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How to wean off shields

(7 Posts)
SpannerPants Fri 29-Jul-11 14:33:27

DS is 15 days old, and I am BF with the aid of nipple shields due to big boobs/flat nipples, as recommended by several BFC's who I saw immediately post-natally (after 3 days of having to pump and syringe feed).

He was 7lb10 when born, lost 8oz (6.5%) by day 5 but was back up to 7lb13 yesterday so the health visitor was happy with his progress. She did mention that he has a high palate which may make it harder to wean off the shields.

However we're having quite a few problems with wind and vomiting which I assume is secondary to the shields. Also, as I'm sterilising them with Milton, he fusses for 5 minutes at the beginning of each feed - literally screws his face up at the taste! The vomiting was so bad 2 days ago that our GP came out and did a home visit at 7pm because he wasn't keeping anything down for about 6hrs, although was still wanting to feed it was coming back up again. His impression was that it was due to wind as he was otherwise well, and although he's still puking it's not been as bad. We're using infacol at each feed but it's hard to tell if it's doing anything. He only really cries when he's hungry and doesn't seem to be in any pain.

I know it's still early days but at what point can I try to wean off the shields and how do I do this? I've tried taking it off part way through a feed and although he tries to latch on, he doesn't seem able to (and my nipple is about 1cm long by this point which is much bigger than normal). The health visitor said as his mouth grows the high palate should be less of an issue - is this right?

I'm absolutely exhausted as I can only get the shields to stay on with the cradle hold - when I try to feed lying down I can't get the shield to stay on in the right position. I would love to be able to cosleep! Each feed lasts about 2hrs by the time I've got him latched on/fed/winded(which I do at frequent intervals during the feed) and then it needs repeating an hour or so later. Does anyone have any tips for surviving this? I really want to continue BF as DP has dairy intolerance so I want to avoid formula if at all possible.

RitaMorgan Fri 29-Jul-11 15:01:21

Has he been checked for a tongue-tie? That can make it difficult for them to stay latched on and I think it is linked to a high palate too.

SpannerPants Fri 29-Jul-11 15:07:15

Yeah he's been checked by MW and HV - no tongue tie!

RitaMorgan Fri 29-Jul-11 15:24:15

If you continue to have problems it might be worth getting a second opinion from a trained breastfeeding specialist - lots of people are told my MWs/HVs that there's no tongue-tie only for it to turn out later that there is. I'm not sure MWs/HVs have any training on diagnosing it hmm

NewMummy5July2011 Fri 29-Jul-11 17:40:32

I had a similar issue and managed to get my DD off them but it took alot of perserverence. What worked for me was squeezing my nipple in my hand and sort of scrunching it up and bringing her mouth on that way. It took about 10 mins the first time and she was crying alot, but think she was hungry and realised she had to do it to get her milk. My nipples were drawn out really quickly once she was on and now she latches on fairly quickly each feed. I did have my mum helping me, so it is worth having a bf counsellor or someone there to support you. Good luck - we had the same problems with wind, and now that she latches on it really makes a huge difference.

SpannerPants Fri 29-Jul-11 21:40:32

Thank you newmummy - good to know it can work!

I'll get in touch with my local BFC again - I think there's a breastfeeding cafe in my village on Wednesday smile

Thandeka Fri 29-Jul-11 22:05:47

It was a mission to wean my dd off them and think I waited til 4weeks ish. Basically for one feed a day I'd let her just play with my nipple and if she latched great, if not we'd persevere but eventually go back to nipple shields. (sometimes if she was starving shed make more effort to latch properly other times she needed to be sated to!) basically we tried to stay calm and relaxed (feeding in bath also helped) and aimed to achieve one feed a day without shields. Once we managed this for a week (took a week) built it up to two feeds a day and slowly but surely we reduced feeds needing them (in meantime her tonguetie was snipped, my cracks got infected but also her mouth got bigger and my flat nipples were pulled out more easily for easier latch (google a lasinoh product called latch assist- that also really helped). So it was up and down for a bit but she was weaned off them in a couple weeks with the occasional reversion when cracks were too painful. Good luck!

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