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Thread: Weaning from nipple shield

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    138

    Default Weaning from nipple shield

    My daughter is almost 5 mos. old and I am still using a nipple shield. Her weight gain is appropriate and she always seems satisfied after eating - I often even still see milk left in the shield when she is done. So, I don't think that the shield is reducing milk transfer or that we are having any of the problems normally associated with the shield. Nonetheless, I want to wean her from the shield because I want to continue bfing her for an extended period of time and I just can't see using the shield while she is a mobile toddler - she is already batting it off me while eating. Also, she is becoming a more active nurser (eat for a minute, look around, eat for a minute . . . on and on!) and using the shield is making public nursing a nightmare because I don't have enough hands to handle her and the shield!
    I have tried to wean her from it before but have stopped for three reasons:
    1) She seems to reject the bare breast when she is fussy (generally right before bed);
    2) When I am fuller at night and feed her, my left breast shoots her in the face when she pulls off and it makes her really mad and wakes her up; and
    3) After a day of going without the shield my breasts are very tender and I am afraid that I will again be as sore as I was when she was a newborn and I was nursing her without the shield - I had bleeding nipples and a very painful start to nursing. Do breasts "toughen" with use or is this tenderness a sign of a bad latch?
    I have sought the help of lactation consultants in my area (non LLL), and haven't had much help - they seem to think it's not that big of a deal that she's on the shield b/c her weight gain is fine. So, any suggestions are greatly appreciated - thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Weaning from nipple shield

    Hi there..I used a nipple shield with my son because he just had the worst latch..The downside for me w/ the shield is that it made my nipples sore and when I switched to bare breast he hated it! I eventually got him to do it, but I had the same issue you did w/ fullness and it got to where I had to pump for a couple minutes before he nursed.
    We actually went to visit a LC a few times while weaning off the shield..maybe you could try that as well..
    I had to chucke when you were talking about that shield in public! I totally remember trying to get him on and the stupid thing would fall off LOL

    Tiffany

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Weaning from nipple shield

    oops, i just saw you said you didn't have much luck w/ the LC's there..if you can't find another one or a LLL , maybe you know of a mom who used to or does bf?? Sometimes that can help! If your nipples were bleeding and sore it sounds like the latch wasn't good..this happened with my son. I hope you can get someone to help you !!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: Weaning from nipple shield

    You may just want to use the shield in the evenings when you know she'll resist without it. Breasts are typically a bit tender when we start nursing and yes, they do "toughen up", so to speak. I like to use the analogy of new shoes -- new shoes may often be a bit uncomfortable and cause us some initial discomfort but as the shoes get broken in and our feet adjust to them, all of that uncomfortableness (is that a word?! LOL) goes away. If those shoes start giving us blisters or rubbing us raw then there's a problem. At this point, you can probably tell whether baby's latch is good or bad when she latches on. If it's a poor latch, unlatch her and latch her back on properly. If you need help in the latch department, let us know or call a local LLL Leader - she can help you.

    As for when you are fuller and your milk shoots out forcefully, you may just want to pump or hand express a bit until your milk let's down and then put baby to your breast.

    HTH & good luck! Let us know how it goes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Weaning from nipple shield

    i also used a shield and had a devil of a time weaning ds off of it. i continued to use it at night, when the battle wasn't worth it, for a couple of weeks after he was no longer using it during the day. i finally gave it up for good when i accidentally left it at my in-laws in maine when he was about six weeks. definitely express ahead of time to make your breasts pliable enough for a good latch. i am told football hold is best for this, but ds doesn't like that position, so we used cross cradle. really pay attention not just to the latch but to the position that your baby is in: ears, shoulders, hips, and feet should be in perfect allignment. relatch as many times as you have to: it is the only way that your child will get the idea that it has to be right. resist putting the shield on until you just can't stand the pain anymore. use every method available to heal your nipples as they re-damage from the efforts, especially the lanolin. i just bought some breastpads that have lanolin on them, altho they turn ds' face yellow when he nurses!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Weaning from nipple shield

    Thank you everyone for the help! It's been two days that I've been using the nipple shields only at night and when she's fussy. Most feedings have been without them. I am now sore again, but I expected this - I just hope it doesn't get any worse.
    As far as latch goes, sometimes she does well and sometimes it is bad. I find it hard to adjust her because she pops off and goes back on about every 3-5 seconds sometimes. Just when I get her on there right, she arches her back, pulls at the nipple (ouch!), and then pops off. I try to push her head in there tighter, but she just keeps arching back and fighting me. She is used to being able to pull back on the shield, so I bet that's where this behavior is coming from. She is 5 mos. and is quite strong, so short of hurting her, I can't really keep her in the correct position. Did I wait too long to fix her latch or is there still hope?
    Thanks again for everyone's help!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Weaning from nipple shield

    hey..ds was 4 months before he got the hang of it w/o the shield..maybe she just isn't use to the way the milk flows w/o the shield yet. don't give up

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