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Thread: Silicon Nipples

  1. #1

    Default Silicon Nipples

    When I started breastfeeding at the hospital, I was having a difficult time. Everytime I went to feed my daughter, it took me and a nurse about 20-30 minutes to get her to latch - which always ended with an angry baby and two frustrated adults. The nurse told me my nipples were too flat and I should buy a silicon nipple shield. I've been mostly successful with the shield (except it hurts like the dickens). When I went back to see the doctor, I was told I've been doing it wrong nipple shields are a terrible idea so on and so forth. They told me to go back to feeding her with out one. Now, it's just me and her and I dread feeding time. After 30 minutes of trying, we're both sitting there crying together. I have a lactation consultant coming to see if she can give me any advice.

    My questions to the forums are has anyone else had this issue with a nipple shape that makes it hard to feed? My husband wants me to just pump and forget both shield and with out. He's concerned I'm too stressed out about feeding. I'm concerned with bonding and doing exclusive pumping. Also, are nipple shields really so terrible?

    I know I have a lot of questions! Any thoughts would be great!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Silicon Nipples

    Hi welcome to the forum. Personally I do have personal experience with flat nipples and using a nipple shield. Many other moms here do as well.
    I think that the advice you got a nipple shields was wrong both times. It is actually quite rare that a baby requires a nipple shields to nurse. It probably would've been more helpful if you had gotten assistance with positioning and latching your baby without the shield. Also if you were experiencing edema after birth which you almost certainly were if you had an epidural for any IV fluids for example, or engorgement, those things are temporary and can cause nipples to be much flatter than they normally would be. Postpartum medications can do this as well.

    On the other hand demonizing nipple shields is not helpful. In your case the nipple shield was causing you pain, or in any case it was not helping with the pain I'm a little unclear on that point if it was causing pain then I think using the shield was probably not a good idea. However when a nipple shield is the only way to get a baby to be able to latch and nurse it can be helpful.

    When nipple shields are used, they can cause issues with milk transfer and with milk production going forward. So if you are continuing to use the shield you may need to pump as well as nurse in order to sure milk production does not get harmed by their use. Also it is important to make sure baby is gaining normally.
    To give you suggestions going forward I have a few questions. First off can you please tell us how old baby is?
    How many times per 24 hour day does baby nurse?
    Does baby receive any supplements or bottles at all?
    Are you pumping your milk at all?
    Is baby gaining weight normally?
    Is baby pooping normally?
    What nursing positions have you tried and which one you like best?
    Have you noticed any times when baby seems to be able to latch better than others?
    Are you able to get hands on assistance from a professional lactation consultant?
    Do you have any local LLL Leaders and have you contacted them for volunteer help?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Silicon Nipples

    Exclusive pumping is very difficult. From what you've written you're not there yet. There's lots more you can try to get baby nursing at the breast in a way that is comfortable to you and good for baby. The newborn period Is almost always stressful and exhausting for everyone no matter how baby is fed.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Silicon Nipples

    Hello and thank you for your response.

    Answers to questions:

    -My girl is just over two weeks.
    -My milk hadn't come in yet (I had an emergency c-section) so I had to supplement the first couple of days.
    -She eats 8 times a day. I have a timer set for every three hours. She would just sleep if we let her.
    -I try to pump after every feeding.
    -She's been gaining weight
    -She's been pooping regularly
    -Ive tried the football, the crisscross position and lying down. She refuses to eat when Im lying down. I switch between the other two. Both are of equal comfort
    -I havent noticed one position being better than the other for latching
    -I have a consultant coming in a couple of days. I'm not sure where bshe received training. I'm currently living abroad in Poland and somethings are just lost in translation.
    -Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's a chapter here in Poland

