Nursing bra for mothers and Silicon nipples. moms bra with new disposable breast pad. Prevents the flow of milk on the clothes, it is convenient to unfasten the cups for feeding the baby.
Last updated: June 19, 2020

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Breastfeeding can often be a difficult task.  Problems can frequently present themselves, which can frustrate mothers and impede breastfeeding. For many of the problems that arise, nipple shields can help. That said, it is important to consult with a specialist before using nipple shields and whenever a challenge in breastfeeding appears.

Nipples shields are made of silicone, and protect the nipple to facilitate breastfeeding. Nipples shields are available in various sizes to protect and engage the nipple and help overcome common challenges with breastfeeding.

Key Facts

  • Nipple shields protect the nipple and promote successful breastfeeding. They help address challenges such as cracks in the nipple or difficulties with the baby latching.
  • The model you buy should be the right size so it stays secure.
  • Nipple shields are primarily manufactured with silicone which provides a thin cover that reduces barriers and lets you maintain closeness with your baby.

The best nipple shields on the Canadian market

There are many nipple shields on the Canadian market. It is important to choose the best one for you. In this section we present the best models to help you figure out which option is best for you.

Medela Contact Nipple Shield – 24mm

Medela’s Contact Nipple Shields are one of top solutions to breastfeeding challenges that we have found.  Due to their quality, they top our list of options.  They can help with breastfeeding difficulties including challenges latching, flat or inverted nipples, as well as soreness and irritation. These nipple shields promote continued nursing without interruption.

Medela’s Contact Nipple Shields facilitate closer contact. They are manufactured with pure silicon and without BPA. Medela’s Contact Nipple Shields are available in 16mm, 20mm and 24mm sizes.

purifyou Premium Nipple Shield, 20mm / 24mm Set of 3

puirfyou premium nipple shields offer an excellent and affordable option and are second on our list. The nipple shield comes only in one size 20mm.  They are built to stick well to the nipple, stay placed comfortably and also enable skin-to-skin contact with the baby. It provides excellent support in addressing challenges with latching to flat and inverted nipples.

Environmental quality is a high priority. Materials are non-toxic, BPA Free, BPS Free, latex free, phthalate free and lead free. They come in packs of three with a cotton bag that can be washed and re-used.

Small Nipple Shield, Incl Reuseable Storage Case; Retail, 4pk; Made by Maymom

Maymon nipple shields provide a solid solution for breastfeeding challenges.  They come in packages of four in sizes of 20 mm at the base and 13 mm near the top. These nipple shields are made to address latch on difficulties or flat and inverted nipples as well as to help stimulate breastfeeding.

The nipple shields include a cutout area for more contact between mother and baby.  They are made of a clear, thin, BPA free silicone material. It is important to note that this product will not fit every mother. Therefore it is imperative to consult your lactation specialist before purchasing this product.

Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shield

Lansinoh Contact Nipple shields are a great option due to their design and safe materials.  They are made to address latch-on challenges, flat or inverted nipples, tongue tie, lip tie, or overactive let-down.  They are built with a cut out to facilitate skin-to-skin contact with your baby.

Lansinoh nipple shields are manufactured with ultra-thin and flexible silicone. Their design maximizes skin-to-skin contact. Lansinoh nipple shields are BPA and BPS free. They come in 20mm and 24mm sizes.

Philips Avent SCF156/01 Nipple Protectors

Philips Avent Nipple Protectors are the final nipple protectors on our list and a solid option. They help overcome breastfeeding challenges by protecting sore or cracked nipples. They are made of ultra-fine, soft, odorless, taste-free silicone.

The silicone shield covers your nipples so your skin can heal. The shields are narrow, so the baby can still maintain contact with your skin while feeding. The shields can be sterilized by boiling or steaming them.  They are available in two sizes, small (15mm) and standard (21mm).

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about nipple shields

The use of these devices are growing as more mothers adopt them to counter some of the challenges that emerge when breastfeeding.  Nipple shields have improved over the years, becoming even thinner. This further reduces barriers with your baby and thus improves the breastfeeding experience.

breastfeeding. mother holding newborn baby in an embrace and breastfeed

breastfeeding. mother holding newborn baby in an embrace and breastfeed

What are nipple shields exactly?

Nipple shields protect the nipple when you are breastfeeding.  They are made from a thin layer of silicone and allow area for skin-to-skin contact. They are placed on the nipple creating a suction cup which prevents it from shifting.

Nipple shields are used to remedy problems with breastfeeding.  Before trying these devices, please consult a specialist if you are encountering breastfeeding difficulties. Professional help is vital to better understanding the situation.

