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Thread: Nipple shield

  1. #1
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Nipple shield

    Do any of you have experience with a nipple shield? This contraption is the only way my baby will recognize my nipples and latch. If I let down, the baby can't seem to get ANY milk from the shield, even though there is tons in there and it can be seen pouring out, and my other breast is clearly letting down and soaking my clothes. But he sucks and sucks and nothing comes out of the shield so he gives up and this is extremely detrimental to our very tenuous BFing experience. He is learning that the breast = frustration and the bottle = food. I wasn't sure if it was my imagination so my husband tried and yep, there's milk visible there, surrounding the nipple but none comes out!

    Am I doing something wrong? We are working with a lactation consultant who has us doing exercises to improve his suck... but there's been vast improvement on the bottle and the pacifier so I can't imagine that's it. Besides if my husband can't get it then how could the baby?

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Seeing consultant friday so I thought I'd post this here since that's a long way off.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,621

    Default Re: Nipple shield

    Gosh, could you have a defective shield? If there's milk in the shield, it should be able to come through the tip. I would fill it with water and hold it upside down, and make sure that it streams out!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nipple shield

    Hi Mommal, it definitely just streams right through. I'm totally baffled!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nipple shield

    Could some weird a vacuum effect be taking place, keeping the milk in the shield somehow? I imagine this could happen if your nipple is large possible??

    Also, how do you know baby is not getting any? Maybe what you are seeing is ‘extra’ milk that is getting trapped somehow?

    I used a shield for about 6 weeks with my oldest. I have no idea what is happening in your case, but generally speaking it is very important that the shield fit mom correctly and be put on correctly. Yes this can take several tries and the shield may fall or slip off, especially if milk is flowing and things get really wet, and in that case it need to be put carefully back on more than once during a session. But the idea with shields is, even though mom is wearing a shield, baby is actually nursing ON THE BREAST, "milking" the breast, not just sucking milk that ejects or leaks out of mom’s nipple out through the shield holes. Does that make sense?

    I assume the IBCLC showed you how to put the shield on and observed baby nursing wiht it? Did what you are describing happen at the appointment?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Nipple shield

    For what it is worth, when I would get soaking all over like that and the sheild would slip, I would take the shield off, mop myself, baby and the shield up with a baby cloth, and try all over again. Tell me how you are putting the shiled on.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Nipple shield

    I am inverting the tip like a hat, placing it over the tip and sort of unrolling like a condom. It creates just enough suction (sometimes) to suck the nipple up into it halfway. Stretching it out sideways has also been suggested but I've never had luck with that method.

    I do think I could do with a larger- it is a 20... but the 24 and above tend to freak him out and make him gag- they're too big for his mouth.

    After posting he latched to my left side for a good 20 minutes and instead of thinking about what he was getting I let him stay on till he went to sleep. he seems satiated and I did hear swallowing, and for once he actively sucked for the entire duration... possibly the best time he's been on to date.

    I assume he's getting nothing because he typically does not swallow and gets frustrated after patiently sucking- and because my husband says nothing is flowing out when he tries.

    And she did observe him feeding and seemed to think it worked for the brief time he stayed latched.
    Last edited by @llli*apifera; July 8th, 2013 at 05:59 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Nipple shield

    ok, so you are putting it on right- I wonder if it is a matter of baby sometimes is getting a 'good mouthful' of the breast so he can "milk' the breast well, so, gets a good flow, and sometimes not? In other words, basically a "not always perfect' latch issue, a problem that crops up even for some moms who are not using a shield. Shields are weird, because while on the one hand the firm tip allows baby to 'get a hold' and the tip "pressing" the soft palette stimulates a better latch and more effective sucking, it (the shield) is also creating a possible barrier to a deep latch, just be being there. Basically, it is still important to try to get baby taking a big mouthful of breast, especially the lower jaw.

    have you seen this short video? It has an animated section that gives a very clear picture of what happens in babies mouth when there is a deep latch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCe-6KgSFhk


    “and because my husband says nothing is flowing out when he tries.” (?) Do you mean your husband is testing the shield, so to speak? While it is on you? That is actually a clever idea...If that is the case, I would suggest that maybe the no flow result is due to that a baby has a very specific way of extracting milk from the breast that would be difficult for an adult to replicate. Even kids who are just a few months past weaning seem to tend to “forget” how to get milk out.

    As far as baby's behavior and the swallowing, yeah, that is possibly indicating baby did not get much…although, fussiness is not always an accurate indication and swallows can be very hard to hear sometimes…Also it is normal and fine for "active sucking" to not last the whole session.

    Since baby had what sounds like a very good nursing session maybe this has turned the corner? But if it continues to be difficult, I would suggest following up with your IBCLC.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nipple shield

    Yes, lol. I know it's odd to have him try but it seemed to make sense in the moment! But you're right, I bet he wouldn't be very adept at it at the age of 27!

    I think you're on to something.. sometimes he seems to have more luck than others.

    I wouldn't say we've turned a corner because we keep having these little successes and then the next time we try it's back to square one- but at least he's starting to see that even if the breast doesn't always mean food, it does mean comfort.

    I have to wonder if when he's bigger the size 24 might solve the suction problem. The 20 really is a tight fit.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nipple shield

    I was also wondering... what is it about the shield that makes it so baby doesn't need to take in the areola? I know for a latch without it he needs to take in a substantial amount of areola, but with the shield all he's getting is nipple.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nipple shield

    My understanding is that even with the shield, the baby should have areola in his mouth. Sucking on the nipple doesn't stimulate much milk flow. Sucking on the areola, where the milk sinuses are, is what triggers letdown. Maybe that's the issue? That baby is just sucking on the nipple, and not getting any areola or enough areola in his mouth?

    Can you see the LC/IBCLC about this?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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