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Thread: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    10

    Default Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    So, I'm currently trying to wean my 8 week old off the nipple shield but have decided to ease the "pressure" off the both of us and I've decided (after much inner turmoil) to not rush it. NO MATTER how long it takes.
    Me wanting to get him off it so quickly nearly made me give up on breastfeeding all together. I had started giving him bottles of formula to ease my stress because I felt like he was never full/satisfied after nursing off me.
    And I quit pumping when I gave bottles of formula. I was prepared to transition to formula completely. I had seen a lactation consultant about it and we got him to latch and so I've been practicing when he wasn't feeling upset and frustrated.

    Anyway, yesterday I spoke with a friend over FB to find out she, too, was on the nipple shield for 6 months before her LO latched without it. Even though that's a terribly long time, it gave me hope that I COULD push through it all.

    So, starting very early this morning, I've put him to the breast EVERY time he fussed. I'm wanting him to build my supply b/c I'm almost certain I've damaged it. I went a long time without letting him nurse on a normal schedule- I was giving bottles instead.

    However, he isn't quite getting full but he isn't super fussy either. He'll nurse until he falls asleep and I'll take him off and he'll wake up- but he's ok. He lays in his crib and chews on his fists, I can still pick him up and put him to me and he'll try to nurse and get frustrated when nothing comes out.

    I DID give him a bottle before bed, but only after letting him nurse for well over half an hour on both sides. I really, REALLY, want to get my supply up high enough that he can get full off me. He never really has been able to do that- he's been supplimented with formula since he was born because he wouldn't latch and they hadn't gotten me to a Lactation Consultant yet- so they had me pumping every 3 hours and putting the colostrum in his bottles.

    Maybe that hurt me? I am drinking Mother's Milk tea and trying to stay hydrated- anything else I can be doing? Any suggestions? Encouragement? Anyone else been here before?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,473

    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    You are almost certain your production is low. And it may be, but many mothers believe they do not make enough milk and it is usually an unfounded fear. What is your evidence? When weaning a baby off supplemental bottles, it is important to try to limit supplementing to what is truly needed. Going by baby's behavior alone is usually not going to give you the information you need.

    Are you willing/able to pump after nursing-even for 10 minutes? maybe not every feeding, but as much as you can? It is usually suggested that mothers pump when using nipple shilelds at least until milk production is clearly in great shape.

    Otherwise what you are doing-putting baby to the breast every time he fusses-(or even before there is any fussing, but at early cues or whenever YOU want to) is definitely the way to go! This is the habit mothers who are 'succesful' at breastfeeding develop very early. More milk out = more milk made. Plus, offering the breat quickly allows baby to not get frantic, and a calm baby nurses much better than a frantic baby. Sometimes baby does not want the breast (or bottle) and is looking for another comforting measure, and that is fine. But it NEVER hurts to offer.

    If you want to keep trying galactagogues- Some mothers find that the amount of tea they have to drink to make a difference makes the tea inefective as a galactagogue. You should be able to find other forms of galactagogues.

    www.kellymom.com has good information on increasing milk production. I also think the book "Making More Milk' is excellent.

    I also used a nipple shield in the early weeks with my firstborn and I know exactly how frustrating the dang things can be. BUT it is allowing you to nurse your baby at the breast, when (I assume) you would not have been able to otherwise. This is so important. Yes weaning a baby off the sheild is very hard but weaning off bottles to the breast is usually much harder.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Kaslo BC Canada
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    Hi Judesmommy, you've come to the right place for help and support. Its really hard going for those first months - especially because its so hard to tell if they are getting enough. It does get better! There are many challenges to breast feeding but in the end the rewards are so worth it.
    One suggestion I've heard many times for when baby is frustrated is to end bottle feeds with nursing - so that baby always recognizes the breast as nuorishment/comfort etc. Also, supply = demand so constantly letting him comfort nurse (like you are doing) is a great way to build supply. Getting baby weighed often will help you keep track if he is getting enough. I never had to deal with a nipple shield, but hopefully one of the other moms with experience will chime in here.
    Lastly - momma on deciding to work past the frustration. Do something nice for yourself - you deserve it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    Thank you for such quick replies. This forum has been a godsend. I was given the shield because I have flat nipples. I still do, however- they do come out if he nurses for a little bit. (Even during the times he latched, be it only a few seconds) so I know mechanically I can do it. I have hope. Which I didn't before. So, that's good.

