Nipple shield weaning? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-13-2006, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I would like any information about how to wean a baby from using a nipple shield. I don't think she's getting enough from using it, but she's absolutely refusing my breast, that is without the nipple shield. I'm getting pretty discouraged, and she's 6 days old. I had a C-section, and I know that makes it even more challenging to get your baby to latch on correctly. Any information anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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#2 of 7 Old 07-13-2006, 06:21 AM
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Congratulations on your new arrival. It can be difficult getting it all together after a c/s, actually for every first time mother.
Have you seen a lactation consultant? I would recommend that in the first instance. I know that some mothers have had success weaning off the shield by cutting the hole in the middle a tiny bit bigger day by day. But if your baby refuses the breast with this technique you really need professional assistance. At 6 days old it is easy for a baby to become dehydrated. And as a nipple sheild decreases the amount of stimulation to the breast it is important to pump after feeds to boost supply as this is the period when your breasts are regulating supply to your baby's needs. Any attachment problem can be helped by lots of skin-to-skin time as well, so just hang out with your baby at the breast between feeds, this will help with supply too.
But, yeah, an L/C or LLLI.
Good luck.
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#3 of 7 Old 07-13-2006, 10:19 AM
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Welcome to MDC, Mayamama!
First off, make sure you think she's not getting enough milk because YOU don't think she is, not because someone has scared you into thinking that. The number of wet and poopy diapers she is having should be your biggest clue. A lot of people had me worried about that when DD was a newborn and we were using shields, but she was actually getting plenty of milk. My supply has always been plentiful, and she is a fat and beautiful 3.5 month old. However, a trip to the lactation consultant would probably be helpful either way, and your supply is not something you should play around with--I'm just saying it is still possible to have adequate supply with the shields, so make sure you are looking at the signs.
Next, I've read that if you are using silicone shields, which most of them are now, you should NOT cut them off as PP suggested. From what I've read, that was good advice for the old latex shields, but can create sharp edges with the silicone ones that can cut Baby's little tongue.
Finally, just wanted to say that since my DD was getting enough milk from the shields, I decided not to stress myself out about weaning from them and just to enjoy nursing the way we did it. Every now and then I would offer her the breast without the shield, and figured if she didn't take it, we'd just still keep on loving the shield (which we affectionately nicknamed The Magic Nipple). Finally, about two weeks ago, DD decided she actually could latch without it just fine, and now we are down to about 50% nursing with the shield, and 50% without. I'm sure in another few weeks we won't be using it at all. I'm so thankful that we were able to breastfeed even though my baby wouldn't latch, and I'm thankful now that she's old enough to have finally figured it out!
Good luck mama!

Homeschooling mama to DD 3/28/06 reading.gif,  DS 2/27/10 coolshine.gif, Belle the Orange Dog 03/11, and DD babygirl.gif 10/03/2013.
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#4 of 7 Old 07-13-2006, 11:00 AM
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I have heard from LCs that the new silicone nipple shields do not necessarily affect milk removal. In other words, they don't keep your baby from getting milk. And, like HappiLeigh, I have also heard that you shouldn't cut them as cutting creates sharp edges.

I used a nipple shield with my DS and had to wean him off it twice (long story ). Both times the way I did it was to start nursing with it on, then remove it half way through the feed. If he was unable to relatch without it, then I assumed he wasn't ready to wean. He did manage to wean both times, but on his timeline, not mine. When he was 5.5 months old he finally started nursing correctly--no shield and a perfect latch. So it can be done--just try not to rush your baby. It's possible that she is just not ready for whatever reason. My ped hypothesized that my DS's mouth just wasn't big enough until he was nearly six months old.

Good luck and hang in there--you're doing great!
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#5 of 7 Old 07-13-2006, 11:39 AM
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I did it the same way as PP... I would get him started on a feeding, then after a few minutes, take off the shield. It took a couple weeks of just trying that, sometimes having to put the shield back on.... then doing a few feedings a day without it, up to finally getting rid of it!
Good luck!
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#6 of 7 Old 07-13-2006, 09:34 PM
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I don't yet have a 100% sucessful weaning story yet, but I will second the don't assume the baby won't get enough milk. We've been bf with a shield for 4mo now and and Ds has more than trippled his body weight. We've mostly (not always) used a shield and are in a second weaning attempt but taking it slow.

I worked quite a bit with an LC and from reading on, all the advice I've read is to take it at an easy pace so as not to stress out the baby. Feeling like you can't get food when you're hungry is scary to a babe so absolutely make it a priority to help her stay relaxed. Other tips I've picked up follow, but some of them depend on why you started using a shield.

--- express some milk so its already on the nipple and she can taste it and begin to associate it with your nipple, not just the shield
--- use one hand to compress the nipple so its firmer like the shield and more familiar to latch onto
--- pump enough to stimulate letdown first so baby gets a quick reward for sucking on the bare nipple.
--- don't remove the shield in the middle of every nursing session because the baby will tense in expectation of this and the nursing relationship will be stressful. start with just a few sessions scattered through out the day
--- don't cut a silicone nipple (ditto to pp).
--- try letting her nuzzle the nipple after a feeding (when there is still milk there) or at other times to become famliar with the different textures. I sometimes would try to insert the nipple into Ds mouth as he was falling asleep, but not latch

I go one of two ways depending on his level of hunger and state:calm, alert, happy, sleepy, upset, etc.

Anxious or Panicked=start with the shield and wait until a few minutes after let-down to try removing the shield and relatching. Continue trying to latch until a) baby is on and nursing, or b)until frustration sets in and then return to the shield before both of us become stressed

Early cuing=express some milk and try latching on bare. Sometimes he'll go for this, often not.

Its often reccomended to try and latch on while baby is sleepy, but that tends to infuriate my Ds so I only go for nursing sessions when he is wide awake, or nursing after a nap so he isn't trying to put himself to sleep.
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#7 of 7 Old 07-20-2006, 06:04 PM
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I'm also trying to wean my son off the shield, and have a question. When he uses the shield, he rarely pulls off (only when he has gas), but when I try to latch him on without the shield, he'll suck for several seconds and then pull off, repeatedly. Do babies usually stay on when nursing without a shield? Eventually he seems to get too frustrated and I go back to the shield. But if pulling off and relatching several times is normal, then I'll keep it up...

CPST and mom to Toby 6/06 and Caleb 8/09
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