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Keep up the breastfeeding for at least 4 weeks. That is the average time it takes for you and baby to learn. For your first question.

"So my questions regarding this are: is it true that the nipple shields have the above negative effects? and how can I persuade my daughter to nurse without them?"

Nipple sheilds will reduce your supply. Your baby is not able to stimulate your breast as much as skin to skin. Keep trying to nurse without the shild. If the baby is fussy start with the sheild and then when the milk is coming try taking it off. Try with every feed.

"Every once in a while, she goes four-five hours. "

This sounds like a very long time. Does she fuss at all? A baby this age usually eats every 2-3 hours. Offer the breast during this time to see if your baby will eat.

"And when she's nursing, the amount of time she spends at the breast is quite variable--anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. One marathon nursing session lasted an hour and a half. Is this normal or at least not indicative of a problem? "

Variation is normal I believe. Is your baby having lots of wet diapers?

"Third, I'm pumping about once a day when she goes longer between feedings in hopes of keeping the supply from dwindling. I usually get about 2-4 ounces. Does that seem like a normal supply?"

Sounds like a normal pumping supply.

I am not a lactation expert just breastfeeding my three boys mother. I hope some of this helps. Try to get your hands on THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. Check your local library of ask the LC if they have a copy you can look at. Will asnwer a lot of your questions.

Take care
 
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