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The use of nipple shields: A review

By Selina Chow, Ronald Chow, Marko Popovic, Henry T Lam, Joav Merrick, Søren Ventegodt MD, Milica Milakovic, Michael T Lam, Mila Popovic, Edward Chow and Jelena Popovic


A nipple shield is a breastfeeding aid with a nipple-shaped shield that is positioned over the nipple and areola prior to nursing. Nipple shields are usually recommended to mothers with flat nipples or in cases in which there is a failure of the baby to effectively latch onto the breast within the first two days postpartum. The use of nipple shields is a controversial topic in the field of lactation. Its use has been an issue in the clinical literature since some older studies discovered reduced breast milk transfer when using nipple shields, while more recent studies reported successful breastfeeding outcomes. The purpose of this review was to examine the evidence and outcomes with nipple shield use. Methods: A literature search was conducted in Ovid MEDLINE, OLDMEDLINE, EMBASE Classic, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and CINAHL. The primary endpoint was any breastfeeding outcome following nipple shield use. Secondary endpoints included the reasons for nipple shield use and the average/median length of use. For the analysis, we examined the effect of nipple shield use on physiological responses, premature infants, mothers’ experiences, and health professionals’ experiences. Results: The literature search yielded 261 articles, 14 of which were included in this review. Of these 14 articles, three reported on physiological responses, two reported on premature infants, eight reported on mothers’ experiences, and one reported on health professionals’ experiences. Conclusion: Through examining the use of nipple shields, further insight is provided on the advantages and disadvantages of this practice, thus allowing clinicians and researchers to address improvements on areas that will benefit mothers and infants the most

Topics: Lactation, feed, breastfeeding, Nipple shield, breast milk transfer, mother-infant health, Public aspects of medicine, RA1-1270
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00236
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