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Just wanted to say something a little different about nipple shields. Some smaller babies - especially premature infants with weaker sucks do transfer more milk with a shield than without. There has been research with preemies that demonstrates this. Shields should always be used under supervision with a good LC or a knowledgeable doc to make sure the desired goal is being met (transferring good amount of milk at the breast, and growing!) The thinking is that the shield is a firmer texture and the smaller, weaker infant can grasp the firmer nipple shield a little better sometimes and are able to transfer more milk that way. There should always be test weights done though to ensure that this is actually the case, though, because some babies can't move milk with a shield, and some moms find that their supply suffers with a shield.
I don't know about that short nipple thing, though - haven't heard that one before. I have used shields with success with moms who have flat nipples, though, when every other technique has failed to get the baby on the bare breast. Most of the time, the baby can be weaned from the shield to bare breast once they have the hang of nursing, though. I have one mom in my practice with flat nipples, and a baby that refused to try at the breast at birth. We finally convinced this baby to latch with a shield at 24 hours when he had not latched once yet. He nursed beautifully with the shield, and we watched him very carefully for weight gains in the beginning. Unfortunately, he was never willing to give up the shield once he got used to it, though. They are still nursing happily at 9 mos, though - and aside from some difficulty nursing in public because of the shield, they are otherwise doing great. It's unusual to not be able to wean from the shield, though.
You can start by starting with the shield, then once the nipple is drawn out and baby is not starving, take off the shield and put baby to breast. Once this is working, then try to start feeds without the shield as well. You might have luck offering the breast when baby is sleepy, or when baby has just woken up. Some babies latch better if you take them in the tub with you, and both soak in warm water together. Babies born at 36-37 weeks are often slower to get feeding well, and you have to be more aggressive about waking the baby more often to feed. Once they are past 40 weeks corrected age, they often start to feed more aggressively, and you can often then get rid of the shield, and stop watching the clock to wake the baby and trust them to wake on their own. It's probably good to do some insurance pumping to make sure your supply stays up while you are still using a shield.
Definitely time of feedings and time between feedings varies in a healthy baby. Especially while you're still working on getting a supply established, its best to nurse the baby whenever she is willing! I hope you are following up with an LC or a breastfeeding knowledgeable doc, and I hope you have good support in your personal life too! The first few weeks are hard, but once breastfeeding is established, it doesn't require anywhere near the amount of thinking and working at it!
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