Transitioning off of the nipple shield
When we were in the hospital trying to establish breastfeeding, I was engorged and my nipples were pretty flat so one of the LCs brought us a soft silicone nipple shield to help our son latch. He was in the NICU and was being supplemented with formula so I'm sure he was also developing some nipple confusion issues, which was only made worse by using the nipple shield. I'm so irritated that we ever started with the dumb thing, but here we are 2 1/2 weeks later still using it. Now he's used to the plastic-y feel of it and the large area to latch on to, so trying to get him onto my bare breast is proving to be a challenge. I know that it's also encouraging bad habits - shallow latching (which is pinching and now causing me pain), popping on and off constantly... and he's probably swallowing a lot more air than he otherwise would as well. I want so badly to ditch this thing!
I've basically just been trying to "practice" with him in the middle of feedings by letting him get started with the shield to establish a milk flow and then removing it and encouraging him to latch on without it. Sometimes he'll latch on and nurse for a few minutes without it, sometimes he just fusses and won't latch, but in any case it never lasts for more than a few minutes.
Should I just keep on going with these "practice" sessions and hope that we can extend them little by little? Any suggestions for alternative weaning methods?
Re: Transitioning off of the nipple shie
This link has some ideas: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...an-shield.html. Keep trying! Eventually you'll get there.
Re: Transitioning off of the nipple shie
I used nipple shields with my oldest, at the time I felt I would not have bf without them, so I was grateful for them, but the things are annoying and I resented having to use them, especially since it also meant I was pumping like a madwoman. Ugh. In our case, we stopped using a shield after about a month total, and my son weaned off one side about a week earlier than the other. I agree that kellymom article has excellent ideas, you can also look at any “helping baby to latch’ tips. I also suggest you think about this process more like “I am helping my baby to latch & nurse” and less like “got to get rid of these darn shields!” The difference is entirely mental, one is positive ‘helping baby latch’ and the other negative “get rid of these darn things that are causing all these problems!” YMMV but I personally found that once I stopped resenting the shields I just felt better overall.
Don't get discouraged. Absolutely keep trying the "practice" sessions, keep try anything that works! Any time baby nurses-even for a short time, without the shields, is progress.
Have all the other barriers to a 'good latch' been resolved? No more engorgement? Are you still supplementing? The issues that created the 'need' for the shields (and I get it you think there was never really a need, which is likely true) but whatever was going on needs to be resolved or improved to the point that baby can nurse without the shield.
How about positioning? Some babies pop off because they are not comfortable in the nursing position, or because mom is pressing on babies head, or something else that is not really about the shield, although it can seem to be about the shield. It might be helpful to meet with a breastfeeding helper who can watch you nurse and give you ideas. You can do this for free with a LLL Leader at a LLL meeting (or see if a local Leader is able to meet with you) or you can hire an LC. Some places have free or lowcost lactation services for some moms. Ask your doctor, hospital or local LLL Leader, or get the name of a local LC and ask them! Even if you have a friend who is experienced at nursing they may be able to help.
You can also check into different positioning ideas here www.biologicalnurturing.com and here: http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html in particular, try nursing in a laid back position (with baby on top) and/or a side lying position (with baby beside you.) Some moms find it helps to nurse standing up at first. Basically, try anything you have not yet.
Nursing when baby is asleep may help too. Babies can latch and nurse in their sleep and many latch barriers are broken by nursing baby in sleep or when falling asleep or just waking.