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

Viviane Silva Coentro, Sharon Perrella, Ching Tat Lai, Alethea Rea, Kevin Murray, Donna Geddes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
136 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract 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. Two monitored sessions where shield use was randomized. Test weights and pain questionnaires were completed, and percentage of available milk removed (PAMR) calculated. Results: 25 PG (6 ± 4 postnatal weeks) and 34 CG (9 ± 6 postnatal weeks) had similar 24 h 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 (VAS 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of nipple shield use on milk transfer and maternal nipple pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this