Pros: Allows baby to nurse normally even if your nipples are sore
Cons: Must be cleaned constantly - I recommend more than one pair
These shields allowed me to continue to nurse my son in comfort and allowed my nipples to heal when they were terribly sore. They were a lifesaver. I chose these in particular because I had great success with other Avent nursing products.
It is normal for many mothers to experience some degree of nipple soreness, especially in the early stages of the nursing relationship. When an infant is not latched on properly, he will do more "sucking" than "suckling" which results in sore nipples for the mother. At this point, many inexperienced mothers end the nursing because they are experiencing pain every time the baby nurses. I was fortunate to have the counsel of a number of experienced breastfeeders as well as a lactation nurse. The cause of the soreness was explained to me and it was emphasized that nursing should not be a painful experience.
I bought these shields to protect my sore nipples from further pain. They worked like a charm! They are made of very thin silicone with several holes at the end of the nipple. The baby is able to nurse right through them with no problem. Your nipples are protected from any further soreness and can heal faster so you can get back to nursing without them.
The shields should be applied just prior to nursing. Dampening them a bit will make it easier and will help them stay on without any air pockets. The silicone is thin enough not to interfere with nursing for the baby, but thick enough to protect you from pain. Here are a few points to remember when using these shields and dealing with sore nipples:
1. Wear the shields only when nursing. The rest of the time, make sure your nipples are kept dry and exposed to fresh air as much as possible. Pure lanolin will also help soothe and heal and is safe for the baby.
2. Make sure the shields are kept SUPER clean. I would suggest getting more than one pair and making it your husband's little duty to make sure you always have a clean pair handy! After all, you ARE the one nursing the baby. (You can offer him the alternate duty of giving you his hand to bite down on while you are in pain!)
In a nutshell - these are wonderful shields - use them along with help, support, and advice from experienced breastfeeders to make nursing a wonderful experience for both you and your baby!