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Thread: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

  1. #1
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    Default How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    Hey mamas! Just wanted to say I'm asking this question for a friend of mine... she just gave birth last Tuesday... A bit of background info first... she was induced and had a vaginal delivery, delivered a healthy, full-term baby girl. Prior to giving birth, my friend told me she didn't plan to breastfeed at all, then she decided she would do it for 6 weeks, but wanted to "be done" before she goes back to work as she doesn't want to pump at work (she's a nurse who works 3-4 days/week, 12 hour shifts, and will be staying home a total of 12 weeks with her DD.)

    Anywho, I went to visit her on Sunday, and she's using a nipple shield... the nurses at her hospital told her her nips are flat, so hence the use of the shield. She is also using shells in her bra between feedings. I guess she has tried a few times to get her DD to latch w/o the shield, but hasn't had a successful nursing session that way. I want to encourage her to continue breastfeeding longer than 6 weeks (but without being too pushy) and I want to help her to wean from the nipple shield. Does anyone have any advice for this situation?? I never used a shield as my nips are fine, so I don't know how to help her... I was thinking maybe as her DD's mouth gets a bit bigger that it might be easier for her to latch and draw out the nip??

    Thanks for the help!
    Buff
    IRL all my friends call me Buff, Wife to CB since 10/11/2003

    Mom to DD - "MJ" born 9/2007 @ 8lbs 10oz, 21.5" She's 6 years old!
    My journey nursing MJ started HERE, but we got through it and she breastfed 19.5 months, self-weaned on 5/17/09


    Mom to my current nursling, DS - "ME" born 10/2009 @ 10lbs 1oz, 22.25" He's 4 years old! And yup, he's still nursing.

    Ask me about my successful VBAC! Click here for my birth story.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?



    I know zero about the use of and, weaning from nipple shields but this resource may provide you with the info you're looking to give her

    Click here to find an LLL leader near you...or call 1 877 4 LA LECHE for help now.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    How does she feel about using the shield? Do you get the impression that it will make her stop bfing sooner b/c she doesn't like it? If not and things are working as they are, you might just give them both a bit more time to get the hang of bfing. A good resource that talks about the possibility/benefits of partial benefits of bfing is Breastfeeding Made Simple. If she's really against pumping this might be an option for her. Plus, it's a great resource about bfing and just might change her mind. The book also has a good visual for how after 6 or 8 weeks bfing starts to become less work than ffing. That might give her some encouragement to keep going "just a little longer".
    DS 1/2006 9 lb. 2 oz. 22 in.
    DD 10/2008 8 lb, 2 oz. 20 in.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    I used a nipple shield for a little while after having #1, as I suffered from inverted nipples before nursing any babies. My midwife even commented on it during my first prenatal exam but said I would be able to nurse with a little work.

    If it hadn't been for that nipple shield, given to me by a nurse in the hospital I was transferred to after DS #1's birth when she told me a) I couldn't nurse such a big baby and b) my nips weren't right, handed it to me and walked out, never to be seen again, I probably would have quit, considering all the other problems we had.

    What I did to wean him off was once I noticed my nipples were less inverted was to try to latch him on (also once the OS let up some, which the shield helped with as well because the baby didn't get the full force all at once) either if he was hungry but not starving so he would be more willing to nurse immediately or I would take it off halfway after he was halfway calmed down. Sometimes I could get away with using it on one side and not the other.

    Once his mouth was bigger and my nipples were more normal, it became easy and I stopped using it entirely. Thank goodness, as that thing is a pain in the rear. I think that was around 6 weeks, and at 8 weeks we had nursing down.

    I'd forgotten all about this until this evening and I was rooting around in a cabinet and found that bit of plastic. And then I come on here and find this thread. Maybe it was meant to help your friend.

    Just be supportive. You know, I was like your friend. I didn't want to nurse but I knew I "should" and then I was only going to nurse for a few weeks and then go back to work. Almost two years later I finally stopped nursing that baby and never did return to work at that job. So you just never know. If she can hang in there, she might realize that it's just too good to give up after a few weeks.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    I'm curious too if she is bothered by using the NS? I was given a NS at the hospital too. If she is comfortable using one, then I would say, don't fix what's not broken. My DD finally stopped needing one very recently. We just use it at night now (she's 6MO). There is varying information about NSs and whether or not they hinder your milk supply. It never effected mine, and I've read in Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that the newer silicone shields have not been shown to effect milk supply. I definitely wouldn't push the issue with her b/c it may make her feel like she's not succeeding at BF. In fact, I would encourage her not to fight the baby to wean off of it if she's happy and baby is gaining well.

    Anytime you see her breastfeeding I would just say encouraging things, like: "Look at how content your baby is when you're nursing. You are doing such a great job! Every day you nurse is a wonderful gift your baby." etc. My mom used to say things like that and it made me feel so much more confident about BF and inspired to keep going.

