nipple shields etc. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-11-2003, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi there - I'm looking for advice for a friend. She has a 2 1/2 week old baby girl, and is really struggling with bf'ing. She had an emergeny c-sec., and then, for some reason that isn't clear to me, the hosp. lactation consultant had her pumping and doing finger feedings (and not putting the baby the the breast AT ALL!). The nurses at the hosp. also gave the baby bottles of formula. They came home after 5 days, and she is now bf'ing but they have her using nipple shields. She says the baby won't latch on w/out them, but they are so frustrating to use that she is almost ready to quit.

An aside -- she comes from a family w/ a long hx of bottle feedign and a family mythology about not being able to breastfeed and so has no family support and very little confidence in her body's ability to work properly.

Any one know anything about nipple sheilds and weaning the baby off of them???
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#2 of 4 Old 03-12-2003, 02:34 PM
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Since I have no idea why they started your friend on the nipple shield in the first place I'll tell you my story. I started using one at 4 weeks because my dd had done such horrible damage to my nipples with a bad latch (a REALLY hard to identify bad latch). I was in such pain, bleeding, scabs, you name it. (I should have gotten help MUCH sooner) The nipple shield really saved our breastfeeding relationship and I was soooo grateful the first time the lactation consultant put it on and I could nurse without cringing and crying. Well, the theory was to use it until my nipples healed and then to stop using it. Easier said than done. We are STILL using a nipple shield at 7 mos.
Luckily your friends baby is still really young and not stuck in the habit yet. I'd recommend having your friend use the nipple shield initially each time she nurses, until the milk lets down, then take baby off and relatch without the shield. Of course, that really is assuming there isn't some other problem. Actually, scratch that... I'd have her see a different lactation consultant to make sure the baby latches on well and then get rid of that shield altogether. And more than anything... tell her NOT TO STOP TRYING. She can do it! And good for her for even trying when she doesn't come from a family that's very supportive of breastfeeding. Have her call her local LaLeche League... they can give her tips and give her much needed support. Weaning from the nipple shield takes lots of patience but is better done sooner than later.
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#3 of 4 Old 03-13-2003, 03:46 AM
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>The nurses at the hosp. also gave the baby bottles of formula.
If your friend's baby is nipple confused, which is very likely, LOTS of skin to skin contact can be VERY helpful. Have her put baby on her chest with only a diaper or diaper free. This helps to trigger the natural desire and reflexes that lead baby to the breast. Suggest she avoid the use of all artificial nipples (ie bottles and pacifiers) until the baby has been nursing well for a while. Some mothers find it very helpful, also, to start try to latch baby on before hunger really sets in. Watch for signs, such as tongue moving around and begin nursing then.
ARTGIRL - according to the Breastfeeding Answer Book, a baby will be ready to wean when the original problem is resolved. Have you checked for short frenulum? this could cause a bad latch and pain in the nipple.
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#4 of 4 Old 03-13-2003, 01:19 PM
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What about using the nipple shield is frustrating to her? I found that using it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it.

I used one for 4-5 months and during the first 2 months I was under the care of a LC. She should make sure that her supply is adequate while using the shield. She can do this by getting her baby weighed on a regular basis.

One thing to try is pump until letdown then try latching baby on. Another thing is to use the shield for a few minutes, then take it off and try latching baby on. The thing that worked for us to latch the baby on for a few minutes, then once the milk flow slowed a little DS got uninterested so I put the shield on and he would continue to nurse. Of course all these things depend on the fact that the baby is able to latch on properly, but just doesn't want to without the shield. So I would also really recommend that your friend see a LC who has experience with weaning off nipple shields. But even so, it's really up to your friend to take the time and energy to practice without it. A one hour session with a LC will help her with different things to try but in my experience it took a few weeks until DS ddin't seem to miss the shield. I was practicing at home on and off for a couple months until one day he latched on w/o the shield and then I upped my frequency of practicing (even after that first time he wouldn't do it at every nursing).

Hope that helped!

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