What are nipple shields made of?

In the past, nipple shields were not recommended. This was largely due to the types of materials they were manufactured with – glass, ivory or silver. The second generation of manufacturers designed nipple shields with rubber and latex. However, these models were still problematic: they were hard and thick.

These days nipple shields are made exclusively of silicone, making them soft, thin and malleable. This enables them to have better placement and grip. This also prevents nipple shields from altering milk production or interfering with breastfeeding. They can also be used with premature babies.

Young mother holding her newborn child. Mom nursing baby. Woman and new born boy in white bedroom with rocking chair and blue crib. Nursery interior. Mother playing with laughing kid. Family at home

Nipple shields can be a great help to mothers.
(Source: Famveldman: 54640069/ 123rf.com)

How do you use nipple shields?

It is easy to use a nipple shield. First, place them properly so that they are well attached and do not create air pockets. Incorrect placement can cause discomfort.

This device needs to be cleaned with soap and water before each use. Then, it should be placed on the nipple and the areola, with the sides bending, placing the protector so that it seals and creates a vacuum. Once done, the liner should not move, and should be like a second skin.

For how long should you use nipple shields?

Medical practitioners recommend using nipple shields as a temporary device for as short a time as possible. It is better to use the natural method of breastfeeding. It is also easier for the mother to not have to worry about moving the shields from one side to another.  When trying to reduce their usage an additional option is to remove them after the baby has already fed for a while to get them used to feeding again without them.

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It is important to eliminate nipple shields when we know that the child can do without them. Even so, if it works and the mother is comfortable, it is a good way to achieve breastfeeding.

When should you use nipple shields?

Nipple shields are usually used to address certain types of breastfeeding challenges. These include problems with breastfeeding, breast rejection, feeding premature babies, and/or that discomfort is experienced during breastfeeding.

Always consult with a pediatrician, doctor or lactation professional if you are experiencing any one of these problems.

Peaceful loving young African mother sitting on bed and leaning on headboard while feeding baby with breast

Nipple shields often help with breastfeeding.
(Source: Konstantin Pelikh: 123550779/ 123rf.com)

What advantages are there of using nipple shields?

There are a range of opinions when it comes to nipple shields. We highlight here some of their advantages:

  • They allow the baby to latch onto the nipple more easily.
  • They limit pain during breastfeeding.
  • They protect the nipple from baby bites.
  • They facilitate breastfeeding if the baby is accustomed to a bottle.
  • The milk comes out more easily and the baby learns to feed more quickly.

Shopping criteria

When buying a nipple shield,  keep several criteria in mind. These will help us find the best option for our baby and find a quality item. Below, you will find the key things to take into account:

Materials

It is important that the nipple shield is made of excellent material. The material will affect how the device performs. There has been a variety of materials used in the past, but the one that offer the best results at present are silicone.  Silicone is a harder material, hypoallergenic and comes thin and flexible, which is more comfortable for the mother since they provide better breast adherence, and greater contact with the baby.

World Health Organisation

“The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, the introduction of age-appropriate foods thereafter, and the maintenance of breastfeeding up to 2 years or more”.

Size

The right size is vital. It will determine whether or not the baby will be able to feed. If it is too large, breastfeeding won’t work.  Usually shields are available in Small, Medium and Large. They can also be purchased by millimeters. In contrast, there are also standard models, for medium-sized nipples.

Thickness

It is important that the liner be as thin as possible to facilitate skin to skin contact with the baby. This will also facilitate better adherence. Silicone materials mean they can be made very thin.

Young beautiful mother, breastfeeding her newborn baby boy at night, dim light. Mom breastfeeding infant

The shield must be the correct size so that your baby can latch effectively.
(Source: Tatyana Tomsickova: 94504799/ 123rf.com)

Fit

Another factor for the shields is that they fit and hold well. It must be placed in the centre of the nipple to allow the baby to feed.

Quality-price ratio

Fortunately, these accessories are affordable, you can find good solutions between $10 and $15.

Summary

Thanks to their better design, nipple shields are growing in use. They are able to solve many problems in breastfeeding. These devices adapt to the nipple and areola and protect the nipple.  While breastfeeding, challenges are common.  The most frequent problems include cracks in the nipple, the baby being premature or general difficulty with breastfeeding. Previously, nipple shields were made of glass, ivory or rubber.  These days the gold standard is silicone.

We hope that this article has helped you decide whether to use nipple shields. Please leave any questions in the comments!

(Source of the featured image: Aleksandra Kuznecova: 81360756/ 123rf.com)

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