Best Nipple Shields Of 2020

One of the greatest challenges after birth is breastfeeding. Many mothers, especially first-time moms, have difficulties getting their baby to latch on and feed adequately.

While it's not something a lot of new parents like to talk about, it's definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. Your baby relies on you get all of their essential nutrients, so it's imperative that they have the ability to eat.

If you're experiencing problems with breastfeeding your baby, a nipple shield may be the solution you're after. The best nipple shields can make feeding much easier on your newborn by solving many common issues.

Reasons Why You May Need a Nipple Shield

The goal of a nipple shield is to give your little bundle of joy the opportunity to breastfeed normally. While breastfeeding comes naturally to babies, there are certain issues that could make it more difficult for your baby to get the milk that they need to grow.

Here are some of the most common reasons why you might want to use a nipple shield. Of course, it's always best to consult with a lactation expert for more personalized assistance.

Latching Difficulties

If you have a sick or premature baby, breastfeeding can become a huge challenge. Babies who aren't able to latch on efficiently won't be able to get enough milk. A nipple shield can solve this problem by doing a lot of the work for them.

The design of the shield creates suction automatically. This causes the nipple to stay everted. The added suction draws out milk, sending it to the artificial tip for your baby to suckle on. 

Tongue or Lip Ties

Tongue and lip ties are small pieces of connective tissue. Everyone has this tissue. If you lift your tongue up, you'll see a small vertical piece that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. It's also present on the upper lip. While it's very normal to have this tissue, some babies are born with ties that restrict movement.

These ties prevent your baby from having the full range of motion of their tongue, which, in turn, affects their ability to latch. Nipple shields may be able to solve this problem. A shallower latch can make it easier for them to feed.

Fast Feeding

Sometimes, breastfeeding can lead to potential choking hazards. This occurs when mothers have an overactive let-down. Essentially, this means that milk comes out fast and forcefully.

The best nipple shield can keep your baby safe while they feed by slowing down the flow. Because shields have a small cavity between your nipple and the artificial one, the flow of milk is controlled.

Nipple Shape

Flat or inverted nipples can make it incredibly difficult for babies to breastfeed. Not only is it harder to get milk from the nipples, but the lack of a protruding nipple on the top of the baby's mouth often causes them to stop sucking altogether. 

If you have flat nipples, they will not protrude when the skin is stretched. Inverted nipples retract further into the breast.

A nipple shield can create an artificial nipple that fits into your baby's mouth. The feeling of the nipple may keep your baby sucking, eventually drawing milk.

How to Get the Best Nipple Shields for Your Baby

Nipple shields are only effective if you get one that's right for your body and your baby. These breastfeeding accessories come in a variety of shapes and designs. Here are some things to consider before you make a purchase.

Material

There are a couple of different materials available. These include rubber and silicone. Silicone is often regarded as one of the best materials due to its strength, flexibility, and cleanliness.

It's important to consider the thickness of the material as well. Generally, the thinner a shield is, the easier it will be to create adequate suction.

Size

Like milk bottle nipples, you need to choose a shield size that's right for your baby. Most products are measured in millimeters.

You can measure the diameter of your own breast and choose a size accordingly. Keep your baby's mouth in mind as well. If your baby is on the smaller side, you may have to start with a shield that has a tinier nipple diameter.

Design

Most nipple shields are very simple in design. They look like standard funnels that are simply placed over your areola.

However, there are some newer design options. Many new moms prefer to get a shield with cutouts or contours. These shields don't cover as much of your breast, allowing for more skin-to-skin contact.

Accessories

Your nipple shield is going to be something that you use multiple times a day. It's important to keep it clean and protected. Go with products that have sanitary cases. Also, make sure that the shield is easy to clean by hand or in your dishwasher.

How to Use a Nipple Shield

There are a few different methods for putting the shield on your breast. The easiest way to do it is to first run it under some warm water.

This makes the material more pliable. Then, turn the shield inside out and place it directly over your nipple. Finally, peel it back to create a tight vacuum over your breast.

