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kat.c.stevens 05-10-2010 01:02 AM

Hello to you other nursing mamas!

I just had my first baby 8 days ago and am learning with him how to breastfeed and all of the joys and trials that go with it! After he was born, my midwife noticed that he was having trouble latching on to my nipple, since I guess they are a little small/ short, and she suggested we try a nipple shield. She also said this would help with the soreness that I reported the following day. So, with my extra-small silicone nipple shield, I have been successfully breastfeeding my son for the past week. He now latches on just fine and my nipples seem to be toughening up. My problem is that now I am a little annoyed with the shields (having to wash them each time, having them fall off as he paws around my breast before latching, etc.) and I would like to start weaning us both off of them. Currently, I am trying to get him to latch and suck without the shield at least once or twice a day. He has yet to do it successfully for an entire nursing session, and I must admit is more painful when he latches that way. However, I am willing to endure the pain. So, what should I do? How can I get him to latch and nurse without the shields for good? For those who have done this, were there tips or tricks you used? For your reference, I have a very sleepy nurser on my hands, so he's either a little sleepyhead when he latches, or he gets frustrated pretty quickly and just moves his head quickly from side to side- totally missing the nipple. Thanks in advance for your help!

baloo888 05-10-2010 03:41 AM

I used a nipple shield the first week (or was it two?) after my baby was born. Unfortunately, I don't have any tricks for you but after several days/nights of stressing about how we were going to break ourselves of the shield, a girlfriend offered me some wisdom that seemed to work for us. She said that my baby needed to work at figuring out how to latch just as much as I had to figure out how to get her to properly latch -- essentially she advised to just take the shield off and go for it. I recall trying to not use the shield from then on. Some sessions it worked. Some it didn't. The times it didn't work, I would just put it on and try again the next time. I also spent a lot of time watching videos to see what a proper latch looked like and how to help the baby latch on properly. It hurt like heck and for several weeks I had chapped nipples, curled up toes, and lots of vulgar profanities crossing my lips but eventually she and I got it and the pain just went away. She is now 16 months and we're still breastfeeding. You can do it!

kanga1622 05-10-2010 08:36 AM

We used a nipple shield for the first two weeks. After he started slowing down his weight gain and my doc started talking about supplementing, I ditched the shield cold turkey and just kept trying until he latched on. It was a rough couple of feedings but once he started getting more milk he figured everything out pretty quickly.

DS still has a shallow latch at 9.5 weeks and I'm constantly dealing with cracks and pain, but my supply rebounded and he's gaining appropriately so we just deal.

sugarpop 05-10-2010 03:08 PM

I used a nipple shield as well, it saved our nursing and my sanity! I waited until I was blistered and bleeding to use them so I didn't have some of the latching issues you are having. She latched, wrong and hurt me lots!

So anyhow we started using them for week #2 and then after a full week of using them started occasionally nursing without them, once a day maybe. Then slowly built up from there. The latch was different and she had to almost relearn, but I consistantly pulled her off if it was bad and tried again. It probably took another 2 weeks to completely wean off of them. I didn't want any more blisters or pain, and going slow was the way to do it for us!

mommy92109 05-10-2010 04:44 PM

We used a shield for about 2 months (one of those months was spent transitioning off the shield). My ds was hospitalized for a month right after birth. I tried to latch him without it at every feeding and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. If it didn't work, I put on the shield. It took a while, but he eventually just figured it out one day, and that was the end of that. Be patient, it may take some time, but you'll both figure it all out if you keep at it! I agree with baloo888-don't stress about it-just go for it, and eventually it will come.

beep 05-10-2010 04:47 PM

I found the nipple shields to be an absolute godsend--the only way my tiny boy could find to latch successfully at first. I tried weaning him off the shield the second week and could just tell he wasn't ready, so I tabled the issue for a bit. In week three we would start every feeding with 3-5 tries at latching without the shield, use it for the rest of the feeding. It felt like a long time, but in retrospect I'm sure that within a week we were off it entirely, and fairly painessly. 3-5 tries eventually was just the whole feeding. My experience was that being slow and patient was very effective. I should note though that I didn't have any supply issues, and was also pumping at other times (to help keep up supply and to be able to feed the baby by syringe as needed).

lactivistmama 05-11-2010 07:38 PM

Slip off the shield once baby has been latched for a little while.
Start the feeding when baby is still groggy from sleeping.. HTH

penstamon 05-12-2010 12:43 AM

We used a shield for the first few weeks and I remember being so stressed about weaning from it. Basically I tried to slip it off after nursing for awhile so he wasn't ravenous and the flow had calmed down. It took a least a week of me trying here and there until he was just fine with it. Don't stress too much- I know what a pain they are but it will be over in the blink of an eye!

bubbamummy 05-12-2010 01:02 AM

Im using a shield with my 3 week old. It was an absolute life saver. I KNOW I would not be breastfeeding now without it. I pumped exclusively for a year for my son due to latching issues and with my new DD we were headed the same way- I had bleeding nipples by day 3.

My lactation consultant showed me an English study that showed there was no difference in milk transfer with shields or without, mamas who nursed with shields had babies that still gained weight well, this study refred to the newer silicone shields.

I have decided to stop stressing. She is gaining weight, my nipples dont hurt and she is getting breastmilk. We occasionally are able to get a reasonable latch while laying down in bed-without the shield, but 90% of the time we use one. When she gets a little older, and I have recovered from my c-section more fully we will work on ditching the shield with the help of a LC.

Dont stress mama. Newborns are stressful enough as it is

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