Transition from using nipple shield?

PixieCurlPixieCurl Registered Users Posts: 5,656
Solomon and I had some trouble breastfeeding when he was first born, and we ended up using a nipple shield for nursing. I think the main problem is that my nipples are inverted. I can get them to come out pretty easily, but he wasn't latching on well so the lactation consultant at the hospital recommended using the shield.

It's now been over a month, and while I intended to transition away from using the shield, I haven't done it yet. I've tried a few times but not nearly as aggressively as I probably could. When Solomon eats, he sucks on and off, not continuously the whole time. Whenever we've attempted nursing without the shield, we'll be okay until he takes a break from sucking, then my nipple goes soft and we both get frustrated.

I guess my questions here are:

(1) is it too late to try to break from using the shield, since he's over a month old?

(2) does anyone have any suggestions on how to make it work?

and

(3) is it even worth it? I know nipple shields can decrease milk supply, but that doesn't seem to be a problem here. He's eating plenty and growing great. When my husband asked me why it was so important to me to stop using the shield, the only answer I could come up with is that it would be more convenient.

TIA for any replies :)
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:

Comments

  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Registered Users Posts: 31,259 Curl Connoisseur
    Nipple shields are only intended to be used for a day or couple of days, maximum. They do reduce supply, and, probably more importantly, they teach the baby to have a bad latch so that you may never be able to nurse without the shield without getting hamburger nipples. I would try to get rid of them, ASAP. How's his latch? Does he open his mouth wide and get a good tongue thrust to wrap around the nipple and areola? The shield teaches them to not open very wide and not use the tongue much at all. Maybe you could try just a feeding here and there without the shield and see how he does and watch his latch carefully, breaking it if he's on badly. An inverted nipple really doesn't matter that much if a baby has a good latch. They need to take the nipple and most of the areola in the mouth.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Registered Users Posts: 5,656
    I didn't know they were only intended to be used for such a short term. My sister used one the entire time she nursed my nephew (a year) because her nipples were also inverted and, unlike mine, wouldn't come out enough for him to nurse at all.

    The times when he has nursed without the shield - for only a minute or so at a time - it seemed like he had a decent latch. But then he'd take a break and my nipple would go soft in his mouth, and he wouldn't be able to latch back on. So I inevitably put the shield back on because I'm afraid he wasn't eating enough.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • shellibeanshellibean Registered Users Posts: 4,500
    I wish teh lady would have never given us the nipple shield. He refused to latch on. Seriously. He was hungry but would just like lick around on my nipples adn not try to suck. We tried and tried. The lactation lady would come in and do all kinds of things to us (including piss me off) and it never worked. So, she gave me a nipple shield since he seemed to prefer teh texture of a bottle to the texture of my nipple. he latched on pretty good w/ the shield but it became very uncomfortable b/c it kind of pinched. So, then I just pumped and that was extremley overwhelming for me. I think if it would have worked out better in the beginning, I would have breastfed for longer than a month. Supposedly, nipple sheilds are the debbil.
    A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose.

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  • beliciousbelicious Registered Users Posts: 196
    I used a nipple shield for over a month after too many painful issues with breastfeeding without it. If it was not for the shield, I would have given up on breastfeeding altogether. But after a few weeks of breastfeeding with the shield allowing for my nipples to heal, I became brave enough and relaxed enough to try breastfeeding again without the shield. First, I would try once a day, twice a day, etc. Eventually I was able to breastfeed without the shield and without pain. I got help wiith latch and just general support and encouragement from good lactation specialists and I got some harsh (though shall not) lectures from, in my opinion, bad lactation specialists. I think babies, like moms, are able to constantly learn new skills and can often adapt well. Good luck with the transition. It is much more convenient. No more constantly cleaning the shield, constantly looking for it.... Hope it works out for you! It worked for me. :)
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Registered Users Posts: 31,259 Curl Connoisseur
    PixieCurl wrote:
    I didn't know they were only intended to be used for such a short term. My sister used one the entire time she nursed my nephew (a year) because her nipples were also inverted and, unlike mine, wouldn't come out enough for him to nurse at all.

