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Thread: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

  1. #1

    Default Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    My newborn is just under 2 weeks and we have been using a nipple shield. He seems to have issues getting latched, but once latched he does well. The nipple shield makes it easier for him to latch. I have been trying it without the nipple shield every once in a while, but he doesn't seem to be taking to it. I got him to nurse without it for about 30 seconds. Any suggestions on how to wean off of the nipple shield? Should I wait a little while longer? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jennabeau View Post
    My newborn is just under 2 weeks and we have been using a nipple shield. He seems to have issues getting latched, but once latched he does well. The nipple shield makes it easier for him to latch. I have been trying it without the nipple shield every once in a while, but he doesn't seem to be taking to it. I got him to nurse without it for about 30 seconds. Any suggestions on how to wean off of the nipple shield? Should I wait a little while longer? Thanks
    As long as there is no physical issue barring baby from being able to latch without the shield, there is not reason to not start trying to wean baby off. Don’t panic about getting off the shield but don’t just wait either, is my usually recommendation. Be patient but also persistent without stressing overmuch.

    I think it helps to understand why your baby can latch better with the shield. This will vary somewhat from baby to baby, but basically the idea is the shield gives baby a firm, protruding nipple to 'aim' for, and once in baby’s mouth this triggers an effective suck.

    So if a "flat" nipple is the issue, using a "nipple sandwich" latch technique, and trying firming up the nipples with manipulation or ice may help. Nursing will bring your nipple out more over time, as will pumping,. It is usually recommended that moms using shields pump frequently as shields have been found to contribute to poor milk transfer and low supply in some but not all cases.

    Also avoid/lessen any engorgement by nursing very, very frequently. Your baby cannot nurse too often. It is generally harder for a baby to latch onto a very full, hard breast, and frequent nursing helps keep the breast softer. Reverse pressure softening can help with latch if you are already engorged

    And try different positions, laid back being a particularly helpful position for a tricky latch, but some moms find the foot ball hold helps, others a cross cradle, etc. When it comes to positioning, think in terms of all your many options rather than a bunch of rules. There is no one right way to position a baby to nurse or to help baby latch-if nursing does not hurt you and baby is getting enough milk, it is good, and it does not matter what it looks like.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    We tried it again this morning and he was able to latch for about 15 minutes. It was wonderful. I had the nipple shield on to begin with, then removed it. I will continue to try. Thank you for support and response.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    I have some more questions. My LO arches quite a bit when I am trying to get him to latch. This causes much frustration. I have tried the laid back positioning, but he doesn't seem to like it. Right now I have found success with the boppy. I use cross cradle hold. He nurses all the time. It seems like almost every hour sometimes. He sleeps at night very well and usually takes a really long nap during the day and little tiny naps in between breast feedings. I usually have to wake him at night to nurse. First, any idea why the arching is occurring? I support his neck and shoulders with my hand. Though when I was in the hospital,.some well meaning nurses were holding his head. Second, does the frequency of nursing go down at some point? He will be 2 weeks on Sunday.
    Thanks
    Last edited by @llli*jennabeau; July 13th, 2012 at 02:45 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    I am not sure about the arching. It is common though for newborns to nurse nearly around the clock, at least every 2 hours. Their tummies are tiny and cannot hold much, plus BM is digested fairly quickly. As they grow and are able to take in more calories at one time, their feedings will space out more.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    Arching could be any number of things, could indicate a problem or not. Is it accompanied by crying, grimacing, baby seeming in pain? Does he pop off and does milk then spray or does he seem like he is coughing or choking, as if there is too much milk at once? Or is he arching back but staying latched and sort of pulling the breast with him as he moves around, or pushing back away from the breast with his arms? The first might indicate the issue is painful reflux, (pretty rare) the second forceful letdown, the third, that it's a positioning issue and/or he is trying to knead and cannot in the position he is in.

    Bobbies can be a great tool but can cause a couple issues. Baby's face can swivel slightly down into the crevice created where the boppy curves into your tummy, causing baby to pull down on the nipple, causing an off latch and pain for mom or frustration in baby. This can be remedied by rolling up a diaper cloth or small blanket and putting it into the crevace to level things out. Also, depending on mom's build, the Boppy can bring baby to the breast at too high or to low a spot, typically you want baby to be at the place your breast naturally lies. This can be corrected with a pillow or folded blanket underneath propping the boppy up or by you pushing the boppy lower on you as needed.

