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Thread: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    30

    Default Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    Thanks to everyone who replied to my last post. It put my mind at ease.

    I wondered if any of you ever had to use a nipple shield to get your baby to nurse and, if so, if you were able to get off it later? My daughter is 3 weeks old and we're still using it. My nipples were never flat before but seemed to become flat as soon as I gave birth. It's hard to get them erect and as soon as she starts rooting around they go flat again. In the hospital a lactation consultant and several nurses tried to get her to latch and no one succeeded.

    The nipple shield is working very well for us. She was 7 lb 2 oz at birth and now at 3 weeks 2 days is already 8 lbs. But I would like to be able to get rid of it especially since I often have to inject some expressed milk underneath it to give her some instant gratification to get her started. This would make it very hard to nurse out in public.

    I feel very grateful to have come this far. She was almost a week old the first time the LC finally got her to take the nipple shield and I'd almost given up hope. Until then we were giving expressed milk in a bottle with occasional formula supplementation. Now we're breastfeeding exclusively.

    Anyone have any experience in this area?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    I was in the same situation. I had trouble getting my son to latch on because of flat nipples.

    We used a nipple shield for a few weeks. At first, I would try to take it off after he had nursed for a few minutes (so my nipples would be more pulled out). Once he figured out that he was getting more milk, he didn't miss it at all! Then I'd just try to get him to latch on initially without. If it didn't happened, I'd go back to the shield. He did learn to start each nursing session with a good hard suck to pull the nipple out.

    Keep trying, you'll get there!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    994

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    here's a link that maybe helpful for you:
    Weaning from a nipple shield

    HTH!
    Mommy to...
    Aleina... born on Mother's Day, May 14, 2006...7lbs 4oz, 21.6 inches
    Lauryn Elle...January 26, 2008...7lbs 15oz, 20 inches

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    2,539

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    I had to use the nipple shield with my son for almost 2 months a very frustrating 2 months might I add. It seems that as soon as I would put on the shield, he would pull/knock it off and my milk would leak everywhere. It was increadibly isolating because I was uncomfortable attempting to nurse in public and noncordinated with the whole thing! Almost started to bottle feed because I was so frustrated. But I am happy to say that now at 3 months old he is now exclusively bf.

    What worked for us was to attempt to nurse without the shield for 5 minutes, if he started getting to upset I would put on the shield. Then after about 5-10 minutes I would take off the shield and attempt again. eventually he stayed latched on longer and longer.

    Good luck and hang in there!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    I think the problem I will have with weaning now is that it is sometimes a struggle to get her to latch even with the nipple shield. So once she is latched I'm afraid to pull her off to try without the shield. She knows that's where her milk comes from and she'll lunge for the shield and take it in her mouth. But often it seems like she forgets that she needs to suck and she'll get frustrated and finally she'll remember and go. Sometimes she gets it right away, sometimes it takes 5 minutes or more of crying and fussing.

    I've read that using the shield can reduce your supply. I don't think I have that problem b/c we've been using it exclusively for over 2 weeks and she's gaining weight very well. Those of you who used a shield, did you pump as well to keep up your supply?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    I had the exact same problem - flat nipples, as well my son was tongue-tied, jaundice and a few weeks early- started using a nipple shield around day 5 or 6 - I was fingerfeeding my DS up until then and even about a week into using the shield. My DS absolutely could not latch on... took about 5 weeks before he latched on just once for like 45 seconds - enough to give me the confidence to keep trying. By week 7, we were shield-free. Honestly, those were the LONGEST 7 weeks of my life - so many tears, I can't even tell you. Oh and what a mess using the nipple shield - I had OALD as well, so the shield would just fill up with milk so fast and my LO would move the wrong way, or get his hand in there, and all the milk would come pouring out. I tried everything everyone suggested to wean him. Pulling the shielf off midway through a feed and trying the breast never worked for me once. Basically I offered him my breast first absolutely every single feeding for at least 5 minutes - sometimes longer if he wasn't fussing. Then I would give him the shield. He was too smart to try to work at latching after I'd already given him the shield - but boy did he work hard at trying to latch before I'd give him the shield. Unfortunately, I don't have a trick to tell you - just offer you my support and let you know how AMAZING it feels when they finally latch on and EAT! It WILL happen. I had the most amazing lactation consultant who kept telling me over and over that she'd never seen a case where weaning wasn't possible eventually...

    keep up the good work!!
    Lisa

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    I had to use a nipple shield on one breast only until my DD was about 2months. I tried to not to stress about weaning her off it and let it happen naturally. It was frustrating to use - so messy and it seemed so unsanitary. But eventually she stopped needing it and at almost 4 months it is a distant memory. When she was having a good nursing day I would experiment with trying to get her to latch without it. If she got too upset I would have it on hand and slip it on. Sometimes I would feed from the right breast (no shield needed) and then when she was almost full try her on the left breast without the shield. The most important thing for me was not getting too discourged if she would eat without it one session and then seem to need it again. We made uneven progress. But gradually she needed it less and less. I had OALD too, so I think she liked the shield after a while because it helped her manage the flow, not so much because of my flat nipple. The nipple I needed it for still is quite flat but she is able to get it erect now while feeding. So as they get bigger, it gets better. But it might take some time. I kind of gave up on nursing in public anyway, because my DD just loves to fuss and pop off and on the breast throughout a nursing session. But hopefully once you get rid of the sheilds you will be good to go!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,967

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    I also was able to wean my dd off the shield. Tried persistently at about week 2 with very little success. Lots of tears with me too. It is very frustrating. I gave up for awhile and decided that I would let us get more used to nursing before I tried again. She was 6 wks then and we were able to ditch in less than a day. I think one of my big problems is I was trying to avoid nipple confusion and ditch the shield all together so that she would latch on to the breast. This didn't work, and I always gave in because I didn't want her to go too long without a good meal. What eventually worked for us was starting with the shield, then removing it. I also tried starting with the breast, then sheild, then back to breast. Most important is to try to stay calm so LO is calm- I wasn't able to do this for awhile. But you will get there- don't worry!

    Misty
    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    2,539

    Default Re: Trying to stop using a nipple shield

    I did pump out of fear of not producing enough I also wanted to start a supply to freeze for when I have to return to work. I now have the problem of overproducing and I also have a strong let down. Not that big of a problem though. If your LO is gaining well and is having enough wet and messy diapers a day, then you probably don’t have to pump. Good luck

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