    HTH


    Jeanne (my middle name IRL)


    Mommy to two girls (M & M), born Sept. '07 and Sept. '09

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    Hey mamas! Thanks for the advice... I definitely don't want to push her to stop using the shield if it's working, especially since it's still so early in their breastfeeding relationship. I guess I got the impression that (even though it is helping) she doesn't like using the shield because she said she feels like her boobs don't work right (she called the shield her "fake nipple.") My thought was that if I gently helped her get away from using the shield that it might give her some encouragement that her boobs ARE working right and she might continue BF longer than the initial 6 weeks...

    I think I'm going to do what the pp's suggested and just let her "do her thing" and not interfere... I will just try and be encouraging and keep telling her what a great job she's doing and hopefully she will keep BFing because she wants to, not because she feels like she has to...

    Thanks again!
    Buff
    IRL all my friends call me Buff, Wife to CB since 10/11/2003

    Mom to DD - "MJ" born 9/2007 @ 8lbs 10oz, 21.5" She's 6 years old!
    My journey nursing MJ started HERE, but we got through it and she breastfed 19.5 months, self-weaned on 5/17/09


    Mom to my current nursling, DS - "ME" born 10/2009 @ 10lbs 1oz, 22.25" He's 4 years old! And yup, he's still nursing.

    Ask me about my successful VBAC! Click here for my birth story.



  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    She might find this information encouraging (esp. the first paragraph). http://www.llli.org/FAQ/flat.html
    DS 1/2006 9 lb. 2 oz. 22 in.
    DD 10/2008 8 lb, 2 oz. 20 in.

  8. #8
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    Unhappy Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    Hey mamas... Just wanted to say thanks for the advice on this thread. Turns out, my friend already quit breastfeeding. It's sad, really. Her LO is only 2 weeks old today. I talked to her on the phone yesterday and she said, "The baby would nurse and nurse, and come off for 15 minutes and just start screaming to nurse more... so I called the doctor (not sure if it was the pedi or her OB) and they said I probably wasn't making enough milk and to put her on formula." She also said, "My boobs never even got any bigger, I'm back to wearing my normal bra... " which is normal, as far as I know... I know mine aren't any bigger now that they're making milk.

    So that's what she did... quit nursing completely and put her LO on formula... I tried to tell her that it's rare for a woman to not be able to make enough milk, but I was afraid to say too much since I didn't want her to get mad at me, and feel like I was judging her... Really, I'm not judging her because I feel like everyone should do what they think is right for their child, but I just wish doctors were more supportive of breastfeeding. I wish her doctor had said, "It takes at least 2 weeks for your supply to get well-established, and the reason the baby wants to nurse so much is because she is helping to establish your supply... You guys are still establishing your breastfeeding relationship... This is all normal..."

    I also tried to tell her that even *some* breastfeeding is better than none, that she could nurse the baby and then give formula if she felt like she needed to... Anyway, she's made her decision and since I'm her friend I'll support her no matter what...it just makes me sad... She said too that her LO is already having trouble with bowel movements and gas... Since formula BM's are more formed, the baby is having belly aches, etc. from her little digestive system getting used to formula.

    Sorry this was a bit of a rant, but I just needed to vent a little... I tried venting to DH yesterday, but he could care less if our friend BF's or not...

    Oh well, such is life... Hope everyone has a great day...

    Buff
    IRL all my friends call me Buff, Wife to CB since 10/11/2003

    Mom to DD - "MJ" born 9/2007 @ 8lbs 10oz, 21.5" She's 6 years old!
    My journey nursing MJ started HERE, but we got through it and she breastfed 19.5 months, self-weaned on 5/17/09


    Mom to my current nursling, DS - "ME" born 10/2009 @ 10lbs 1oz, 22.25" He's 4 years old! And yup, he's still nursing.

    Ask me about my successful VBAC! Click here for my birth story.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    707

    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    sorry to hear that she stopped... i was actually going to give you some advice in the NS, but.... At least you are there for your friend, she needs support just being a new mom!

    on a side note, being a nurse, you would think that she would know the benifites of BM, but to each her own


    Tina - mom of Addison Belle
    12/11/07
    5lbs 13oz - 18in



    and my VBAC ~ Olivia Grace
    9/12/09
    6lbs 8z - 18.5in

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How can I help my friend wean from the nipple shield?

    Yes, I was also sad to hear she stopped... mostly sad for her LO, since she is going to miss out on all the benefits of BM... The other sad part is that her LO was gaining weight during the short time she BF, so the babe was getting enough milk... And yes, since she's a nurse I'm pretty sure she knows the benefits of BM, so I'm really not sure why she was so quick to give up... I think she just wasn't very well informed on BFing in general, and didn't know that all the things she was experiencing were totally normal...

    Buff
    IRL all my friends call me Buff, Wife to CB since 10/11/2003

    Mom to DD - "MJ" born 9/2007 @ 8lbs 10oz, 21.5" She's 6 years old!
    My journey nursing MJ started HERE, but we got through it and she breastfed 19.5 months, self-weaned on 5/17/09


    Mom to my current nursling, DS - "ME" born 10/2009 @ 10lbs 1oz, 22.25" He's 4 years old! And yup, he's still nursing.

    Ask me about my successful VBAC! Click here for my birth story.



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