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Impact of nipple shield use on milk transfer and maternal nipple pain

Coentro, V.S., Perrella, S.L., Lai, C.T., Rea, A., Murray, K. and Geddes, D.T. (2020) Impact of nipple shield use on milk transfer and maternal nipple pain. Breastfeeding Medicine, 16 (3). pp. 222-239.

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Background: Nipple pain is a common cause of early cessation of breastfeeding. A nipple shield (shield) is often used to improve breastfeeding comfort. There are concerns that shield use may limit milk transfer. The aims of this study were to determine whether shield use reduces milk transfer and maternal nipple pain.

Methods: A within-subject study of two groups of breastfeeding dyads (infants <6 months) was conducted; Control Group (CG): no breastfeeding difficulties; Pain Group (PG) shield used for nipple pain. There were two monitored sessions where shield use was randomized. Test weights and pain questionnaires were completed, and percentage of available milk removed (PAMR) was calculated.

Results: Twenty-five PG (6 ± 4 postnatal weeks) and 34 CG (9 ± 6 postnatal weeks) had similar 24-hour milk production (PG: 676 ± 239 mL, CG: 775 ± 162 mL, p = 0.083). PG mean milk transfer volume and PAMR did not differ with shield use (no shield: 46 mL, 59%; shield: 40 mL, 53%, volume p = 0.38, PAMR p = 0.64). CG mean volume and PAMR were reduced with shield use (no shield: 65 mL, 64%; shield: 31 mL, 33%, volume p < 0.001, PAMR p < 0.001). PG pain scores were similar with and without shield use (Visual Analog Scale p = 0.44, McGill p = 0.97).

Conclusions: Shield use did not impact either milk production or milk transfer in breastfeeding women experiencing nipple pain.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Information Technology, Mathematics and Statistics
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Copyright: © 2020 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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