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Breastfeeding can be hard. It is common to encounter several problems which can frustrate mothers and prevent them from feeding their child. For many challenges, nipple shields can help. That said, it is important to consult with a specialist before using nipple shields.
Nipples shields are made of silicone, and protect the nipple in order to allow breastfeeding. They are available in different sizes and thicknesses, to engage the nipple and facilitate more comfortable breastfeeding.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best nipple shields on the US market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about nipple shields
- 4 Shopping criteria
- 5 Summary
- Nipple shields are used to protect the nipple and promote successful breastfeeding. They help counter common issues with breastfeeding, such as cracks in the nipple or challenges with the baby latching.
- When buying this device consider several criteria. The model should fit so it secures well.
- Nipple shields are made mainly out of silicone which provides a thin cover that still lets you bond with your baby.
Ranking: The best nipple shields on the US market
There are a range of nipple shields on the market, so it is important to find the best one for you. In this next section we present the top models and their features to help you figure out which option is best suited to you.
No. 1: Medela Nipple Shield, 20mm, Size Small
Medela’s Contact Nipple Shields are one of the most popular lactation solutions at the moment and top our list due to their quality and price. They can be an effective tool for addressing breastfeeding latching difficulties, overactive letdowns, flat or inverted nipples, as well as soreness and irritation. These nipple shields promote continued nursing without interruption.
They are designed to encourage closer contact and are available in a range of sizes for effective feeding and comfort. They are made without BPA. Medela also offers contact nipple shields 16mm, 20mm and 24mm sizes.
No. 2: purifyou Premium Nipple Shield, 20mm / 24mm Set of 3
Second on our list are premium nipple shields by puirfyou. These are affordable and excellent quality nipple shields that are well regarded. The nipple shield is 20mm (0.78in) in diameter and designed to optimally adhere, while still enabling skin-to-skin contact with the baby. The length and unique shape of the nipple is also designed to assist with difficult moments in breastfeeding, from latch on difficulties to flat and inverted nipples.
The set of 3 silicone nipple shields are manufactured in a facility free from harmful chemicals. The nipple shields are non-toxic, BPA Free, BPS Free, latex free, phthalate free, lead free, and worry free. The set of three come with a soft cotton drawstring bag that is reusable. Purifyou offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
No. 3: Haakaa Nipple Shield
Haakaa Nipple shield are another solid solution for breastfeeding difficulties. They have a patented one-piece design with no joints, cracks or edges. The nipple head design allows baby to mimic a natural sucking rhythm, making it easier for those who are having difficulty latching. Additionally, the symmetrical butterfly design, makes it lighter and easier for to hold in place.
The variable nipple design prevents baby from choking when milk flows too fast. Also, the space between the nipple and nipple shield head prevents baby from biting nipple. The Haakaa Nipple shield are 100% High Quality Food Grade Silicone, BPA PVC and Phthalate Free.
No. 4: Lansinoh Contact Nipple Shield
Lansinoh Contact Nipple shields are an effective and affordable option and have a well deserved place on our list of top products. They can be used for addressing short term latch-on issues related to premature, small, or ill infants, flat or inverted nipples, tongue tie, lip tie, or overactive let-down. They are especially designed with a cut out to maximize skin-to-skin contact.
Lansinoh nipple shields are made of ultra-thin, soft 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.
No. 5: Philips Avent SCF156/01 Nipple Protectors
Philips Avent Nipple Protectors are also a solid solution and one of the least expensive options on our list. They help address the challenges of breastfeeding by protecting sore or cracked nipples. They are made of ultra-fine, soft, odorless, taste-free silicone.
The nipple protectors let you nurse comfortably. The silicone shield covers your nipples so your skin can heal, and when the baby’s latch-on, the shield creates a seal, letting your child nurse through the shield’s three holes. The shields are narrow, so the baby can still connect 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
These devices are increasingly being used by mothers to address some of the challenges with breastfeeding. Nipple shields have improved over the years, becoming even thinner almost like a new layer of skin. This improves the breastfeeding experience.
What are nipple shields exactly?
Nipple shields are accessories that protect the nipple when you are breastfeeding. For the most part, they are made from silicone and are extremely thin to allow skin-to-skin contact. They are placed on the nipple in order to fit well on the areola, creating a suction cup which prevents it from shifting.
Nipple shields are used to address problems with breastfeeding. As a first step, you should always see a specialist if you are encountering challenges. Professional help is the most important step in understanding the situation.
What are nipple shields made of?
In the past, nipple shields were frowned upon. This was largely because the materials were glass, ivory or silver based. More recently, manufacturers began making them from rubber and latex. However, these early models had something in common: they were very hard and thick.
Currently nipple shields are made exclusively of silicone, making them soft, thin and malleable. This provides them better placement and grip. This also means the nipple shields will not alter milk production or interfere with breastfeeding. They can even be used with premature babies.
How do you use nipple shields?
It is easy to use a nipple shield. First, position them well so that they do not move create air pockets, or fall off. Improper placement can cause discomfort for the mother.
This device, must be washed 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?
Currently, experts recommend using them as a temporary device for as short a time as possible. This is because it is better to use the natural method of breastfeeding whenever possible. It is also easier for the mother to not have to worry about moving the shields from one side to another. Another option is to gradually remove them after the baby has already fed for a while to get them used to feeding without them.
When should you use nipple shields?
This device is usually linked to certain types of breastfeeding problems. These include when the baby has problems breastfeeding, that they reject the breast after starting to breastfeed, that the baby is premature, and/or that pain is experienced during breastfeeding.
Always consult with a pediatrician, doctor or lactation professional if you are experiencing any of these problems. Nipple shields can often be a useful tool to help with latching and improving breastfeeding.
What advantages are there of using nipple shields?
There are a range of opinions when it comes to nipple shields. We have collected some of its advantages, which you can see in the following list:
- They allow the baby to latch onto the nipple more easily.
- They limit discomfort during breastfeeding.
- They protect the nipple from bites when the baby has teeth.
- They allow the baby to breastfeed if they are accustomed to the bottle.
- The milk comes out more easily and the baby learns to feed more quickly.
When buying a nipple shield, it is important to keep several things in mind. These notions will allow us to find the best option for our baby and find a safe and quality item. Below, you will find the key things to take into account:
- Quality-price ratio
It is important that the nipple shield is made of high quality material. The material will affect how the device performs as well as its comfort. 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 inevitably more comfortable for the mother since they have better breast adherence, and greater contact with the baby.
The right size is critical as it will determine whether or not the baby will be able to feed. If it is too large, it will move around and breastfeeding won’t work. Usually shields are available in Small, Medium and Large. They can also be purchased by millimeters, which is much more precise. In contrast, there are also standard models, for medium-sized nipples.
It is important that the liner is 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.
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.
Fortunately, these accessories are affordable, you can find good solutions for $10 to $15.
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 difficulties with breastfeeding. Previously, nipple shields were made of glass, ivory or rubber, nowadays silicone is used, which is much more effective.
We hope that this article has helped you decide whether to use nipple shields, you can leave any questions in the comments!
(Source of the featured image: Aleksandra Kuznecova: 81360756/ 123rf.com)