Nipple covers are a category of breastfeeding aids that simply cover your nipples. They can generally be broken into two main categories: for use during breastfeeding, and for use after breastfeeding.
Nipple covers designed for use during breastfeeding help a mother and baby achieve the latch needed to successfully nurse, or to collect milk from the opposite breast during a mother’s letdown phase. Those for use after feeding a baby are designed to promote healing and aid in a mother’s comfort.
Nipple Covers for Breastfeeding:
Nipple shields are silicone covers that are shaped like a mother’s everted nipple and surrounding areola. They suction to a mother’s breast to aid mother and baby in achieving a good latch. They are not needed by all chestfeeding people. Many premature babies find help nursing with nipple shields when they are not yet strong enough to nurse on their own.
Image Credit: Cleveland Clinic
Under the guidance of a lactation professional, a nipple shield can be used to help a baby learn to latch. Your nipple forms to the nipple shield, teaching your baby how to draw your nipple into their mouth in order to suckle. Nipple shields are generally used for a short period of time.
Once your baby initiates your letdown reflex, milk may start to flow from one or both of your breasts. While some people prefer to soak up this extra milk with a nursing pad, others prefer to catch it with a milk collection cup. Made from plastic, and shaped a bit like a shell, these collection cups fit into your nursing bra and collect milk that may flow from the unused side during a nursing session.
Nipple Covers for After Breastfeeding:
Silver Nursing Shields
Silver has been used for centuries for its various healing properties. This cool metal can soothe and help promote healing. For people nursing, silver nursing shields can help regenerate or heal skin in between feedings. This can prevent cracked or sore nipples. If your skin already has a bit of trauma, the use of a silver nursing shield may help speed up the healing process.
If you have sore, cracked, or bleeding nipples, please consult a healthcare professional. Your nipple tissue is fragile in addition to being the source of your baby’s nutrition.
The Things that Keep You From Sticking to Your Bra…
Breastfeeding moms may experience a bit of friction whether they are nursing or pumping. After a feed or a pump nipples may stick to your bra or nursing pad. Breastfeeding forums are filled with questions about what can be done to stop this from happening. The first thing is to allow your nipple to dry. Next, consider applying breast milk, coconut oil, lanolin, medihoney, etc. to your nipples to promote healing. Next, using something like the milk collection shell, silver nipple shield, or even a silicone shield, can help prevent your sensitive tissue from sticking.