A nipple shield is a nipple-shaped sheath worn over the areola and nipple during breastfeeding. Nipple shields are used in various situations: A mother's nipples can become sore or cracked from incorrect breastfeeding. A shield allows the mother to continue breastfeeding until her cracked nipples heal and she improves her latching technique. Some mothers have small or inverted nipples which make it difficult for the baby to latch on. Using a shield allows for feeding to progress until the baby's suction draws out the nipple.