Tue. Nov 29th, 2022
Nipple shields for breastfeeding: types and sizes

We tell you what exactly breastfeeding nipple shields are, what they are for, what types exist and how and when you should use them.

Nursing  nipple shields are  used to protect the nipples and make it easier for your baby to breastfeed.

Sometimes, during the first weeks, cracks appear in the nipple that are accompanied by great pain during feedings. Nipple shields isolate the cracked nipple from direct contact with the newborn’s mouth, making it easier to latch on when the nipple is not formed and helping to continue breastfeeding.

So if you want to continue to breastfeed while the cracks heal, the baby adjusts and you learn to breastfeed, this article is of great use. We tell you what you should keep in mind when buying a nipple shield for breastfeeding.


The main reasons why nipple shields are used for breastfeeding are:

Nipple cracks and mastitis

Cracks form in the nipple that do not heal and make breastfeeding more painful. The use of nipple shields can help reduce friction with the nipple and at the same time the cracks heal.

The baby does not latch on well

Using nipple shields can prevent the expression of milk to give it to the baby later with the bottle. Sometimes, the baby has a very short frenulum, so it latches poorly on the chest and hurts you. While this problem is solved, the nipple shields can help you so that the breast is not damaged.

The baby refuses the bottle

If, for whatever reason, your baby has started to take a bottle and then you want him to breastfeed, it is likely that he will not want to and will reject it. The nipple shield can be a step between bottle-feeding and breast-feeding.

Baby facial malformations

There are some types of malformations that prevent the newborn from being able to latch on well to the breast, causing discomfort when breastfeeding. Check out our parenting site for more and great ideas for your new born.


We can find various types of liners on the market that can be classified depending on their composition:

latex liners

This guy is very flexible and we can say that he has the best touch. The negative part is that you must bear in mind that both you and your baby may be allergic to this material.

silicone liners

This material is harder and can be more difficult for the baby to suckle. The best part is that these types of nipple shields are hypoallergenic, so it is a material that is unlikely to cause allergic reactions.

Currently, silicone liners are soft and thin, adapting correctly to the nipple. These reasons have made them gain more and more ground over latex ones.

Another type are the forming liners, which help in the formation of the nipple.


When buying nipple shields for breastfeeding, apart from choosing the type that suits you best, you must be clear about the measurement and size, since not all people have the same one. To do this, you should look at the diameter of the nipples.

Each brand may have its own sizes and may vary slightly from one brand to another. However, there are 3 standard measures:

  • Size 16 mm: Intended for premature or newborn babies, as well as mothers with small nipples.
  • Size 20 mm: For medium nipples or newborn babies.
  • Size 24 mm: For large newborn babies, older babies and for large nipples.

To finish, you should know that the ideal is that the nipple shields for breastfeeding are for a specific moment in which there is a problem, so the ideal is to remove them as soon as possible. This is because by having less mouth-nipple contact, the stimulus on it is less and can cause a decrease in milk production . In addition, it can make feedings longer and make it more difficult for the baby to remove milk