Advanced search

How to wean from nipple shields?

(17 Posts)
JollySergeantJackrum Sun 05-Jun-11 22:07:44

DS is now 6.5 weeks and has been feeding with nipple shields since he was 2 weeks. He is ebf and my supply is not yet showing any signs of slowing down. He is also gaining lots of weight - over half a pound a week the last twice he was weighed.

Nipple shields are a faff though as I need to sterilise them which makes night feeds less easy and feeding in public is do-able (I'm not shy) but would be much easier without them.

How did you wean from the nipple shields and when? Have looked at kellymom but would appreciate all the advice I can get.

TruthSweet Sun 05-Jun-11 22:36:28

Some of the things that you can do to wean off shields depend on why you were using shields in the first place as if you were using shields to transition from bottle to breast you might try one technique but if you were using shields because baby had latching difficulties due to inverted nipples/engorgement you might try another.

In general though you can try:-

Starting with the shield and, part way in to the feed, unlatching baby, removing the shield (quickly) then relatching baby. The interval between start of feed and removal can be shortened until it isn't needed.

Picking the most receptive feeds for not using the shield, with some babies it might be feeds when they are sleepy or conversely it might be a feed when baby is very alert. It just depends on your baby.

Trying latching on baby with out shields and using the shield only if you are experiencing the problems that led to shield use in the first place appearing again.

I used shields with DD1 to transition from exc. bottle feeding to some bfing so used the shields to move from starting feeding with a bottle to feeding on the shield. I did used the first technique - starting off with the shield then removing the shield as it worked to get DD1 on the shield from the bottle, so I figured that it would work moving to breast from shield and for me it did.

Annpan88 Mon 06-Jun-11 14:58:29

I'd agree with that, every now and again I'd take the shield off half way through a feed and sometimes hed feed. He was also more likely to feed just after a bath (was upstairs without them so thought I'd try) I found it was really gradual. Hed sometimes go for a bit then eventually we stopped using them altogether!

Good luck! Xx

spaceal Mon 06-Jun-11 15:29:55

Hi. I used nipples shields for the first few weeks and was really worried about weaning my little one of them, but, encouraged by a very supportive breastfeeding-support midwife, one day I just started feeding her without the shields, and I've never looked back. I was convinced it would be really difficult and take ages to make the change, but I literally just stopped using the shields and it worked.

Good luck!

JollySergeantJackrum Mon 06-Jun-11 17:28:29

Thanks folks. I was using them because I have quite flat nipples and very large breasts (34k). Ds also has a small mouth. He lost 15% of body weight in 5 days so was admitted to hospital and BF midwife suggested nipple shields.

TruthSweet Mon 06-Jun-11 18:51:44

In that case Jolly I'd be tempted to try starting with the shields and then removing to see if the sucking from feeding draws the nipple out (not that you need the nipple to be out to bf but it can make it easier to feed for some mum/baby combos).

One mum I know was a 36M shock when she had her first so you are not alone on the big boob front.

HazzaB Mon 06-Jun-11 23:29:00

Hi Jolly. I fed my first son exclusively with shields to 9 months and just gave up trying to wean him off them. He gained weight with no problems and I never seemed to have a supply issue but got totally fed up with the hassle. I've also got flat nipples and really tried to get DS2 to latch without the shield because I didn't want the whole palaver again, but he wouldn' I just relaxed and carried on. All of a sudden at 11 weeks he literally took the shield off with his hand and latched on himself. For the first couple of days he would only do that on one side, but I kept offering both sides without the shield for a few minutes and then only using the shield if he really got frantic. After 3 or 4 days he just latched on both sides and we haven't looked back. I didn't do anything except stay relaxed and left it to DS2 to do the work. I just told myself that it didn't matter, but would be a bonus to lose the shields. I kept the shields near me for about 2 weeks and then chucked them away with a ceremonial flourish! He's now 16 weeks and going strong without the shields. IMO, he just needed to be older and stronger to be able to latch on and at 11 weeks he was, but it may be different timing for every baby. You could just try every week and see what happens. I have to say, it is much nicer without them and I LOVE not having to faff around. He also seems to feed much more quickly, but that might have happened anyway.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 07-Jun-11 02:14:39

JollySergeantJackrum, I will start a Discworld club at this rate! My DD used shields for ages and screamed like a banshee when I tried removing halfway through, trying when tired and all those things. My advice is not to stress. She eventually started knocking them off herself and now (6 months) feeds without. They are a faff for travelling (I had to do a 9 hour flight with them) but DD gained weight and supply was fine.

