Objective: To examine maternal satisfaction with nipple shield use and maternal and infant physiological outcomes of breastfeeding with and without nipple shields.
Design: A descriptive study using a structured telephone survey to examine maternal satisfaction of nipple shield use and a within-subject design to compare maternal and infant physiological outcomes for a subset of mother-infant dyads.
Setting: Breastfeeding sessions were conducted in Pacific Northwest hospitals.
Participants: 32 lactating women with experience using nipple shields; a subset of 5 maternal-infant dyads participated in the physiological part of the study.
Main outcome measures: Maternal response to survey explored maternal satisfaction with nipple shield use. To examine maternal and infant physiological outcomes, two measures were used: infant test weighing to evaluate breast milk intake and maternal prolactin and cortisol levels to evaluate breast milk production.
Results: Maternal survey response indicated that use of nipple shields may prevent premature breastfeeding termination. Physiological results demonstrated no significant difference in maternal hormonal levels and infant breast milk intake for breastfeeding sessions with and without nipple shields.
Conclusion: Use of nipple shields may be considered in face of potential abandonment of breastfeeding.