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Thread: need help weaning baby off nipple shield

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    5

    Question need help weaning baby off nipple shield

    My son is 2 mos. At about 5 weeks he started getting really fussy and would not stay latched on for more than a few minutes. I thought he might not like the taste of my milk so I pumped and offered BM in a bottle (this was after days and days of him screaming his head off and me trying various other things) - he took it fine. I continued this for 3-4 days...big mistake! Made the problem even worse because he developed a preference for the bottle. We have struggled with BF and weight gain ever since. I saw a IBCLC at 7 wks. and she recommended a nipple shield. It has been working pretty well but now I am afraid I will never be able to wean him from this. I am so frustrated because I really want to be able to bf without it. I am able to latch him on but he will not suckle unless I have an immediate let-down. I have tried to remove the nipple shield in the middle of a feeding but as soon as the milk flow slows down he is angry again. I don't know what to do! I need to know how to keep him latched on until the next let-down. Also I have noticed his suckle is not as strong as it used to be so I am afraid he is not nursing effectively. The last couple of days he has nursed for 2-4 min. and just falls asleep. It is almost impossible to wake him back up. And he has been going much longer between feedings, 3-4 hours instead of 2-2 1/2 hrs. I know this is alot but any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    490

    Default Re: need help weaning baby off nipple shield

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel's Mom View Post
    My son is 2 mos. At about 5 weeks he started getting really fussy and would not stay latched on for more than a few minutes. I thought he might not like the taste of my milk so I pumped and offered BM in a bottle (this was after days and days of him screaming his head off and me trying various other things) - he took it fine. I continued this for 3-4 days...big mistake! Made the problem even worse because he developed a preference for the bottle. We have struggled with BF and weight gain ever since. I saw a IBCLC at 7 wks. and she recommended a nipple shield. It has been working pretty well but now I am afraid I will never be able to wean him from this. I am so frustrated because I really want to be able to bf without it. I am able to latch him on but he will not suckle unless I have an immediate let-down. I have tried to remove the nipple shield in the middle of a feeding but as soon as the milk flow slows down he is angry again. I don't know what to do! I need to know how to keep him latched on until the next let-down. Also I have noticed his suckle is not as strong as it used to be so I am afraid he is not nursing effectively. The last couple of days he has nursed for 2-4 min. and just falls asleep. It is almost impossible to wake him back up. And he has been going much longer between feedings, 3-4 hours instead of 2-2 1/2 hrs. I know this is alot but any help would be appreciated.
    I had similar problems in the beginning. We also introduced the bottle, and began a vicious cycle. I used the nipple shield because in trying to correct a low supply due to the introduction of bottles, I pumped and took fenugreek, and then had an oversupply. I went a little overboard! I used the nipple shield to slow down the flow and not "gag" LO. Long story short, the only thing that really helped was to stop using the shield completely. I'm not going to lie, it was a long and painful process, but I had faith that LO and I would work things out. LO is now 6 mo and everything is wonderful! It will take hard work and patience, but you two will work things out.

    If you are having a supply problem, the shield can inhibit your increasing your milk supply. The baby is much more efficient at the breast without the shield. The best thing to do, in my opinion, would be to keep going back to your LC and making sure you are producing enough, and if not, take measures to increase your supply, but ALWAYS put the baby to the breast first and try to avoid all "artificial" methods (bottles, formula, shield). To increase my supply, I would put LO to the breast, even if it wasn't the most successful session, then pump right afterward, then feed what I pumped if he still seemed hungry. I kept going back to my LC to see if I was producing enough. Eventually (probably over the course of a month) everything worked itself out.

    Hang in there. I know you are struggling and feeling like you don't know what to do, and might feel like giving up. My LO was soooo frustrated and angry like you described and it was heartbreaking. I just kept switching back and forth (even though they don't get as much hindmilk, but at least we were working on the latch and he was getting the letdown faster from the other breast than if he were to stay on one side). I can tell you, months later, that I would do it all over again to have what we have now. Sorry if this message is all over the place, but I wanted to quickly respond. Good luck

    "Kind hearts are the gardens, kind thoughts are the roots, kind words are the flowers, kind deeds are the fruits. Take care of your garden and keep out the weeds, fill it with sunshine, kind words and kind deeds." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Wife to my wonderful Simon
    Parenting my sweet Noah born 5.2.06 from the heart

    http://www.normalizebreastfeeding.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: need help weaning baby off nipple shield

    I can sympathize with your situation. My DD was a challenging nurser from the get-go. I had to use a nipple shield right off the bat for my left nipple, which was partially inverted. She was a fussy, unlatching, tantruming nurser for months. I hated the nipple shield too - it was so messy and inconvenient and ungratifying. I was very anxious to be rid of it but I tried to focus on the fact that at least she was nursing from that breast, which she had been refusing, and exercise patience. I also made the mistake of giving her bottles pretty early, because most people told me that nipple confusion was a myth, and I wanted to be free to go out and leave a bottle for her. However, I think that nipple confusion is VERY REAL for babies that are already fussy and challenging nursers. She showed the same behaviors - screaming at me until the first let-down, unlatching to protest when the flow slowed down, etc. I have to be honest and tell you I have no real good news for you. The only thing that helped us was perserverence and time. She was able to wean off the nipple shield at about 2 months. I would just experiment with taking it off from time to time, just to see how she would do. Or sometimes I would start the session with it off but keep it right next to me to slip it on quickly should she freak out, which happened often. I had to resolve to just experiment and not be mad or disappointed if she had a bad session. She continued to be challenging from time to time over the following two months - I never could figure out the problem - gas? OALD? nipple confusion? I stopped trying to figure out the problem because the solution was always the same - be patient, resourceful, and calm. Don't take it personally and keep at it. Now I am happy to say she is four months old and for the past two weeks has been nursing like an angel. I am trying not to get my hopes up that this is finally the light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we may be on our way to finally enjoying our breastfeeding relationship. I try to think of the fact that I have at least 8 more months of easier nursing ahead of me, so the prior four months were worth it. I don't know if this helps at all, but your baby just sounds so much like my DD, I had to share. Good luck and hang in there!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: need help weaning baby off nipple shield

    My son was a preemie and we used the shield for about 1-2 months. I would always offer the breast without it, if he freaked I would express milk into the shield and let him nurse with it on-then eventually I just expressed milk directly into his mouth and he latched on without it. Just don't give up

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,967

    Default Re: need help weaning baby off nipple shield

    I will say that your experience sounds a whole lot more challeging than the one that I faced but either way- nipple shields are no fun! PP's have already given great adviced but I can't stress enough to just give it time and keep trying. It seems like it will never get better but it definitely will. He might not like the slower flow for now but eventually he will find that nursing without the shield is much more effecient and will prefer it. Try it without at times when he is happy and not overly hungry so that he won't get too frustrated. Hang in there.

    Misty
    Loving my two sweet girls Audrey (7/18/06) and Annie (6/18/09) Baby #3 due to appear 8/5/10

    Feel free to ask me about my successful HBAC , food allergies, cloth diapers, and the joy of having a high-needs, non-sleeping little dear who has grown into a wonderful preschooler.

    Blogging here.

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