The 9 Best Nipple Shields of 2021

Improve your breastfeeding experience

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It’s no secret breastfeeding can be difficult for many women, especially during those early days after birth. That’s why many women turn to nipple shields to help with their breastfeeding journey. The thin-shaped shields simply fit over the nipple and help baby get a more effective suckle if they weren’t without one.

Finding the right nipple shield can be difficult, though, as they come in different sizes, so it’s important to know how to find the correct size for you. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the material and comfort to ensure baby is getting enough milk and you’re feeling relaxed. 

Here are some of the best nipple shields on the market to be on the lookout for.

Our Top Picks
These shields are specially designed to maximize the amount of skin-to-skin contact between a nursing mother and her baby.
They act as silicone cushions that stimulate the areola while, at the same time, protecting sore nipples.
With perforated edges for a comfortable fit, these shields—which come in a clear carrying case—can help feeding times go smoother.
Best Full Coverage:
haakaa Nipple Shield at Amazon
Put space between your nipple and your baby’s mouth, with these unique, bottle-shaped nipple shields.
Best for Flat or Inverted Nipples:
NUK Barely There Nipple Shield at Amazon
These shields have a triangular design with raised ridges around the base that help them stay in place and stimulate milk flow.
Best for Latching Issues:
MAM Nipple Shields at Amazon
Made of soft silicone, these shields are shaped like a pacifier, and have raised dots at the base that stimulate milk flow.
This one-two-punch of shells and shields help you get the most out of each and every breastfeeding session.
Best for Problems with Supply:
ARDO Medical Tulips Nipple Shields at Amazon
These thin and pliable nipple shields help correct your baby’s latch, and stimulate your body to produce more milk.
These nipple shields are easier for babies with tongue ties to latch onto and protect mom's nipples from an incorrect latch.

Best Overall: Medela Contact Nipple Shield

nipple shield

Specially designed to maximize the amount of skin-to-skin contact between a nursing mother and her baby, the Medela Contact Nipple Shields are made from BPA-free, thin silicone. The innovative cut-out shape allows the baby’s nose to make contact with his or her mother’s skin.

Medela Contact Nipple Shields come in three different sizes to accommodate different nipple shapes—16 millimeters, 20 millimeters, and 24 millimeters. Users of the nipple shield should consult a lactation consultant or specialist to determine what size works best for their body.

The soft silicone protects sore breasts and allows breastfeeding to continue with less pain on the part of the mother. Users on Amazon rave that these nipple shields were a lifesaver during the first few months of breastfeeding.  

Sizes: 16, 20, and 24 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 1 or 2

Best Budget: BPNHNA Silicone Contact Nipple Shield

Composed of food-grade silicone, the Bonana Silicone Contact Nipple Shield acts as a silicone cushion that stimulates the areola while, at the same time, protecting sore nipples. Four holes at the tip allow for controlled milk flow into the baby’s mouth. These holes also provide air circulation to give relief to cracked or bleeding nipples.

Additional features include a carrying case for storing the product, as well as a range of sizes to fit your nipple. Reviewers on Amazon note that the Bonana nipple shields are very comfortable to use.

Sizes: 20 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 2

Best With Case: purifyou Premium Nipple Shield

It’s late at night and your baby starving—again. The last thing you want to do is root around for a nipple shield you’re not even sure is clean, while the pitches of your baby’s hungry cry become more and more frantic. For that reason, the purifyou Premium nipple shield, which comes with a clear pacifier case, is your best bet.

Made of food-grade silicone, the nipple shields have perforated ridges on the base where the nipple meets the areola, allowing for a comfortable fit. Reviewers note that the purifyou nipple shields are durable, and made a marked improvement in difficult breastfeeding experiences.  

Sizes: 20 and 24 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 3

Best Full Coverage: haakaa Nipple Shield

The patented design of the Haakaa Nipple Shield puts space between your nipple and your baby’s mouth, making it ideal if you are experiencing nipple soreness, or have a baby who bites down while nursing. With a butterfly shape that suctions to your areola, the Haakaa Nipple Shield resembles the nipple on a bottle, and works with all breast sizes. The symmetrical design and anti-slip ridges on the outer edges make the nipple shield easy to hold down while a baby latches.

