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Thread: Weaning off nipple shields - HELP!

  1. #1

    Default Weaning off nipple shields - HELP!

    Ethan was born 3.5 weeks early and was jaundice. He spent a week in Special Care and the midwives there got him onto 4 hourly feeds (which was great). I also started using a nipple shield because he was so on/off and kept falling asleep. I have tried to get him to feed without the shield but he just pulls off all the time so I went an saw a lactation consultant. She tweaked a few technicial issues and off we went. I have tried to do it since but when he gets hysterical he just won't latch on and I can't settle him so I go back to using the shield and he latches on fine. I am just upset that I can't feed without the shield and it upsets me that I have to use it. It makes it alot harder to feed in public and I am just getting frustrated by it. I tried again last night when he wasn't hysterical but still he just pushes off and I can't keep him on. Now not only am I back using the shield I have sore nipples! Am I just one of those people that will have to use the shields forever??????? He has been very unsettled the past few days and will cry unless he is in my arms. I don't think it is related to the feeding because this started before I started ditching the shield. I just think it is bad timing.


  2. #2

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    HI! I know exactly what you're going through! DS was on a shield for 10 weeks before he weaned off it! I"m not sure what advice you've been given but I was told to begin the feed with the shield on and when he's happy to quickly remove the shield and attach to the breast. It took weeks before he would go on without it and when he did he'd take a few sucks then come off, but one day he just went without altogether! Also try sneaking the shield away at night feeds, they're usually not as alert so it can be easier.
    You'll get there it just takes a bit of perserverance! You could also try contacting the ABA counsellors, I found their advice invaluable in those early weeks (if you go to the aba website they have online counselling as well). Good luck, and enjoy your bubba!

  3. #3

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    hi lynn, i used nipple shields for a few weeks when i first started bfing. i know they are not highly recommended, but they really helped me and got me through a real rough patch in my bfing journey. i hated having to take them out in public too and found them really annoying in the middle of the night. i used them for about 3 weeks, and then one night i had a nice, long, hot, relaxing bath with ds. he was just floating around me (i was holding him near my chest) when he decided to latch on without the shield. i have never used a shield since then.
    maybe you need to get yourself in a really relaxed, warm situation...and just take your time...and let him latch on without it. i love to just lay in bed with ds some afternoons and let him snuggle up and feed freely. it is so relaxing to have an arvo nap together.
    i'm sure barb will be able to help you out with this, but it sounds like you are doing a great job with your son and will be able to get rid of the shields soon.

  4. #4

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    Hugs honey This baby business is a challenge sometimes hey? As always the advice given is wise.
    I used nipple shields with my oldest child. I had an epidural headache and I couldn't latch her on so the shields were introduced. I did both the above - deep warm relaxing baths so she could find the nipple and "do what comes naturally" and also whipping it out mid feed when she was less frantic.

    It takes time and perserverence but you WILL get there in the end.
    Big hugs...
    I too endured what you are.

  5. #5

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    The advice you have already received is really good advice and I totally agree. I just wanted to let you know that I too have been there, and we also were able to wean off the nipple shields once Jack was a bit bigger. We were totally shield free by around 6 - 8 weeks. So most likely you will be able to feed without them in time. GL.

  6. #6

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    Thank you so much for your posts and suggestions. I was starting to think I was the only person using shields! I have tried a few more times, starting with the shield and then ditching it but he is still pulling off - maybe I have to hold him on a bit stronger????

    Thanks again everyone, I'll see how I go.

  7. #7

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    keep trying lynn, you'll get there eventually

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the support Gracie! I hope so.

  9. #9

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    Hi Lynn

    Just wanted to let you know that I am someone using a nipple shield. My daughter is 6 weeks old and in hospital I was told that I had short nipples. I was put on a nipple shield as I was in tears each time DD was put on the breast as they had been cut and lascerated. I then got mastitis and was on antibiotics for 3weeks. DD has been gaining weight well on the shield. I went to the b/f clinic at the hospital last week to try and wean her off them and although we got her attached, since doing so I have found that I have been engorged, blisters and cracked nipples again. I am finding it hard to go off them as at least I am not in pain.

    Please keep me posted with you progress.

  10. #10

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    Hey Milson, it is great to meet a fellow nipple shielder! It sounds like you have been through it all. I hope they are getting better and you aren't in too much pain

    Well it hasn't been going too good. Yesterday and last night I tried to feed starting with the shield and then removing it. While the shield is on he sucks beautifully but as soon as I take it off and latch him on he just wants to pull off all the time. I try to persist at every feed as I think he may be used to the shield because they are easier for him. I just hope it gets easier because right now it doesn't feel like it will.

    How are you going? Do you find it frustrating?

  11. #11

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    Lynn, just take your time hun. Ethan is of course used to the shields, and he might not feel ready to give them up yet LOL. Try feeding without them when you feel up to it, but try not to stress if it's not successful. One day it will be, and you'll be in here posting with great joy Maybe try just once or twice a day, to take some of the pressure off.

