Congratulations on your pregnancy and your decision to breastfeed. It sounds like you're a planner and that makes for the best breastfeeding experience.
We don't recommend nipple shields on a regular basis and many women find that they only cause additional latch issues (as it is an artificial nipple) and that they inhibit the milk ejection reflex/"let down" ultimately hurting supply.
If you want a good latch.
Initiate breastfeeding w/in 1 hr (sooner better) after birth, place the baby skin to skin and let your baby search for your breast. This is known as the "breast crawl" (google it). This gives your baby a chance to learn your breast and once you go into the delivery room, this is when you can practice (let baby practice first *this can take up to 2 hrs for self latch)
When you bring baby to breast in recovery. Make sure your baby is "chest to chest" "tummy to tummy" or "Breast to Chest" baby's ears, shoulders, and hips are alligned, the nipple is lined up w/ the baby's nose, they tilt their head back to latch and w/ a wide gape the baby is brought into the breast to take in plenty of areola and nipple. If it hurts, break the suction w/ a clean pinky in the corner of baby's mouth, and try again.
Taking a breastfeeding class helps, and you know you will always have us for any support or questions you may have.
Best of luck mama! Keep in touch.
Thank you so much for the advice it really helped. :)
I use a nipple shield because my nipples are flat and my baby is a week old and eats a lot.
i was given nipple shields by WIC, but i was having major problems with cracking and bleeding nipples, if this happens to you which i hope not (it didn't happen to me for 4/5 of my babies), but WIC told me after baby latches on to sneak in there and remove nipple shield once baby has that latch because it can cause issues with bf'ing. . And it is not painful the bf'ing it is sensitive a bit until you get used to it. my son is 1 month old and i am just now being able to enjoy it. after i finally learned how to get him to latch on correctly and he learned how to open his mouth more :)
you shouldn't need them though it is best to do it all natural, i only used the shields maybe twice... now nipple guards i did use and still do. they help when you crack or bleed and allow nips to breathe and not stick to clothes or the breast pads. which allowed me to heal quicker, also using a lot of Lasinoh Lanolin is a huge help and relief, you can also try gel pads i love them!!! if your worried about pain and stuff... it is not that bad though once y'all get used to it and you both learn together which is great, good luck!! :)
I have used nipple shields and i recommend to try w/o them.
i would say try them without. If you find you need them then so be it. Although they can be lifesavers for some moms (like myself) they are also more bothersome and messy... a HUGE turn off for me and only increased my anxiety and desire to stop using them!!!