I didn't bother sterilising (am in North America and they don't tell you too) just wash in hot water with soap. Here they say that if you are using things with BM, don't bother as it is less of a risk than formula.

ifitsnotanarse Tue 07-Jun-11 03:57:10

We only got rid on nipple shields last week after nearly 7months. Baby was 8 weeks premature and got used to having a plastic feeding tube in his mouth. He also has a little mouth. I had tired on and off in Jan/Feb but no joy until now. I started trying him during/after a feed; he screamed for the first few times but gradually started having a suckle and now doesn't need them. Hallelujah. They are very fiddly and I hate having to sterlise them but did manage to use them in public.
Keep trying with your LO. smile

JollySergeantJackrum Tue 07-Jun-11 11:56:29

Thanks guys. It seems that 6 weeks is really quite early from your responses, but I'll keep persevering! I have tried taking them off during feeds but DS will latch on for around 20 seconds on the left one and not at all on the right one. Hopefully he'll get better as he grows. I haven't tried feeding in the bath yet either so I'll maybe try that in the next few days.

JollySergeantJackrum Tue 07-Jun-11 15:54:16

And MrsPratchett, I love your name smile

stegasaurus Tue 07-Jun-11 16:37:36

DD is also 6 weeks and I am feeding her with nipple shields as she couldn't latch on to my flat nipples. Every so often she will knock the shield off and feed without it so I try her without them at least once a day to see how she does. I am sure she doesn't latch on correctly though, but I have spoken to the person who runs my local breastfeeding support group (I think she might be a health visitor but am not sure) who is going to contact me about coming round to my house to advise me.
The instructions that came with mine said wash with hot soapy water after each use and sterilise once a day so that is what I do. Using them in public is the most annoying thing, but I am grateful to them (and to the people who recommended them on a thread I started here before she was born) as I wouldn't have been able to breastfeed without them.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 07-Jun-11 19:37:36


JollySergeantJackrum Wed 08-Jun-11 21:38:59

Googled Dr Jack Newman earlier and watched some of the videos. Very helpful re latching on and feeding in general.

This evening I stripped us both off when he was just a bit hungry - not yet crying and gave him a hug. He started to move toward me breast so u helped him out a little and he latched on!! He stayed for a full feed then went back on again after we had a bath.

I can't believe it. Don't know if it will last, but at least I know we can do it. Definitely need to get the latch sorted though as my nipple is now in major pain.

Anyway, I'm off to sleep with a huge grin on my face grin

Thanks again... the confidence boost really helped smile

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 09-Jun-11 04:13:38

Fantastic. Don't get discouraged if DS doesn't do it next time. It always depended on DD's mood so she would sometimes and not others. Keep trying and good luck.

bunnygirl80 Thu 09-Jun-11 05:32:09

Sounds like you're getting there.

I used nipple shields for the first few weeks due to flat nipples. I just started offering without at every feed from around 3 weeks onwards - sometimes my DS wouldn't manage to latch on at all, other times he'd manage a few seconds, and others he'd manage half a feed. Then one day when he was he completely refused to go near me with the shield on and that was that. I think he had just got big enough to be able to latch on easily without them

JollySergeantJackrum Thu 09-Jun-11 11:46:59

I can't believe how quickly this has happened - he had two feeds last night on left side without the nipple shield, his two feeds during the night my breasts were quite engorged so he couldn't latch on and we used the shields, then we've had two feeds this morning (one on each breast) without the shields.

I've worked out that I need to squeeze my breast a couple of inches behind the nipple to create more of an angled bit for him to latch on. Once he's on he's quite happy, which is amazing considering he's been fussing with the shields recently. Maybe it was just the right time for him.

I'm aware that we may take two steps forward and one back, but I'm just delighted to see any progress.


Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: