I was given a nipple shield when my son was 1 week old to help him with latch problems (he wasn't latching on at all until that point). I think he had developed a nipple preference because I supplemented with a bottle after leaving the hospital.I tried from the beginning to wean him off of it intermittently, but haven't had any luck. He's 4 months old now. In the last month or so, I've been able to get him to latch and eat several times but it's short lived - usually he pulls off after a minute or two and cries until I put the shield back on. I've tried starting without the shield, starting with it on and removing it before let down, and starting with it on and removing it after letdown, and it doesn't seem to make a difference in whether he will latch. When I am able to get him to latch and eat I let down much more quickly and I can tell from his swallow pattern that he seems to be getting more milk. He has had slow weight gain from the beginning, but within the normal range - he's 13 lbs 7 oz now versus 8 lbs 4 oz at birth. He's having lots of wet/dirty diapers a day, probably 8-9 wet and 4-5 dirty a day. I have heard that at some point older babies just stop using nipple shields but I'm worried that the longer I keep him on it the more accustomed to it he has become. Does anyone have strategies for weaning off the shields? I don't want to force it too much, at times when I've tried to remove the shield every feeding or several times per feeding he has gotten very fussy and has verged on being on a nursing strike. The shield has definitely affected my ability to nurse in public and seems to be affecting milk transfer as well.
Thanks in advance