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Nipple shields for newborn nipple confusion?

(14 Posts)
Rudolphsnose Tue 04-Jan-11 10:14:25

SIL has asked me for advice and I need some help. DN is 3 weeks and was born at 5.5lb. SIL is struggling with BFing and is mostly FFing, attempting BF and giving up and offering a bottle instead. She said she was advised to use nipple shields to help with nipple confusion. Dies this sound right? I'm heading over to see them today to offer what advice and reassurance I can. But could do wit some info please.

rubyslippers Tue 04-Jan-11 10:18:07

No to nipple shields

They can exacerbate nipple confusion

If she wants to breastfeed she really needs to drop the formula and offer the boob at every squeak

She needs to go to bed with the baby, skin to skin and lots of body contact for a few days to build her supply

Bottle feeding is easier for the baby so it can be hard to switch between the two

Has she got someone to observe a feed in RL to check all is ok?

rubyslippers Tue 04-Jan-11 10:19:01

Does she want to breastfeed as it will take determnation to get the baby onto the breast again?

vintageteacups Tue 04-Jan-11 10:21:12

Bit of an ever decreasing circle potentially.

If she is planning on increasing bf to fully bf, then ideally, the baby needs to be weaned off the shields. They can prevent proper stimulation of the nipple, therefore reducing milk production.

However, if she was little at birth and finds it difficult to latch on, then the shields could help.

If the shields work and your SIL is doing okay with them, then I woudn't worry.

My DNephew was only fed using the shields as he just couldn't take the nipple properly. It was the only way sister could feed him.

Obviously, if your SIL is mix feeding, the less she breast feeds, over time, milk production will decrease as she decreases the breast feeds. If she say, bottle feeds morning and night and breast feeds in between and keeps it the same pattern , then the breasts will establish milk for the times inbetween and that could work fine.

If though, she's stopping and starting and changing timings when she either bottle feeds or breast feeds, the breasts will always be making different amounts and it will get confusing.

Rudolphsnose Tue 04-Jan-11 10:24:40

I'm going over to check latch for her today but given that she isn't hurting when feeding and the baby seems contented when on the breast I think this probably isn't the issue. I agree that she needs to spend lots of cuddly skin to skin time with DN and accept that this is fairly hardcore for a while. I think mostly the problem is that she (like most 1st time Mums) had no idea that BFing is actually work sad

I have just started training to be a BFC but so far we have focussed on the counselling side rather than BFing. I think this is what she needs but obviously if I'm out of my depth I'll call my tutor and ask fr her help.

rubyslippers Tue 04-Jan-11 10:27:28

Yes breast feeding in the early days is a job

Hope everything gets sorted out

Good luck

Rudolphsnose Tue 04-Jan-11 10:31:34

I'm not sure she does really. Something else to watch for today.

vintageteacups Tue 04-Jan-11 11:16:47

If the baby is correctly latched on and your sil sin't getting any pain - then I reckon she's cracked it.

I would just explain why they said to use shields (teat/nipple confusion) but explain that milk production will be more effective without them (Im a doula and BF peer supporter too).

I'm sure the HV just told her to use them without explaining the consequences but if she's doing as well as you say, then I'm sure she could just carry on bf without formula.

If I was you, then I'd be concentrating on getting her back onto her feet to allow her to cope with the feeding.

The BF supporter and doula's number one mantra should be 'support - don't give advice'.

Your SIL must make her own decisions on how to care for her baby but you can give her well researched info and facts. smile

Rudolphsnose Tue 04-Jan-11 12:04:34

Vintage-a woman after my own heart

Rudolphsnose Tue 04-Jan-11 23:54:17

Yay! 3 successful feeds whilst I was there. It seems she just needed some reassurance she could do it and confidence she wouldn't starve the beautiful girl if it took a few attempts to latch on

Nipple shields gone, happy baby, happy Mummy and a very happy me.

Rudolphsnose Tue 04-Jan-11 23:55:31

Oops not sure what happened there. Most importantly, thank you all for helping me to helP her xxx

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 05-Jan-11 00:01:36

Rudolph that is great news - well done you and well done her.

It is a downfall of the current information provided to pregnant woman about BFing, and all the 'breast is best' stuff.
There is a lot of focus on the ease and benefits of BFing, which IME come a little later. There is a hard work of the first weeks to be done first, and women are ill-prepared for it.

Rudolphsnose Wed 05-Jan-11 10:10:05

Absolutely right Ali. They went to NCT classes including a specialist BF session and were given info about all the benefits but no details such as the fact that newborns can take ages to latch on, BF is actually hard work to begin with, they were just told 'it's a natural thing and youll just know what to do instinctively' hmm

Anyway, hopefully SIL is now more confident and should be fine

japhrimel Wed 05-Jan-11 19:13:41

Sounds great. Just wanted to say from experience that whilst nipple shields temporarily can keep you bfing when sore, they cause their own confusion issues!

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