    The times when he has nursed without the shield - for only a minute or so at a time - it seemed like he had a decent latch. But then he'd take a break and my nipple would go soft in his mouth, and he wouldn't be able to latch back on. So I inevitably put the shield back on because I'm afraid he wasn't eating enough.


    Babies don't need a hard or erect nipple to suck. Unless the nipple is severely inverted, the baby should be able to draw it out to latch on. That's why I think he might be having latch issues.

    I know it's frustrating when they fuss at the breast, but you really need to encourage him to get a good latch with a lot of nipple in his mouth along with most of the areola. If he's hungry and is "taking a break" after a minute, that indicates to me he's not latching well.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Registered Users Posts: 5,656
    Thanks for all the replies everyone. You're encouraging me to keep working at it.
    If he's hungry and is "taking a break" after a minute, that indicates to me he's not latching well.

    He even does this WITH the shield though. Even at his hungriest, he still doesn't suck continuously the whole time.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • geekygeeky Registered Users Posts: 4,995
    It sounds like latch issues to me too.

    Dr. Jack Newman has helpful tips and even videos on latching on his site.

    It may also be time to call your local La Leche League chapter or certified lactation consultant.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • geekygeeky Registered Users Posts: 4,995
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Registered Users Posts: 5,656
    Thanks geeky. I think I will call an LC, and I have also looked into the local LLL. It looks like there are monthly meetings for a couple different regions in my area. Looks like I just missed it for one region this week but there may be one for another region the first week in November.

    I attempted to nurse without the shield at our last feeding, and it went okay. I started out without it and he actually did alright on the first side, but then he got frustrated and started crying, so I gave him the shield for the last few minutes (I now see in the link geeky posted that I shouldn't wait for him to get frustrated). The second side didn't go so well, so he used the shield just about the whole time.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Registered Users Posts: 31,259 Curl Connoisseur
    PixieCurl wrote:
    Thanks for all the replies everyone. You're encouraging me to keep working at it.
    If he's hungry and is "taking a break" after a minute, that indicates to me he's not latching well.

    He even does this WITH the shield though. Even at his hungriest, he still doesn't suck continuously the whole time.


    Yeah, that's my point. He's not latching well if he's taking breaks early in the nursing session, and babies really can't get a good latch with nipple shields so it teaches them the bottle-sucking technique, which doesn't necessarily translate well to breast-sucking. The longer you use the shields, the harder it is to re-teach a good latch later.

    The videos on the site that Geeky linked are great.
  • geekygeeky Registered Users Posts: 4,995
    Try calling the LLL leaders listed for your area. You may not have to wait for the monthly meeting. The leader can give you tips over the phone, even arrange to meet. In my experience the LLL folks are very passionate and committed to helping bf moms.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • iris427iris427 Registered Users Posts: 6,002
    Yes, call a LLL leader. Many will take time outside of set meeting times to help moms who are having trouble nursing.

    Pixie, my roommate also had trouble with inverted nipples and needed a breast shield. She had a LLL leader come by the house a couple times and help her. I don't know the details but she was able to nurse without the shield and the LLL woman really helped her a lot.
    3027585431_55b6195e50_s.jpg3028374752_0df4d81a1b_s.jpg3028422696_8dcef38baa_s.jpg
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  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Registered Users Posts: 5,656
    iris427 wrote:
    Pixie, my roommate also had trouble with inverted nipples and needed a breast shield. She had a LLL leader come by the house a couple times and help her. I don't know the details but she was able to nurse without the shield and the LLL woman really helped her a lot.

    This is encouraging! I called a LLL leader yesterday and left a message. Hopefully she calls back soon. If not, I'll follow up next week.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Registered Users Posts: 5,656
    It ended up being easier than I thought! Something must have just clicked for us yesterday, because we stopped using the shield and he's been eating fine. It's like he had an "Ah ha!" moment. He's still doing the start-and-stop thing, but no more than he did before, with the shield. I did talk to the LLL leader today on the phone and she gave me some tips and also invited me to come to a meeting - there's one at the end of November that I'll probably stop by. Anyway, thanks to all who replied!
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • mad scientistmad scientist Registered Users Posts: 3,530 Curl Neophyte
    Congratulations!!!!

    Wishing you many easy months of nursing ahead!!


  • geekygeeky Registered Users Posts: 4,995
    Good to hear, Pixie.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.

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