Does my newborn (NICU baby) lose any benefits of breastfeeding when using a nipple shield?—Casey
No! The NICU is one of the places where there do seem to be significant benefits to breast milk. Infants consuming breast milk are at a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Importantly, this lower risk is present no matter how the milk is delivered. We know it’s efficacious because of research that used pumped (in some cases donated) breast milk.
By extension, using a nipple shield absolutely does not negate any of these benefits. Nipple shields can be incredibly effective at promoting a good latch, something that is often hard for premature infants. For some people, the amount of milk delivered is lower with a shield than without, though recent technology has improved this.
Very best of luck, and I hope you are all home very soon.