    As for pumping, yes, I drag my feet as I say that... I can pump after some feedings to help. I really really wish I would have been told to pump after feedings while using the shield but no one instructed me of that.

    I have no evidence that my supply is low, the only reason I think that is because when he pops off me the shield is bone dry, he cries (sometimes), and starts chewing on his fists immediately. Other then that, no real reason. He has great weight gain but I do not know if that is because of the formula bottles.

    There is a cloth diaper store in my town and they do breastfeeding cafe type classes. They have scales there. I'm thinking about stopping formula and going twice a week to use their scales to weigh him- if they'll allow!

    I'm going to talk to his pediatrician on Monday about me stopping suppliment and see what he thinks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,473

    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    There is a cloth diaper store in my town and they do breastfeeding cafe type classes. They have scales there. I'm thinking about stopping formula and going twice a week to use their scales to weigh him- if they'll allow!

    I'm going to talk to his pediatrician on Monday about me stopping suppliment and see what he thinks.
    these are great ideas. I suggest reading the kellymom article about weaning off formula supplements as well. Not that you neccesarily need to do it that particular way, she is conservative so it's a bit slow, imo. you may not have to move that slowly, it all depends on how much milk baby can get at the breasts.

    What about your IBCLC? She might be able to advise you in this as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    10

    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    I just wanted to share I had a FULL feeding on my right side without the shield. I think it was a full feeding. It lasted longer than 5 minutes which is progress. And it was active sucking the entire time, big gulps! I was sooo excited. Tried to left side and he wouldn't latch without the shield. Baby steps, I guess!

    Is there usually a difference with sides? Like, favorites? Easier to latch? Let's hope I can keep this consistent. He rarely will latch twice in the same day so I take my "ONE" shield free feeding and run with it. lol

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    Wow that is really great! If baby can nurse and extract milk even for ONE minute without the shield, that means baby does not need the shield to nurse any longer, so it is now just a mater of time. Just keep doing whatever you are doing it is clearly working.

    Yes in my experience , 'side' matters. I was able to wean my baby completely off the shield on the right side about 10 days before the left.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    I hope so! I just find I can't get him to latch 2 feedings in a row. I don't know why. He still got upset on the right side a little - so I'm sure he could have eaten much more but we couldn't relatch after and I don't want to make him mad b/c I want it to be positive experiences. His pediatrician wants me to get him off the shield sooner rather than later, however, he wanted me to cut it cold turkey and just make him get hungry enough to want it (not going more than a day of course) and I just can't bring myself to do it so drastically.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Trying to "undo" the damage I may have caused.

    Is there some reason your pediatrician wants baby off the shield fast? Is your baby’s weight gain slow? Is he concerned about your milk production?

    The history of shield use is long and checkered. Earlier shield designs definitely caused poor weight gain and poor production. But the shield is a much better design now. Is it still a problem for weight gain and milk production? Yes, sometimes. Pumping can help. But it is not always a problem and not usually as dramatically as it once was.

    I think some mothers have such a hard time with the shield they might ‘give up’ on breastfeeding earlier than if they could wean off it. BUT, this need not be you. Theoretically, you could use the shield for years.

    Of course, YOU want your baby off the shield ASAP as well! It is rare a mother prefers using the shield to not! But I agree with you, take it as slowly as you need to. And again, it is far, far, far, better to be nursing with a shield than not nursing at all.

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