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Thread: Weening off Nipple Shield

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Weening off Nipple Shield

    My newborn has problems sucking, so we've been giving her my milk as well as formula in a bottle. Lactation consultant recommended that I try a nipple shield - and she does better with sucking at my breast with it. In the meantime, I have ordered a SNS to help her feed at my breast, since her suck is still not strong.

    I am afraid that I won't be able to ween her off the shield. She absolutely refuses my nipple when I try to offer it.

    Do you have any tips of how to ween a child off a nipple shield?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Re: Weening off Nipple Shield

    there are a lot of us who have done this successfully. if you go to the search function and put in "nipple shield", there are a lot of good threads to help you out.

    Loving my two sweet girls Audrey (7/18/06) and Annie (6/18/09) Baby #3 due to appear 8/5/10

    Feel free to ask me about my successful HBAC , food allergies, cloth diapers, and the joy of having a high-needs, non-sleeping little dear who has grown into a wonderful preschooler.

    Blogging here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Weening off Nipple Shield

    hi there. i am also going through the same problem with my daughter who is almost 6 weeks old. she absolutely will not take a nipple without a shield. but i can offer some advice i got from the lactation consultant that might help your little girl. Take the tip of the shield and snip just a tiny bit off and see if she nurses with it like that. If it works, cut a little more off a few days later, and just gradually cut more off every few days until your down to nipple, if it seems to work. Just take it slow so she doesn't get frustrated and realize what your doing. Its also handy to have a spare shield incase it doesn't work, but I hope you have luck and can ween her.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Weening off Nipple Shield

    I had to ween my 3-week old off the shield. I did it by letting her latch on with the shield, then after she sucked for a short while, I took her off and removed the shield then put her back on my breast while my nipple was still in the shield shape. It worked for us. Best of luck to you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: Weening off Nipple Shield

    We're still working on weaning off the shield. I thought we were doing great, had been without it for about a week, then all of a sudden, tonight, she refused to nurse without it.

    There is a good article about weaning from a nipple shield here.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Weening off Nipple Shield

    Hi! Congrats on your new little blessing! When bf doesn't come as naturally as most expect it to, it's disappointing. A new "gadget" can be intimidating and your concerned you'll be stuck with it throughout your nursing relationship.

    Nipple shields, when used under the supervision of a IBCLC, can be a very useful tool to help preserve breastfeeding. Typically, they are only needed on a short term basis until the baby's feeding improves. One advantage to using the shield is that your lo can get your milk through the holes at the tip of the shield, eliminating, or reducing the need to express and feed the milk in another way. It also keeps your lo at the breast, which can be a significant advantage, because if your lo adjusts to another feeding method (no matter which one) for an extended period of time, the transition to the breast can be more difficult.

    When the original problem has been resolved, your baby will be ready to wean off the nipple shield. In general, as the baby gets older, more coordinated, and more experienced at sucking, it will be easier to wean from the shield. The length of time a baby needs the shield will vary. I would encourage you to follow your baby's cues and to use the shield as long as it helps the baby breastfeed more effectively.

    When your baby is developmentally ready to let go of the nipple shield, there are several approaches to weaning from the shield. Some moms try removing the shield after the baby has been nursing well for several minutes and try to see if the baby will then latch on to the bare breast. Ideally, the baby should be relaxed and you are not feeling stressed. If the baby latches to your breast, then you can use this strategy to move from shield to bare breast. As baby becomes more coordinated and more practiced, the shield will be needed at fewer and fewer feedings. If you try this, and your baby's sucking is not effective, it may be prudent to wait a few more days before trying to wean again, as chances are the issues that caused the need for the shield are not yet resolved.

    Although it was once recommended to wean a baby from a nipple shield by gradually cutting off the tip of the shield until it is gone, this is not appropriate with the newer silicone shields. Silicone has sharp edges when cut that can hurt the baby.

    You are making a tremendous effort to establish a satisfying relationship. It is courageous to continue your efforts in the face of adversity. KUDOS! Keep up the good work, mama, and please keep us posted!
    Kristie L.
    LLL Leader
    (the poster formerly known as fezzik812)
    Wife to Brett, Mommy to Seamus (5.1.05), and Emelie (1.18.08)
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."- Ghandi

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