The nipple itself is designed to allow a consistent, but not too strong, flow of milk and has air holes to prevent gas bubbles from being ingested by a nursing infant—which can lead to colic, among other conditions. Reviewers rave that the Haakaa nipple shield suctioned well to their breasts, and was great for preemies, babies with latch issues, and moms painful nipples alike. 

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 1

Best for Flat or Inverted Nipples: NUK Barely There Nipple Shield with Case

NUK Barely There Nipple Shield with Case

One of the difficulties of breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples is that they don’t stimulate a newborn’s suck reflex as well as a finger, pacifier, or bottle—they just don’t reach the soft palette of a baby’s mouth. That’s why a nipple shield can really aid a breastfeeding mom with small, flat, or inverted nipples.

The NUK Barely There Nipple Shield has a triangular design with raised ridges around the base that both stimulate milk flow and help the nipples to stay in place. Moms with inverted nipples say that hard nipple shields can be difficult to keep in place, but the NUK Barely There Nipple Shield, which is made from soft, pliable silicone, holds suction well. Mothers with large breasts also praised the product.

Sizes: 24 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 1

Best for Latching Issues: MAM Nipple Shields

There are a plethora of reasons why your baby may have difficulties latching, among them the size of his or her mouth relative to your nipple size, a resistance to a strong letdown, or a tongue tie. A nipple shield can really help with latching problems by providing the perfect base for your baby to latch onto, while at the same time regulating the flow of milk.

MAM Nipple Shields are a great product for any and all nipple problems. Made of soft silicone, the Nipple Shields are shaped like a pacifier, and have raised dots at the base that stimulate milk flow. Reviewers say that they preferred MAM to other brands when it came to fixing a problematic latch.

Sizes: 23 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 1

Best for Newborn: Cradle Plus Nipple Shield and Breast Shell

The Cradle Shell nipple shield and breast shell set offers two immediate solutions for breastfeeding problems. The two nipple shields, which are made from silicone, help improve latch and protect sensitive nipples. They help ease—and even prevent—the painful cracking and chafing of nipples that often accompanies the first few weeks of breastfeeding. The shields come with a carrying case to keep them clean and make them easier to store.

The breast shells can be worn to collect letdown from the opposite breast of the one you’re nursing on so that none of your milk will go to waste. You can store the collected breastmilk for later, or use it soothe your cracked and dry nipples after breastfeeding.

Sizes: 24 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 2

Best for Problems with Supply: ARDO Medical Tulips Contact Nipple Shields

There are a variety of reasons why your body might not produce enough milk at the beginning of your breastfeeding experience, among them that your baby’s suck isn’t strong enough to signal to your body that it needs to produce milk. The Ardo Medical Tulips Contact Nipple Shields help correct your baby’s latch, and stimulate your body to produce more milk.

The nipple shields come in two sizes—20 millimeters and 24 millimeters—to fit various nipple sizes. Reviewers note that the nipple shield is slightly more pliable than others, allowing your baby to get a more comfortable latch. An added bonus? The nipple shields come with a case so they'll stay clean if you need to toss them into your diaper bag.

Sizes: 16, 20, or 24 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 2

Best for Tongue-Ties: Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shield

A tongue-tie is a condition in which a tight band of tissue tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth, making it difficult for a baby to properly latch onto a nipple while breastfeeding. The latch of babies with tongues ties is unusually shallow, causing immense discomfort and pain for mothers and frustration for babies. Nipple shields are easier for babies with tongue ties to latch onto, and they also protect the mother’s nipple.

Made from soft, flexible silicone, the Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shield has a special cut-out design to maximize skin to skin contact between mother and baby. Mothers who had babies with tongue ties rave that the Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shields feel the closest to not wearing anything at all, and helped moms continue to breastfeed, even when they were ready to give up. 

Sizes: 20 or 24 millimeters | Material: Silicone | Quantity: 2

Check out our Best Overall pick, the Medela Contact Nipple Shield (view at Amazon), if you’re needing size options. The innovative cut-out shape, which comes in sizes 16, 20, or 24 millimeters, allows the baby’s nose to make contact with his or her mother’s skin. With a butterfly shape that suctions to your areola, the Haakaa Nipple Shield (view at Amazon) resembles the nipple on a bottle, and works with all breast sizes.

What to Look for When Buying a Nipple Shield

Sizing 

At first, glance, finding the right nipple shield size can feel intimidating. Between the different sizes available on the market, it can be difficult to determine which size will fit best. Finding the right size will not only ensure you are comfortable, but it also ensures the nipple shield is efficient in helping the baby feed.