Latching your baby on to the shield may take some practice. Here's a guide to help you out.

Top Nipple Shield Options



Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shield

This Lansinoh nipples shield set is designed to be easy to use for both you and your baby. They're made out clear silicone.

The material is very thin and flexible, thus making it easier for smaller babies to latch onto. The thinness also helps to create a tighter fit around your breast.

The design of the shields has a small cutout on top. Your baby can rest his or her head on your breast as they feed.

That extra skin contact can help to strengthen your bond. A plastic protective case is included. Cleaning the shield is quite easy. The smooth silicone material is safe to clean in the sink with some warm water and antibacterial soap.

PROS

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    Made out of thin BPA- and BPS-free silicone
  • Set of two
  • Comes with protective case
  • Small cutout for more skin contact

CONS

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    Only available in two sizes

Medela Nipple Shield

The silicone nipple shields from Medela are great for addressing a number of different breastfeeding problems.

The shields feature four small holes that make it easy for babies to feed freely. Made out of BPA-free silicone, this option is very safe for your child. The material is easy to clean and flexible enough to get a secure seal around your nipple.

This particular shield measures approximately 24 milimeters in diameter. It's the standard size that's ideal for newborn babies. Like the previous shield, this product has a cutout shape for more contact with your baby.

PROS

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    24-mm size
  • Made of BPA-free silicone
  • Cutout design
  • Comes with shield

CONS

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    May be too large for smaller babies

Medela SoftShell Nipple Covers

Also from Medela are these SoftShell covers. While the previous Medela product was made to help with breastfeeding, this one is meant to provide you with more comfort when your baby is not eating. The shells can help your nipples recover if they are sore or cracked.

The rounded shape looks natural underneath clothing. The shells also have a low profile, ensuring that they don't stick up too much. Built-in ventilation holes prevent unnecessary sweating. To catch any leaks that may occur, the shells come with two foam inserts. They absorb any milk and can be cleaned out for reuse.

PROS

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    Soft backs for comfort
  • Ventilation holes
  • Reusable leak guards
  • Round and natural shape
  • Made of BPA-free polypropylene

CONS

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    Does not assist with breastfeeding

Medela Contact Nipple Shield

This nipple shield measures approximately 20 millimeters in diameter. It's considered to be a small size, making it a great option for premature babies who have difficulty latching on.

The shield can also be used for flat or inverted nipples. Like other Medela shields, this product is made out of BPA-free silicone. It's thin and easy to attach. While it doesn't come with a protective case to keep the shield clean when it's not in use, the silicone material can be cleaned by hand.

PROS

  • 20-mm size
  • Made out of BPA-free silicone
  • Cutout design
  • Thin and flexible

CONS

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    May be too small for larger babies
  • Does not come with case

Purifyou Premium Nipple Shield

The Purifyou nipple shields are a simple, yet effective way to help your child feed. Available in two sizes, the shields are contoured to follow the shape of your breast.

This helps to create a comfortable fit and tight vacuum seal. The material also helps to achieve this. The shield is made out of silicone that's BPA-free and latex-free.

Rather than being a full funnel, these shields have a cutout on the top so that your baby's face can touch your skin. While the shields don't come with a hard protective case, they do have a cotton drawstring bag.

PROS

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    Available in two sizes
  • Set of three
  • Made of BPA-free silicone
  • Includes cotton bag
  • Cutout design

CONS

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    Does not come with hard protective case

Conclusion

Nipple shields are an important investment that could affect your baby's health and well-being.

Before you choose a shield, you need to consult with a professional about your particular situation. All of these shields are great options for babies who need a bit of extra help feeding. However, the set from Lansinoh is a cut above the rest.

They have many of the same features as other options on this list. They're made out of silicone that's safe for your child and have a unique shape that allows for more bonding.

The great thing that sets these apart is the protective case. Hygiene and sanitation are very important when you're using a nipple shield.

The included case for these shields is large enough to fit the set without affecting its shape. The plastic case keeps the shields safe from damage while also reducing the chances of bacteria from forming.

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