lead to your baby not recognising the shape of your nipple and other similar nipple confusion issues. However I used these exclusively with my first son all through our breastfeeding journey and we never had any problems with supply or him gaining weight and he was feed till he was over a year old.
Nipple Shields are really an amazing solution to sore, cracked, flat or inverted nipples. I also found that because my son had a poor sucking reflex due to his health issues that the larger area of the nipple shield enabled him to latch on better and manage to feed properly. Even as he got older he was unable to manage without a nipple shield and he had seemed to become accustomed to the large surface area teat style area better. As I have a fast let down the shield quickly filled with milk which then encouraged him to suckle and get the milk supply going the circular shape of the shield below the nipple area seemed to mean the teat area could cope with the weight of the milk without falling off unlike the Advent brand I also tried which would fall off easily.
To use them firstly you should ensure that both your hands and nipple area are clean I personally always used a baby wipe to clean the area. You then take the shield and place it over the nipple area ensuring the tip of your nipple is nicely in the nipple section of the shield. I personally found it best to do this quickly whilst my skin was still slightly damp as it seems to help the shield stay in place better, as if the skin was too dry then it wouldn't stick on as well which means the nipple shields move and you then are unlatching your baby as the poor latch can cause pain even with a nipple shield. The other problem I found was that if it wasn't adhered properly it can lead to more air getting in and causing wind problems. You then latch your baby on in the same way that you would for any normal breastfeed ensuring the tip of the nipple shield is to the back and top of their mouth. I always seemed to use the old mantra of nose to nipple as doing it and certainly as my first son got more used to breastfeeding he would know what he was doing and latch on correctly.
During a feed the difference between wearing a nipple shield and not is slight as this brand are so thin with the compared with the other brand I tried Advent which I found to be a bit thicker and harder to remain fixed on my nipples. Wearing the shields I found gave good relief from the comfort of sore nipples that I had developed with my first son and within a week they were healed so in theory we didn't need them but both of us preferred the shields so we stuck with them. This also allowed me to not develop any sore nipples through the whole teething process when he would occasionally bite me and the shields did serve to protect my sensitive skin.
With my second son I have used them only on a couple of occasions as he has no problems with his rooting and sucking reflexes and is more than able to latch on. However they have provided very helpful in the early days when I was engorged as the shape of the nipple shield allowed him to latch on whilst my nipple was very flat due to the pressure of milk in my breast and for this reason again I would recommend having a pair of these shields from breastfeeding emergencies.
Cleaning the shield is very simple with a good wash under the tap but you do then need to sterilise them daily. The hospital had recommend I use Milton tablets to sterilise the shields and this worked well. However the chemicals in the sterilising solution would over a period of about 6 weeks discolour the shields and I found this made it awkward to check the position of the nipple in the shield so I would then move on to another pair. Equally by this time the shield were starting to be a bit worn so I would say this is the maximum life span they have for regular use. This time round I have used the microwave sterilising bags and found this is preferable to chemical sterilisation as no discoloration happens.
The only disadvantage I have found with using these shields is that it is harder to do a discreet breastfeed as you are fiddling about with the nipple shield checking they are on correctly and giving your breast a quick wipe. However this is true for all brands of nipple shield not just this one.
Overall and recommendation
I would definitely recommend these nipple shields to breast feeding mums who have either problems with latching the baby or who have sore nipples as they can help with both. They are great to help with sore and cracked nipples and at times when you are engorged. They are easy to clean and the storage case is handy to keep them in and for transit. If used constantly they have a life span of around 6-8 weeks, which I think it great value as they enable you to continue with breastfeeding. Whilst they are really only supposed to be used for short periods I did find them comfortable to use all the time with my first son and their thin design and cut away section meant I didn't have any problems with milk supply or the bonding process however do proceed with advice from your breastfeeding support group about this as everyone is different and did this with support of my health visitor and midwife. They are on sale in Boots Mothercare and other baby shops for around £6 for a pair.
Summary: A great nipple shield to help nipples heal aid with feeding issues that baby has and engorgement
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