Breastfeeding is supposed to be natural, but it can be tricky for many moms. Whether it’s a tongue tie, latching issues or an overactive letdown, nipple shields can help. The shields act like an extension of the natural nipple, giving baby a larger target to latch onto and regulating the flow of milk.
Nipple shields are usually crafted from soft, flexible silicone to make them comfortable for both mother and baby. They’re also often BPA- and DEHP-free. Ideally, the shield should fit snugly and be easy to latch on to—but it shouldn’t pinch or cause any pain, says Spatz. It should also be able to be comfortably lifted off after feedings and sterilized before use.
If you’re not sure which nipple shield is the best for your needs, look for one that has a measuring tool to help you find the right size. Aim to measure your nipple, not your areola, and add four millimeters to get the best fit.
The Haakaa nipple shields, for example, offer a butterfly shape that suctions to the areola and has space between the nipples and the baby’s mouth so you can continue breastfeeding if your nipples or areola are sore.
Another option is Medela’s nipple shields, which are made from thin, soft silicone with a special cut-out to promote skin-to-skin contact during nursing sessions. They’re BPA- and DEHP-free and are a great choice for those who want to keep breastfeeding in the long term. Best nipple shield