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Nipple Shield Weaning

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Help! Baby is 6 weeks old & we still have not been able to completely wean from the nipple shield.  I was lazy in the beginning and didn't force the issue because bf is so easy with the shield.  But now I'm getting clogged ducts & with baby's frequent 

(sometimes as much as every 45 mins - 1 hr), I'm concerned that baby is not able to transfer enough.  The main problem we are having is that he will not open his mouth wide enough for it not to be painful.  Even when I am able to push him on with a wide mouth, he will quickly clamp down tighter or pull back.  I've tried slipping my finger in to push down his jaw or chin but he is very strong & it usually only makes him tighten up.  It has gotten so bad that I have friction blisters on both nipples & have started to think that maybe bf isn't for me.  But my goal is 6 months & I don't want to give up! What can I do?

post #2 of 9

We were on the nipple shield for about 3 months and finally were able to get off of it.  DS's mouth grew, I guess, and it just slowly got less painful.  He was doing what you are describing.  But in your case, I would have a visit with a lactation consultant and see if you can get to the underlying issue of the shallow latch and possible low transfer.

 

I think you will be able to get off of the nipple shield eventually but it sounds like you might just need a little more help figuring what's going on.

post #3 of 9

I used the nipple shield with my son (who is two years old now) until he was eight weeks old. I too wanted to stop using the nipple shield as soon as possible, but it was tricky because of my anatomy more than his mouth or latch.

 

Do you have a lactation consultant, midwife, doula, pediatrician or Le Leche League leader offering you any support or input on the issue? Has anyone definitely said it's your child's latch that's not right?

 

The reason I ask is because what finally worked for us was the Lansinoh nipple extractor, again because the issue was my anatomy, not my son's latch. The day I used the extractor was literally the day we stopped using the nipple shield for good. A breast pump would probably work as well as the extractor, if there's any issue at all with flat nipples.

 

I'm so sorry it's become frustrating for you and that you're beginning to experience clogged ducts. I had a run in with mastitis while using the shield, so I understand wanting to get off of it. But more than anything I was just sad about having to use the shield because we weren't nursing the way I had anticipated. Ultimately, I had to tell myself that I was still giving my son the best even if it wasn't exactly how I wanted it to be.

 

I hope you find out very soon what the issue is. You are doing such an amazing job! Motherhood, especially if this is your first, is so unpredictable in those first weeks and months. And no one - NO ONE - tells you about nipple shields or colic or latch issues or reflux when you're awaiting sweet baby's arrival. So we are required to shoot from the hip and make huge decisions on very little sleep with the best information we can get from people we hope we can really trust. It's a wild time, but you are doing so well and reaching out for help here is a great step as well. I've gotten so much amazing input and advice from mommas here.

 

Best wishes to you and your sweet baby, who, by the way, is nursing at very normal frequency for an infant. Sounds very healthy!

 

Take care...

post #4 of 9

Nipple shields are hard to wean from, in my experience - but it can be done!  I have a 9 month old who was born 2 months early with a congenital heart condition that required him to stay in the NICU for the first two months of his life.  Nursing him from the beginning required a nipple shield since he was so tiny and in the hospital but when I got him home I weaned him from it over a 3 week period by weaning him from it mostly at night when he was sleepy but hungry and not awake enough to protest much.  I started out the first week or so trying to nurse without the shield at night, and then it probably took another 2 weeks of intermittent tries before he really developed his latch and would stay on for any length of time.  He didn't like it at first - but it did get easier.   I too agree that his frequency of nursing sounds perfectly normal (although I know it's exhausting for you dear mama), and it helped me to remember that his stomach is super small, and it won't always be so intense; like you said he will get bigger and it will get easier. But please do get immediate help if you haven't already. Contact your local La Leche League, or a lactation consultant - sometimes they can even come to your house and get you some fast help. La Leche League's website has wonderful nipple shield information that you can download for free.  Breastfeeding for me has not been easy either, and I feel your frustration! You are giving him an immeasurable gift of nutrition, bonding, and love, and I hope you get some help that allows you to reach your goal of 6 months. 

post #5 of 9

You can do it, Mama!  Nipple shields can be hard to wean from--I used one for 14 weeks with my first son and then "cold turkey" threw it away one day with my birth doula's encouragement.  It was a rough 24 hours, but then he started latching perfectly and I am still nursing him at nearly 3 years old.  I have a new 9-week-old daughter who used the shield off and on for 2 weeks and then we just gradually got rid of it, she started to protest at having it and then I just threw it away and trusted that she would learn to latch.  She did!  I have a bit of flat nipples, so I think in the early days, my babies need shields, it seems!  Trust yourself and your baby, he will learn to nurse without the shield soon.  Once he or she is 3-4 months old, just try getting rid of it cold turkey, the mouth will have grown and the baby will know he needs to latch to eat, and eventually will.  You can do it!  I wish you the best.  

post #6 of 9

I'm so glad i found this thread! My baby is only 3 weeks old, but the shield is beginning to hurt my nipples when he sucks for a while (10 mins).  I know that i don't have flat nipples and my baby sucks really well, but he has a tongue tie that we were working on getting around. Now i'm trying to wean him off of the shield cause he sucks my nipple through the holes that are in it. it hurts me, so i take him off and try to get him to latch without the shield. (I have hard time with this cause my little boy will cry so hard his head turns purple. I also have a hard time anytime he cries really hard, but that's always been a weakness of mine.) i know of a Lactation consultant that i can call, but i don't know if she will do house calls.

post #7 of 9

AlyssaH: I just wanted to share with you what happened to me. My DD had a tongue tie and I saw 8 different LCs before I found a person who helped me. I specifically asked them about tongue ties and some told me DD didn't have it others that clipping a tt is too controversial so better try nursing without the clip. In order to deal with the pain a LC suggested a nipple shield. IT helped in the beginning but it drove my milk supply down. By the time my DD was 4 months old we were supplementing and I was in horrible pain all the time. The person who helped me was a pediatrician (she is also a certified LC). She clipped the tt in 2 seconds and I stopped feeling pain. She saved our nursing relationship. After the tongue was clipped I threw the nipple shield away cold turkey. It took 2 days to get her to latch on properly. She is doing great now. If your baby has tongue tie, get her evaluated by a professional who has experience with tongue ties. There are a lot of people out there who really want to help but sometimes don't have the experience to do it. In my case I spent 4 agonizing months and almost lost my supply. 

post #8 of 9

thank you for letting me know. we are weaning off of the nipple shield before getting his tt clipped. DH and i have decided that it would be best to clip it. I had the pediatrician look at it at our last appointment and he said that if it was causing problems to go ahead and get it clipped. As far as i know, the shield hasn't messed with my supply yet, but a very good milk supply runs in my family.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for your suggestions & well wishes! I am happy to report that we are now shield free! However, unhappily, we were forced to wean because of a nasty case of thrush! If it's not one thing it's another! faint.gif

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