    When moms say they or baby have trouble with laid back, they are almost always laying back too far (for them.) Laid back just means that mom is reclined and supported, rather than bolt upright or leaning forward, both of which causes muscle strain in the back, neck and shoulders. The recline need not be by much to relax mom. And baby can be in any position, including cross cradle, and you can do it with the boppy too! In laid back, gravity works with you to hold baby to the breast more and there is less need to control babies head or shoulders and baby has more opportunity to hug the breast and knead, which decreases ‘breast fighting” or babies arms getting in the way. So I am thinking it may help with arching too, depending on why baby is arching. It's just generally way more comfortable for both mom and baby than mom sitting bolt upright or hunched over which is why I encourage moms to try it. It definitely can feel awkward at first and will require fine tuning.


    A baby this age NEEDS to nurse a MINIUMIM of 10-12 times a day. That is the minimum, way more than that would also be completely normal. In societies where there is little formula feeding and people do not think in terms of timing or counting feeds, babies nurse 20 + times a day. Nursing sessions occur basically around the clock, but if baby is nursing very frequently part of the day, then an occasional longer sleep stretch (up to 3-4 hours at a time) is normal. Any longer than that is unusual at this age but again, if baby is nursing very frequently the rest of the time and gaining that is also probably fine.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    He usually just arches away from the breast and his hands do kind of get in the way a bit. He usually is not crying, until he gets mad that he has not started nursing yet. He has been arching more lately, not just when I am trying to latch him. I will keep giving the laid back a try. I usually kind of hunch over him to get him latched, then we relax back. When I have tried to latch him in the laid back position he arches then too. I have had some success with side lying position.

    He nurses quite a bit in the early morning and then he again in the evenings (he cluster feeds at those times). Then he usually nurses every couple of hours during the day, sometimes a little longer in between. His output is great. He does sleep for a while in the first half of the night. I was waking him every 3 hours initially at night, then I took it to every four for the first part of the night. I called my doctor and she said I shouldn't have to wake him anymore, since he is past the two week mark. It makes me nervous. Last night he slept for 5 hours, then he woke up. He ate for a while (he usually nurses for about 30 to 45 minutes). Then he woke every 2 hours after that (at 4 and 6). He did cluster feed before going to sleep. When I was waking him, it took quite a bit of effort to get him to wake enough to nurse. He was so sleepy, he didn't want to latch. Then once latched he would keep falling back asleep. I would change his diaper to try and rouse him. Sometimes I would lay him back down to try and wake him up more, and then soon after he would wake up to nurse.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    This all sounds normal and like you are doing great! You will figure out the most comfortable positions for both of you as you go, and then change them as needed as baby grows. Sidelying is awesome and many moms like that position. soon you will not even need to think about it, you will just pop baby on there and go. It really is an 'art" and every mom and baby pair find their own ‘best’ way(s). I would not worry overmuch about the arching.

    Some babies are able to take longer sleep stretches very early on. My youngest did this-6 hours in the first week-and totally freaked me out! As long as baby is nursing very frequently the rest of the time, and there is no overuse of pacifiers or swaddling (which could cause a baby to sleep through their internal cues) this is likely perfectly normal and fine, it would also be normal for baby to start waking more frequently to nurse at night at some point.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    Thank you for the encouraging words and helpful information. I really appreciate the time you took to reply. It is a great relief to hear about the night sleeping. He does not like the pacifier and he is in a sleep sac at night. He seems very fond of having his arms out, so I don't swaddle him at night anymore. He sleeps in a co sleeper in our bed, so I feel like I am constantly checking in him. I am a FTM, so I feel like I am worried about so much. I am going to attend a breast feeding support group on Thursday. It is not LLL, there is not one in my area. The closest is about 40 minutes away. This forum had been invaluable to me. I also ordered the womanly art of breastfeeding, which has been helpful.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Weaning from a nipple shield, any suggestions

    Update for those interested:
    We are almost all the way weaned from the nipple shield. We don't use it at all on the left breast and we are getting there with the right one. It is almost as if he does not like the nipple shield. He won't latch very easy and he doesn't stay on all the time with the shield. I am very hopeful that we will be completely weaned in a couple weeks. From my perspective he seems to get more milk quicker without the shield, and he is figuring this out. He is all about getting the milk a quickly as he can when he first latches. Thanks for all the help.

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