There is an ever-expanding array of breastfeeding accessories on the market—from breast pumps, nursing bras, and pillows to nursing pads and more. None of them are essential, and some can even interfere with breastfeeding.
However, reusable or disposable nursing pads may be useful if your breast milk leaks. A nursing bra isn’t necessary either, but can be very practical. If you’re thinking about getting a breast pump, community breastfeeding support organizations are an excellent source of information when the time comes to choose one.
If you experience breastfeeding difficulties, accessories such as nipple shields or a lactation aid might be suggested.
Nipple shields are a silicone breastfeeding accessory designed to go over the nipple. They come in various models and sizes. If nipple shields seem to be the solution for you:
They are sometimes recommended when the baby does not take the breast or when the mother’s nipples are painful.>
If nipple shields seem to be the solution for you:
- Contact a trained breastfeeding support person for guidance (se Getting help)
- Choose the size that best matches your nipple
- If you are only having problems with one breast, use a shield on that side only
- Use it for part of the feed only, if possible
- Express your milk after each feeding several times a day to maintain your milk supply
- Clean the shield according to the manufacturer’s instructions
Nipple shields are generally for temporary use. You should stop using yours as soon as the problem is solved. Long-term use of a nipple shield may make it difficult for your baby to nurse without one and may also reduce your milk supply.
If you’re finding it hard to discontinue using nipple shields, talk to a trained breastfeeding support person (see Getting help).
In some situations, nipple shields can be used until your baby is weaned.
A lactation aid is a small tube placed on the breast while you nurse. These types of aids can help you continue to breastfeed while stimulating milk production.
If you need a lactation aid, your midwife, a nurse at your CLSC, or a trained breastfeeding support person can supply the tubes and show you how to use them.