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Thread: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

  1. #1

    Default Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    I am currently working on getting my 2 month old son to nurse without a shield. We sometimes have minor successes (a minute or two latched with no shield and no hysterics,) but mostly he shrieks until I break down and put the shield back on. Tears all around. Has anyone else been through this? Does it get easier? Friends keep telling me I need to just throw the shield out and force him to quit it cold turkey, but I can't do that to him... He gets so upset. And every day that we continue using the shield I worry that we are going to be dependent on these stupid things forever. I would appreciate any tips or reassurances from anyone who has been through this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    Has anyone else been through this?
    yes, me!
    Does it get easier?
    yes!

    I agree cold turkey is probably not the best course. But assuming baby CAN now latch without the shield, I would suggest keep trying to nurse without it, every day, probably several times a day, but not every nursing session if that is too upsetting.

    In my case, weaning off the shield came about from me using many of the same techniques you can use to encourage nursing in general.(see linked article)

    build on the times baby gets on without it. Every second baby does that is a step forward. One side may come before the other. It's ok. Slowly build on every tiny success and don't get too down about steps 'back.'

    Nurse at earliest cues, before baby is too hungry
    try instant reward techniques (in article)

    Don't pressure, but keep giving baby plenty of opportunity to latch without the shield. Try before starting but also in the middle of sessions.

    Try when baby is asleep, falling asleep, or just waking

    Your baby IS nursing at the breast. This is good. It will be better when baby is no longer needing the shields, but there is no super rush. Take it slow and steady and have patience for yourself and your baby during this process.

    nipple shields-includes weaning tips- http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/wean-shield/

    Help my baby won’t nurse I used some of these ideas when weaning baby off the shields. http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    I used a nipple shield with my little girl for about a month or so. It all seems a blur. I was very concerned that we would never get to the point that she didn't want/need it. I wasn't even using it correctly in the beginning. But, I would try her on the breast without it as often as I could handle it emotionally. It was an exhausting process. Many times, I switched back to the shield rather quickly. Sometimes she seemed in a better place to give it a try for longer periods of time. I took advantage of those moments and celebrated them, knowing full well that the next time might not be the same and often wasn't. There was a lot of back and forth. I also watched some of the videos on www.kellymom.com for help with newborn latching. I'm a hands-on type of student, so the videos were very helpful for me. Eventually, there was more time without the shield than with it and then we didn't need it at all. I went through a couple of phases where I thought we had a decent latch, but in hindsight didn't. I think it got a little easier, too, as she developed more strength and ability herself. Afterall, it takes two to tango! Hang in there and ride the waves as best you can. I agree, celebrate the little successes no matter how small. They will get you through. Just try to be patient and kind to yourself, knowing that what seems impossible, IS possible!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    I also used a shield on one side and I never thought baby would be able to latch without it... but he's 5 weeks now and after a month of using it, he is now able to latch even though the nipple is just as soft and hard to grasp as it always was. Eventually he just didn't need it anymore. Every time you're able to get baby on without the shield, even for a second, is a step in the right direction. It can be done!

  5. #5
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    Jun 2013
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    Hudson Valley, NY
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    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    how are you doing? any small successes?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    Sorry for the slow update... I had some trouble figuring out how to log back in

    I really appreciate the words of advice and encouragement. It's so good to know others have been here. Our breastfeeding experience has been so different from what I anticipated. I really expected it to be just pure joy and bonding, and for it to come naturally and easily to my baby and me. And instead it has been a nightmare! But thankfully I'm too stubborn to give up on what I want, so we are trudging forward.


    An update: we had some big setbacks. My LC and I decided to stop trying to wean right now, since Baby E is so resistant to it. She was confident that using it for a few more weeks won't mean that we are sentenced to it forever. A couple days later, Baby E went from sleeping a 6 hour chunk at night to waking up every 30-45 minutes. I was a wreck (again), and took him in to see the pediatrician yesterday. The pediatrician told me that while he is still within the average range for weight gain (40th %ile), he is quite slender for his length and that the frequent wakings suggests that the shield may be limiting the amount of milk he transfers from me. She strongly suggested upping the amount we supplement, using either pumped milk or formula, whichever "made my life easier". Of course, to my exhausted ears, I once again heard "you're not feeding him enough" and "you're not doing a good job breastfeeding," and the rest of the day I was a wreck. Today, though, I scheduled an appointment with the first awesome LC we worked with (at the hospital, until E was 1 month old and then I started seeing a private LC). After observing his hysterical resistance to latching on sans shield, she agreed that he is not ready to quit using it just yet but wants me to do some sensory work with him- having him at my breast during non-feeding times, and upping the amount of skin-to-skin we do to increase my production. Additionally, she wants me to give him 1 oz of supplement with every other feed and to pump in between so I have enough to supplement with and to further increase my milk production. She also wrote me another prescription for domperidone.

    My personal goal is to try to stay positive about this. It's hard not to wallow in the sadness I feel about not being able to EBF, and about being dependent on the shield. The LC is confident that we can wean him off the shield eventually, and so I am trying to focus on that and the fact that he is only consuming breastmilk, even though it is sometimes from a bottle.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    Oh, one more positive note: the LC did a pre/post feeding weight using the shield. Baby E got 2.5 oz with the shield when he was only sort of hungry, so he likely *is* getting a decent amount of milk from me despite the shield. We are still going to supplement though, in hopes of getting more sleep!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    Just to give you one more piece of hope, my daughter weaned from the nipple shield at about 4 months. I had nightmare visions of washing that darn nipple shield in the middle of the night for the entirety of my little one's nursing time. My little girl is very opinionated and would scream bloody murder when I would attempt to feed without it. I just stopped for a little while and at about 3 months when she was better at holding up her head, I would attempt about once or twice a week. If she started to get upset, then I would just put the shield back on. Once she was able to latch on for a few seconds, I then tried more often and she eventually just took to it without looking back. I noticed she would do better initially in football hold, although I rarely fed that way -- only while weaning the shield.

    I went back to work at 3 months working fulltime as a physician (sometimes 12-14 hour days) and I noticed my pump output really increased once I was able to wean that nipple shield. It did the job when I needed it, but I was glad to get rid ot it, and maybe I won't have to use it next time. Little one is almost 13 months old now and still nursing like a champ!
    First time mom to K 7/12/12, happily ; hoping to stop in the next few months!

  9. #9
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    A sudden change in sleep pattern does not necessarily indicate baby is not getting enough or cannot transfer enough milk.

    A breastfed baby this age typically needs to nurse 10 or more times a day. So some of that is going to be at night. While waking every 45 minutes all night is highly unusual, regular 6 hour sleep stretches at night with no waking, even to 'dream feed' -prior to about 3 months of age is pretty unusual to. It does not indicate a problem, it's just not all that common.

    Either your baby is gaining in the normal range indicating baby gets enough milk and thus, does not need supplements, or baby is not gaining in the normal range, and thus, may possibly need supplements. Sleep, which will normally vary and is affected by many factors, has little to do with it.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Weaning off nipple shield... Need some reassurance.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*littlemiss.smom View Post
    Just to give you one more piece of hope, my daughter weaned from the nipple shield at about 4 months. ... I just stopped for a little while and at about 3 months when she was better at holding up her head, I would attempt about once or twice a week. If she started to get upset, then I would just put the shield back on. Once she was able to latch on for a few seconds, I then tried more often and she eventually just took to it.
    Thank you, that does give me hope that we won't be stuck with the shield forever! Glad to hear your kiddo has done so well without it.

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