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?