    I second the idea of hopping in the bath. Ethan will be relaxed, you will be relaxed, don't try to attach him, he will likely just jump on when he realises your boobs are just there. And if he doesn't, that's okay, you've had a lovely bath together and you can try again another time. My DS was 5 weeks prem, and when we had BFing problems, I hopped in the bath with him, expecting it to solve everything instantly. But he was so blissed out being in the bath, that he wasn't interested in feeding! I was disappointed, but as he's grown older, he loves to feed in the bath

    I saw your query wondering if you need to hold him stronger........I'm not an expert with shields, but I do know that most babies hate being held too firmly when being fed. I know if I ever tried it with my DS it would make him arch back even further and scream louder LOL. I would suggest that the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed Ethan will be. That's easier said than done, I know!

    Good luck Lynn, and keep us updated

  12. #12

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    Well I now have my second bout of mastitis. Was feeling ordinary last night and by 11pm absolutely freezing. Teeth chattering and in bed wearing winter PJ's, dressing gown, duna and two blankets. Didnt sleep much and then when it was feeding time was dripping in sweat. Not nice. I had been trying to get off the shields but now I am not so sure as feeling miserable. At least it was working and she has been gaining weight well.

    I am having terrible trouble with my wrists. They are so sore because of all of her fussing and picking up. It really hurts now when I am trying to attach her. We are 6 weeks now and I thought that it would be easier now. I have been told I have short nipples so that is why I am probably getting into trouble.

    How have feeds been going today?

  13. #13

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    I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time Milson. I had two bouts of mastitis in 3 weeks with DS1 so I know how awful it is (and I also needed shields to begin with). The thing is that it does get easier, and you are probably nearly there. It could be at 8 weeks, or 12 weeks, or sooner or later, but sometime soon, you will notice a difference. Your bub will be able to attach more easily, you will feel more confident, and things will start to look up. You really are through the hardest part now, well done for perserving past it. Now you've done that you can do anything!! Just give things time, and it will work out for you. My thoughts are with you, I don't miss those early feeding problems. But I am forever grateful that I perserved past them because I gotta tell you, a good bfing relationship is very rewarding. GL hun and take care.

  14. #14

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    Yep, used a shield with DS - it was the only thing that stopped me switching to Formula & then we went onto feed for 15 months!
    I would give the same advice as all the others - perserverance is the name of the game & one day it will just click for him & away you will go.... Good luck - I hope that day is soon

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    Hi,

    You are having your ups and downs, aren't you? You will get off the nippleshield, soon. But there is no burning imperitive to get off them *now*. IMO the best reason to get off them is that one day you are going to be sitting in a cafe, sippling your latte, and it will just be a nuisance. but right now it;s a useful tool that is helping you breastfeed.

    have you considered using a private Lactation Consultant. I think you will find it very useful

    Warm Regards
    barv

  16. #16

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    Well I haven't even tried today feeding without the shields - it just seems all too hard at the moment. I have a feeling that Ethan has reflux so I need to get that sorted out first. I might try again next week after I have seen the dr about his reflux. I have had many thoughts about giving it all up and going onto bottles but reading all your posts I think I will stick it out for a bit and see how we go. There must be a light at the end of the tunnel soon................

    Milson, I am sorry to hear that you have mastitis again. I have the same feeling, trying to get off the shields at the moment is just making me frustrated so I have decided to stick them out for a while longer. Hopefully one day we won't be using the shields and we will be celebrating together!

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    Hi Lynn, just wanted to share a little of the place of nipple shields so far in my bf journey... I had trouble with attachment when DS (now 10 weeks) was born, even though he was full term - I also had bleeding nipples and serious engorgement. My nipples were flat and his mouth was too small to take a decent mouthful compared to my enormous boobs. I used the shields for a number of weeks, at first trying like you to take them off early into a feed. In the end I found it better to only try without part way through the second side, once he wasn't starving and screaming for it... he's a guzzler who wants it yesterday... I found one side healed quicker and adapted to the supply-demand thing better, so gradually didn't need the shield on that side at all anymore. On the other side I've only stopped using it in the last 3 weeks or so. I found they didn't affect my supply, despite all I'd read about them doing that... I still had/have far more milk than my boy can take on the one side. Nipple shields got me through some of the toughest weeks so far in this motherhood thing, and meant I kept going with breastfeeding when I might otherwise have given up. Don't worry about it - you'll get there - and in the meantime, relax and go with it. Your baby will grow, his mouth will get bigger, your boobs will get smaller (in a weird kind of way... ) and things will become much easier. GL

  18. #18

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    Lynn, you're doing an excellent job hun. Just a note, (from someone who has to comp feed with formula) bottles and formula are not necessarily easier, although they seem like a quick fix. Bottle feeding, although pain free for you, comes with it's own stresses and worries, and formula can make things like reflux worse (it definitely did in our case). Never mind all the sterilising, and having to take it all with you when you go out! Trust me, once established, BFing is so much easier.

    Tackle the shields again when you've had a break, and sorted out your concerns about reflux. Remember, there's no rush. Good luck

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