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Different Types of Nipple Shields
It can be overwhelming looking for a nipple shield with all the options out there. Some look really different too, which makes a mother believe that she must get just the right one. This is why I am breaking down the search for you, to provide mothers with the best nipple shields for easy breastfeeding.
RELATED POST: Easy Guide to Breastfeeding with a Nipple Shield
To make things ever more convenient, I have categorized the shields based on what you might be looking for:
- Smaller Nipples | Medela Contact Nipple Shield
- Larger Nipples | Mamivac Nipple Shield (by Spectra)
- Transitioning from Bottle to Breast | Haakaa Nipple Shield
- Preterm Babies | Purifyou Nipple Shield
- Tongue Ties | Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shield
Important factors to consider
After a brief overview of nipple shields, you’ll notice that they all fall into a few main categories. Many share very common descriptions so it can become quite easy to narrow down your search.
There are a few things you need to consider though before taking plunge and buying a nipple shield, because although they are cheap, they can be difficult to use properly.
- Size: Pick a nipple shield that give your it’s diameter. How to calculate what size nipple shield you need. Nipple shields should not be a one size fits all and you will notice the wrong size is the most common complaint i Amazon product reviews.
- Brand: Look for a brand that specializes in breastfeeding. This is easiest done by clicking on the brand name under the Amazon title for the product. This will pull up a page with other products this brand sells. (all products listed below are trusted companies)
- Lactation Consultant: Although many might skip this step, you will have most success with a nipple shield if you reach out to a lactation consultant. Check out Lactation Link as they offer both in person and virtual consultations.
- Material: Choose a nipple shield made of silicone. There are older models that used latex and rubber, but silicone is the best as it offers a thinner product and is more flexible. This will make the nipple shield fit better onto your breast.
All nipple shields recommended below, are made of silicone and are BPA free.
Best for Smaller Nipples
Medela Contact Nipple Shield
You have probably heard of the Medela brand before. Reason being that their breast pumps are very popular!
Medela offers one model of nipple shield but it comes in 3 sizes, 16mm, 20mm and 24mm. This is a big deal because many nipple shields are sold as a one size fit all. I think we know that there are many size breasts. In fact, the number one complaint of shields of this type that they are either too small or too large.
So how do you know what size to get? Measure the diameter of your nipple at is base, then add 4 additional mm. So if the diameter of your nipple at it’s base is 20mm, you buy a nipple shield that is 24mm.
The Medela nipple shield comes with a container which is an easy and effective way to keep the shield clean. At least in our house things are flying left and right, especially if there is a toddler in the house too!
Medela comes in 3 sizes: 16mm, 20mm, 24mm.
- 3 Different sizes
- General consensus on blogs this Medela is best
- Made by an established and trusted breast pump company
- Comes with a portable case (can also be purchased without case)
- Some feel frustruated that the shield wasn’t easy to use
- Reviews mentioned the shield not staying on properly
Best for Larger Nipples
Mamivac Nipple Shield (by Spectra)
Spectra is another one of those BIG trusted names within the breast pump industry. When you have a company that focuses so specifically on breastfeeding, I would feel safe trying their products in general. Spectra’s most popular product is the Spectra S1 Electric Breastpump.
This particular nipple shield has a very short teat which means that you can get your baby’s mouth as close as possible to your nipple. Having a shorter teat might make latching difficult for babies with lip / tongue ties, so keep that in mid when going for this brand.
The shield comes in 3 sizes just like the Medela nipple shields. 18mm, 24mm, 28mm. These are a good option if the Medela Large size (24mm) is not big enough. The nipple shields that relay the diameter information of the teat are more professional in my opinion as we know that nipple shields should not be a one size fit all product.
One of the reviews I read said that although she measured 30mm around the base of her nipple, the 28mm shield still worked great for her.
Mamivac comes in 3 sizes: 18mm, 24mm, 28mm.
- Made by an established brand
- Reviews mention Mamivac offering the thinnest shield.