To determine your nipple shield size, grab a ruler or measuring tape and measure the diameter of your nipple at the base, but be sure to not include the areola and measure in millimeters. If you find yourself confused, just remember that 1 centimeter is equivalent to 3 millimeters.  

“Selecting the right size shield is important for many reasons. When the shield size closely matches your own nipple, it may help your baby transition to your breast without the use of a shield later,” Amy Peterson, IBCLC and Evenflo Feeding Infant Feeding Consultant, tells Verywell Family. “With the right shield size, your baby may be able to get more breast into his mouth; babies should latch onto the nipple and the areola. Some babies have a hard time latching beyond the nipple portion of the shield, particularly if it’s too big. Sucking on the nipple alone does not stimulate milk supply.”

Material

When you’re shopping for a nipple shield, you’ll notice nearly all of them are made of silicone. For those who have an allergy against silicone, or sensitive skin, it may be best to shop for a non-silicone nipple shield. If you have no issues using silicone, there are many benefits to the material. 

Silicone is a great material for a nipple shield as it’s water-resistant and flexible, allowing the shield to fit perfectly and comfortably. It’s also more durable, so the shield should last throughout your breastfeeding journey. And, when compared to a material like plastic, it’s more eco-friendly, too. 

Comfort

You and baby feeling comfortable goes hand-in-hand with finding the correct nipple shield size. If you have the incorrect size, you may experience more pain and baby might not get a great feed. Be sure to buy your correct size to ensure you both feel extra comfortable. 

If the wrong size shield is used, that can affect just how much milk a baby is able to get. For example, if the shield is too big, a baby may have to try harder during feeding and not get a proper amount of milk. Ensuring you’re both comfortable will make the experience better in the long run. 

FAQs

What is a nipple shield?

 A nipple shield is a nipple-shaped piece that covers the nipple during breastfeeding to help with pain, soreness, and feeding for baby. They are typically made of silicone, flexible, and have holes at the end of the nipple area to allow breast milk to pass through to baby. They’re great for those who are experiencing sore nipples, have flat/inverted nipples, or if baby is not getting a great feed. 

“Nipple shields are a great tool in that they keep the baby feeding at the breast,” Peterson says. “When a baby has a good latch and good milk transfer, pumping after feeding and/or topping off won’t be needed. Other times shields are particularly helpful is if a baby is born early or has low tone or oral motor weakness; the shield helps this babies feed more effectively and fatigue less.”

How do I know if I need a nipple shield? 

There are many reasons why a person will need to use a nipple shield during breastfeeding. In fact, many new moms use nipple shields during the early days after birth to help with soreness and feeding. 

You may need a nipple shield if you have flat or inverted nipples, your little one has a tongue-tie, your baby was born premature, or if you simply are sore from breastfeeding. A nipple shield can offer support and relief for these different reasons, and they’re worth trying if you find yourself struggling with breastfeeding. 

“To find the best size nipple shield, measure the base of your nipple, where the nipple meets the areola,”  Peterson says. “Measure in millimeters, then add about 4 mm to this measurement—this allows for nipple expansion while your baby sucks. Remember to round up when selecting a shield.”

How do I use a nipple shield?  

Once you’ve found the correct nipple shield size, you’ll want to get it a little bit wet with breast milk so it sticks better. Then, you’ll place it directly over your breast, ensuring your nipple is placed in the center of the shield. You don’t want too much areola included in the shield as that may affect feeding efficiency. 

“The shield is too small if mom’s nipple expands and fills the entire tip of the shield or if it pulls through the holes on the tip (ouch!),” Peterson explains. “The shield is too large if there is lots of space between mom’s nipple and the shield, or if baby is unable to latch onto the nipple and areola.”

Once you decide to wean from the nipple shield, you can try removing the shield during a feeding earlier and earlier each time so baby can get an idea of what it’s like without it.

Why Trust Verywell Family 

Katrina Cossey has been a digital content producer and news and feature writer for more than six years. She has covered topics ranging from local and national news as well as writing and researching parenting content. Katrina is a parent herself and found a nipple shield to be a lifesaver while on her own breastfeeding journey. It helped relieve the pain and soreness during those early days of breastfeeding.

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2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nipple shields. La Leche League GB.

  2. Breast shield sizing: how to get the best fit. Medela.