Nipple shield styles

What style of nipple shield should I use?

Nipple shields may have a full rim, a rim that is cut out on one side, or a rim that is cut out on both sides. The cut-outs are designed to let the baby’s nose touch the breast, but the full-rim style may be easier for the mother to hold. Our clinic has also found that the part of the rim next to the cut-out sometimes pokes the baby and the rim of the cut-out can flip backward, irritating the underside of the baby’s nose. We prefer the full-rim style.

A) Nipple shield styles

Contact and regular styles of 24-millimetre nipple shields.

There are three styles of nipple shields. The nipple shield may have:

  • A full rim (regular nipple shield)
  • A cut-out section on one side of the rim (contact nipple shield)
  • A cut-out section on two opposite sides of the rim (double-contact nipple shield)

B) Choosing a nipple shield style

The style of the nipple shield, unlike the size of the cone, does not affect the amount of milk the baby receives. There is no research favouring one style over another.

The cut-out of the contact nipple shield is designed to let the baby’s nose touch the breast. This is said to allow the baby to smell the breast and feel its warmth. We have found the gap is often not lined to with the baby's nose which makes it pointless.

Our clinic has found that a regular nipple shield may be easier for the mother to use, since it is easier for her to hold. We have noticed that the part of the rim next to the cut-out section (the wing) of the contact nipple shield sometimes gently pokes the baby and the rim of the cut-out can flip backward and irritate the underside of the baby’s nose. For these reasons, we prefer regular nipple shields.