- Largest size I’ve found online
- Comes with a container
- Thin material makes the suction onto breast a bit flimsy
- Its not clear what the container looks like (although it received positive reviews)
Best for Transitioning from Bottle to Breast
Haakaa Nipple Shield
I first learned about Haakaa through a mother’s Facebook group. The Haakaa’s manual breast pump is really helpful during those first months of breastfeeding, because it can contain all that extra leakage. It is very common to leak from the opposite breast while breastfeeding, therefore you pop this pump onto it with suction and during the letdown, the Haakaa will help empty the other side.
Haakaa also has a nipple shield, and if you look at it, it’s shape is very different from the others on the market. It has a much longer teat (nipple), and has an unusual curve to it. This longer design makes it easier for a baby to latch on which is helpful when transitioning from using a bottle to nursing at the breast.
Haakaa does not specify teat diameter. (I would guess it’s a middle ground. Maybe 20mm?)
- Orthodontic shape nipple makes it easier for baby to latch.
- Round base is supposed to stabilize shield onto breast.
- Longer teat makes it possible to see the milk accumulation as it flows to your baby.
- Is almost double as expensive as it’s competition.
- Reviews complain about teat being too far from the nipple, making it hard for newborns to get milk.
- Despite being made of thin silicone, many mothers felt is was still very bulky.
Best for Preterm Baby
Purifyou Nipple Shield
Nipple shields are used sometimes with preterm babies, because they are still too weak to properly latch on and suck. When choosing a nipple shield for your preterm baby, think about that it should be thin, so that it’s extra sensitive to your baby’s weaker gestures. At the same time, the teat should be a bit extennded so that latching is made easier.
Purifyou’s nipple shields are very thin and at the same time has a generously extended teat for your baby. The company itself focuses on products using organic materials and is not solely baby related. In general, I like to pick a product made by an authority in the field so ask a professional if you are unsure.
This is the only product so far that comes with a container that is aesthetically pleasing. The shields themselves come with one container, but you can buy other colors separately as well. The case can also be used to store pacifiers.
Purifyou comes in two sizes: 20mm, 24mm
- comes with 3 shields + a cute case (<– case can be used for pacifiers too)
- teat is slightly extended which helps newborns with weak suction
- Not a breastfeeding related brand
- base covers a lot of breast which reduced skin-skin with baby
Best for Skin-to-Skin Contact
Lansinoh Contact Nipple
Another company that specializes in baby feeding. This time around though they don’t sell electric breast pumps like Medela and Spectra. Lansinoh focuses on accessories to help with feeding. They have nipple creams, bottles, breast milk storage etc. I remember my nursing pads being made by Lansinoh and I really liked them.
Lansinoh’s nipple shields look a lot like Medela with their cut out around edge to increase skin contact with baby. (Many reviews complain about the models that don’t have this specific type of cut out).
However there is a divide between which of these two models (Lansinoh or Medela) that mothers like. It seems that at this point it is very much a question of breast and nipple physiology, however the Lansinoh seems to be made out of a thinner silicone.
Lansinoh comes in two sizes: 20mm and 24mm
- cut out at the top to increase skin to skin contact with baby
- trusted brand
- wholes are much smaller than Medela’s for mothers with heavy let down
- The wholes are small which can affect how much milk your baby is drinking
- Some reviews felt they were too flimsy
So here you go. A selection of brands that ultimately are offering a solution for the same list of issues, but that have developed slightly different approaches. Ultimately all these nipple shields are high quality and well-designed. The question is, which design fits your body the best?
If you had to pick one, the Medela seems to have the strongest reviews. Also, their customer support on Amazon replies to all negative reviews with a support number to resolve customer complaint. So if you for any reason you don’t like the medela nipple shield, it is relatively easy to contact the company with questions.
An important factor to consider is that many reviewers did not seem to have used the shield in conjunction with the support of a lactation consultant. We all know the benefits of breastfeeding, so we are eager to resolve latch issues quickly. However, it can be a real game changer to consult a specialist if you are struggling. Also, many purchased the shield for aid in painful nipples which is not what they are designed for.
If you are considering using a nipple shield, contact a certified lactation consultant for support in resolving the underlying issue for your baby’s latch. Check out Lactation Link. They offer both courses, in-person and on-line consultations with their lactation specialist team.
Have you used a nipple shield before, what brand was it?
See listed below the recommended nipple shields: