Weaning off nipple guards? (Bit long)

(13 Posts)
JaclynLouise Fri 14-Oct-16 10:28:16

Another post from me (sorry)!
So my 2 week old has been used to nipple guards from about day 2, she was born with a tongue tie and although she latched well I honestly believe there is something wrong with my nipple cus within 24hours it was tearfully painful to get her on, but I'd had to stop bf my last one for similar reasons and was determined to make t work this time! Thanks to the nipple shields, it's been going perfectly! Until 2 days ago.
I'm fairly confident she is suffering from a gassy tummy and think the guards aren't helpful because of course there's a bit of an air bubble before the milk comes through.
When I try without the guards, she does try to latch! But when she does it lasts a second or 2 and then she lets go, this happens a few times while she bobs around frantically looking for something to grab on to (my nipples are rather flat which doesn't help) until she eventually gives up sad does anyone have any advice? I feel bad that she's so used to the guards now and I feel bad that we can't feed successfully without them. I'd be happy to keep them but I don't want to cause her pain! Help please xx

SpeakNoWords Fri 14-Oct-16 11:29:10

You could try expressing a little before a feed, just to try to help pull your nipple out to make it easier to latch. You can also get something called a Latch Assist which does similar.

chloechloe Fri 14-Oct-16 11:57:40

Don't beat yourself up - you're doing a great job! BF can be really difficult and IMO it's better to BF using shields that FF. Also if you FF she would likely get more air bubbles from a bottle!

The AP's comment gave me an idea - would it help to express some milk through the shield before you let her latch on? Then take the time to make sure she has a good burp after feeding, maybe keeping her upright for a while.

From my own experience I think some babies just need a bit of time and practice to develop the strength and technique to latch on. I expressed for 6 weeks as DD could not latch on at all. Then she managed to latch on with shields then at 3 months she managed without and I BF her 11 months. She'll give them up in her own time. Just keep trying now and then to slip the guard off part way through a feed and at some point it will work!

chloechloe Fri 14-Oct-16 12:00:26

Something else - I had one flat and one inverted nipple which added to the problems. With time they do get pulled out with all the feeds which also makes it easier for them to latch later on.

JaclynLouise Fri 14-Oct-16 12:19:58

Thank you! Sometimes can't help but feel guilty for the situation we're in!
I had thought of trying to fill the shield before bringing her to it so maybe I'll try that!
I had been trying to offer her the bare breast before the shield, but maybe trying part way through would help like you said, as my nipples will be out more already!
How did you find getting off the shields after using them for so long, did she go straight on? Did you try cold turkey or over time?
Her discomfort seems worse in the evening and night which is why I had wondered about colic but she doesn't cry for hours non stop, and she really does struggle to wind which is what made me think of her being full of gas!

Cinnamon84 Fri 14-Oct-16 18:22:42

Hello I've had a similar experience. Tt was snipped at 2 weeks, I've continued using shields as it was still very painful. He then wouldn't latch on without them but I managed to get him on the other day (he's now 8 weeks) after some skin to skin and with him on my belly he found the nipple by himself. i then managed to get him on in our usual position (cradle) - the only problem was it still really hurts so I've gone back to the shields...(that's another story) - but just to say try skin to skin and a new position that your dd isn't used to.

Sorry this is written so badly, had a long day!

JaclynLouise Fri 14-Oct-16 19:17:44

Sorry it's been difficult for you, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who's had to try other methods (that sounds so bad haha).. I'm not alone after all! I think I'm just going to keep with the shields and offer bare breast every now as them throughout the day!
Did have some good news though (not) fears confirmed.. she has colic sadso trying anything but the shields at night time is impossible at the moment cus she struggles to feed as it is! Hoping with lots of soothing and bits of infacol it passes sooner rather than later

Hedgeh0g Fri 14-Oct-16 19:29:20

My 6 week old also struggles with gas. I think some babies just do. I sympathise - he's also worse at night and it's miserable, sitting for an hour after each feed while he writhes around on my shoulder, knowing he's going to want to feed again in an hour. Babies' tummies are just immature - we just need to hang on in there and it'll get better as they grow. I've found bicycling his legs helps somewhat in the middle of the night.

On the subject of nipple shields, both my sons have been tongue tied, my elder much worse than my now 6 week old. He couldn't latch at all without shields either, even after the tie was cut. At around 4 months, just as I was resigning myself to having to use them for the whole time I was feeding (I hated them with a passion), he just latched without one day. And that was that, we were shield free within a couple of days. I fed him for 18 months. My advice is, by all means keep trying now and then to get baby to latch without - part way through the feed is good advice - but don't stress about it. It'll most likely just come with time as baby's mouth gets bigger.

Hedgeh0g Fri 14-Oct-16 19:32:50

Oh, and incidentally, my son who I fed with shields didn't really suffer badly with gas. The one who doesn't need them does. I wouldn't beat yourself up that the shields are causing the gas - some babies are just gassy.

freewheezy Fri 14-Oct-16 19:34:53

I used nipple shields for about 3 weeks after expressing and bottle feeding from birth until 6 weeks. She refused to latch at all and I cried with happiness when she latched with the shield.
One day she wouldn't latch with the shield, kept shaking her head and crying and I though well that's it I'll have to start expressing again. But I took the shield off and she latched to the breast. Badly and very shallow but a latch none the less. So after that I ditched the shields and it was hard. Sometimes it took me 10 or 15 mins just to get her latched on and it was hard.
It took another month or so to get the latch right and now she's 4 months and latching on in a second.
You could try expressing a bit to draw out your nipple like pp have said. And also try a sandwich hold and the 'flipple' technique. (There are videos on YouTube of this). Try and get to a breastfeeding group near you. I put this off for ages and when I finally went it was so helpful I wished I'd done it sooner. I'm sure you'll get practical advice there and also just people to talk to who are going through the same.
Infacol worked for us. I know some people say it's pointless but I used it for 3 months and it's the only way she could bring up burps. Also tummy time helps put some gentle pressure on the tummy. A warm bath followed by some tummy massage (I just rub gently in a clockwise motion) can help with wind. I think it's just trial and error for what works for your baby but it's so hard when you feel so helpless.
You could try offering one breast with the shield and the next without? When she's not as hungry she might be more willing to try and latch.
But most importantly don't stress. It sounds like you're doing a really great job and these things will almost likely sort themselves out over time as she gets bigger and more efficient at feeding. Lots of skin to skin, keep offering the breast without the shield but if she (or you) get frustrated just pop the shield on smile
Please don't feel guilty at all. All you can do a try your best. Breastfeeding is so hard at first it is the most physically and emotionally draining thing I've ever done but once it clicks and you and baby get better it really is worth it. You should be really proud of yourself, don't let it get you down x

chocolateshortcake Sat 15-Oct-16 21:07:59

I used nipple shields for nearly 4 months due to flat nipples/tiny mouth/supposed tongue tie (we didn't get it cut and there is no evidence of tongue tie now hmm) and I tried repeatedly to wean him off them in that time, eventually just resigned myself to using them forever. Aimed for 6 months. One day he just refused to take the boob with the nipple shield and we have been nipple shield free ever since. He's 9 months now and still breastfeeding. He was a very burpy baby and still does do some monster ones. Just go with it and folllow baby's lead.

Notabadger Mon 17-Oct-16 14:38:25

I used nipple shields too, they're great! I think a lot of the negative stuff you might see is based on older rubber shields not the current thin ones. I used them for about 9 weeks, was impossible without. But weaned off them as they were a faff to carry around/use in public.

I went to a local bf support group and was told to do it like this: start feed with shield as normal, when there is a pause in sucking take baby off (using little finger to break latch), remove nipple shield, then try to get them latched again to breast. Had to do it bit by bit over a few weeks but then it was fine!

But my baby still had bad wind even after that (sorry!)

AprilShowers16 Tue 18-Oct-16 04:34:44

I used nipple shields for the first 6 weeks and had similar worried to you when we had a few weeks of baby being really gassy and grunty at night. I was convinced it was the nipple shields getting gas into his stomach and hurting him. It stopped after a couple of weeks - moving him into a large cot and using white noise seemed to help but in all honesty I think it's just something babies go through as their gut is developing - he's 11 weeks now as sometimes j still feed with the shields and it makes no difference to his gas

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