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Silicon Nipples

    Okay I'll try to address your concerns. First off according to the group look up on the homepage of this site there is a LLL group in Poland. However it appears to be Polish speaking. I would still suggest contacting them, because they will probably have more information for you if you're able to communicate.
    This is water under the bridge at this point, but because many mothers and expecting mothers read these forums I would like to point out that All mothers have milk in their breasts when the baby is born no matter how the baby is born. It is the first milk, colostrum which is very scant and does not look like mature milk. However it is all a newborn typically requires for the first several days of life. I have no way to know at this point if your baby needed supplements or not, I just wanted to say that it is normal for milk to take a few days to become abundant, which is what we call milk "coming in."
    It is good you're waking your baby to nurse since baby is sleepy. However I would suggest that eight times the day is on the low end for a baby this young to be nursing. It would be more typical for newborn baby to need to nurse somewhere between 10 and 15 times per day. Many babies are sleepy in the first two weeks, especially when there were lots of birth interventions. So you can expect baby to start being more wakeful and want to nurse more often this would be helpful.
    Because you had a C-section I imagine you experienced edema. Adema not only makes the extremities swell but also your breasts this can cause flatness of nipples. The medications you are on for pain are probably also contributing to your nipples having difficulty becoming firm for baby. This does not mean baby cannot latch however it would explain baby having more difficulty latching.

    There is a latching technique called the breast sandwich technique which may be helpful to you. You can search on this site for information or elsewhere on the Internet. Unfortunately I do not have a computer and I'm doing everything on the phone right now, which makes it impossible for me to make links perhaps if someone else has a good link for breast sandwich information they can post it.
    You want to be sure you're putting the nipple shield on correctly and You want to be sure your nipple shield is the correct size. I am concerned that you are having so much pain when nursing. This could be caused by an ill fitting nipple shield as well as by a shallow latch. Www.kellymom.com it has a good article on nipple shields.

    For positioning I would suggest trying laid-back nursing. This does not mean you lay flat it just means you lean back comfortably so that you are comfortable and supported for example you could lean back like you're sitting on the couch watching TV. Baby can be in any position on you you want tummy towards you and baby supported on you supported by your body. To find more information search biological nurturing and laid-back breast-feeding there are some videos on YouTube there is a good website and we also have information on this site. Basically you want to find comfortable positions that work for you. There really is no wrong position for nursing baby.

    Nursing frequently is important. If you don't feel that you can pump more frequently, that's fine just pump as much as you can. If it is working for you to pump directly after feedings, then certainly keep doing that. However some mothers find it is easier to fit pumping sessions in at other times instead. Sometimes pumping after every feeding makes every feeding just too much of a chore. It would be nice if you had sometimes when you could just nursed baby and baby can fall back to sleep on your breast and continue to snuggle baby until the next session. In other words you can play around with your pumping schedule to make it better for you.

    But it can certainly be helpful to try to nurse more frequently. In fact if baby starts nursing more often, you may be able to back off on the pumping. It's hard to say for sure because shields change the situation slightly, so you will have to think about how much milk you appear to be making. If baby is gaining normally, and you produce milk when you pump that you're able to save, then your milk production is probably in pretty good shape. But again the typical recommendation to be on the safe side is to continue to pump as well as nurse as long as nipple shields are in use. (if you are not using shields, pumping is almost never necessary unless baby is requiring supplements.)

    You can bring baby to the breast at earliest cues and even before baby shows any cues. I'm not sure if you're having to wake baby for every feeding, that may be necessary, but that can make latching very difficult. Hopefully baby will start being more wakeful soon but you could also be holding baby a lot and baby may give you cues in sleep. you can bring baby to the breast and sometimes babies will latch in sleep more effectively than they do when they are awake and frantic. Hopefully you have help and you can spend most of your time relaxing and snuggling baby on top of you. Baby being snuggled on mom most of the time typically leads to baby nursing with more normal frequency.

    If baby is even refusing to try to latch without the shield, you could again go to the Kelly mom site and look at the article help my baby won't nurse. It has some good tips.

    I know you are very tired and probably frustrated. You are facing lots of challenges. But I can assure you they are not insurmountable. Your hard work up to this point has really paid off because it sounds as if you are doing quite well considering the challenges you have had. Your milk production appears to be good because baby is gaining normally. Baby is nursing at the breast even if it is with the shield that is still nursing at the breast. Baby is exclusively breast-fed, supplements are no longer needed. There are many mothers at this point where they are still struggling with production or their babies are not nursing and even they are able to go on to nurse their babies. My oldest baby was born via C-section and we had to use nipple shields and so I was also pumping as well as nursing very frequently for the first several weeks, I also had lots of issues with nipple injury. It was very difficult but we got through it and we had a wonderful nursing relationship.

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