Walker, Marsha, RN, IBCLC
Clinical Lactation Vol 7 Issue 3, DOI: 10.1891/2158-07184.108.40.206
Mothers have used nipple shields for centuries for various breastfeeding issues and problems. Shield use has become controversial, but many clinicians recommend the use of nipple shields under varying circumstances despite the absence of any professionally peer-reviewed or generally agreed-upon guidelines, protocols, policies, or clinical algorithms. Judicious use of nipple shields can salvage the breastfeeding process, and most mothers have found them to be helpful. However, some mothers and studies have reported problems with shields. There remain many questions regarding the effect of nipple shield use on infant feeding behaviors relative to the imprinting that may be affected by presenting a superstimulus to an infant during a sensitive or critical period of time. This raises more questions than answers.