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Nipple Shields?

(32 Posts)
Pumble Tue 04-Dec-12 17:56:51

I am just after a bit of advice of anybody can help, please?

My DD2 is 12 days old and initially caused a really nasty crack to my left breast, which hasn't healed at all and is really awful now. Whenever she latches on on this side, the pain is absolute agony and I have tears in my eyes, want to scream and really struggle to cope. Last night I was in so much pain, I asked my DH to go and buy some formula, even though, deep down I want to continue breast feeding (he didn't go). Once she is latched and the initial 45 - 60 seconds has passed, the pain goes away.

I saw the midwife today and she suggested that I try nipple shields to try to allow the crack (calling it a crack seems silly given the size of it!) to heal and then go back to feeding without once it has healed. I know nothing about nipple shields and am worried that if I use them, it will somehow stop my DD2 feeding properly or go off breast feeding. If anybody has any experience of nipple shields or any other ideas of how to help the nipple to heal, I would be so, so grateful - I'm not sure how many more feeds I can cope with like this.

Thank you!

Fisharefriendsnotfood Tue 04-Dec-12 18:02:32

Get them, I used them to no adverse affect and the pain is completely removed. Are you using that nipple cream too? Begins with L no idea how to spell

imtheonlyone Tue 04-Dec-12 18:12:50

Yeap - agree all round - used lansinoh (expensive but essential) and nipple shields with both my boys and it worked a treat. Nipple healed nicely then continued feeding them both till 13 months. Absolute god send they were.
When you put them on, my only advice is to almost invert them so that they pull as much of your nipple inside them as possible - I hope this makes sense - helps baby get a better suction and they stay glued in place!
Good luck!

wonkylegs Tue 04-Dec-12 18:20:43

It was the only way I could continue breastfeeding and was the best suggestion that anybody made when I was in the same position. I found not all shields were as good as each other tho... Medela ones were great, mothercare & boots not so good.

Fisharefriendsnotfood Tue 04-Dec-12 18:26:32

I had medela ones too smile

WoweeZowee Tue 04-Dec-12 18:27:08

I used the medela ones which were good. They helped loads in the early stages when I had all sorts of problems with cracked nipples and DS wasn't latching properly. As he was feeding 2hrly, when it was particularly painful, I'd alternate between BFing one feed and expressing the next which helped too. Other lifesavers were Lansinoh cream, fresh air and Lansinoh gel pads plus taking ibuprofen / paracetamol 1/2 hr before some feeds to take the edge off.

I also gave some formula for some feeds when I just couldn't face the pain!

None of these ended up affecting my supply and once it stopped hurting EBFing wasnt a problem. A year down the line I'm still BFing which I never would've imagined in the first few weeks.

It can feel pretty miserable and never ending but it does get better and is definitely worth persevering with! Good luck and hope it works out for you smile

EauRougelyNight Tue 04-Dec-12 18:34:27

Nipple shields can help if you have cracked nipples, but they are usually recommended as a temporary measure until the real issue is resolved. Some mothers (not all) can have trouble with nipple shields- they can cause a baby to not feed effectively which can cause a range of problems.

If you are going to use nipple shields then think about getting the support of a breastfeeding counsellor who can help you to figure out what was causing the cracked nipples and can help you to use the shields and then wean your baby off them if and when you want to.

RedKites Tue 04-Dec-12 18:52:20

I would second the advice to talk to a BFC. If you don't know of any locally, you could try one of the helplines initially.

I used nipple shields with DS1. They can affect supply (although this wasn't an issue for me). They are a bit of a faff. There is also a risk that baby will start to prefer them and refuse to feed without- it certainly doesn't happen to everyone, but it did happen to me, and I was only using them on one side, and even then not every feed. I did manage to wean him off them about three months later, and if I'd been more determined I might have managed it sooner, so if you do use them and this does happen, it can be reversed. But I just wanted to warn you about this possibility as with the benefit of hindsight I wish I'd tried other things first.

flubba Tue 04-Dec-12 18:52:56

Oh you poor thing: I feel your pain - I had exactly the same issue with DC1 and resorted (unwillingly but desperately) to using nipple shields (ery thin ones) temporarily. My MW was very much against them, but it was either that or formula for me.

I also recommend lansinoh and I tried expressing from that side for a while instead of baby latching on which was still painful (as the crack opened), but was more bearable because I was in control and could stop it if needed.

The pain was toe curling and I used to sit in tears feeding sad but it did get better and I went on to BF her for 12m and she had no 'nipple confusion'.

Good luck x

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Tue 04-Dec-12 18:56:31

They saved my bf relationship with DS1, who then fed to 26m. Used them from about 4w to 17w for every feed, completely healed in the meantime and supply/technique was established.

If the options are shields or formula, shields every time.

Good luck, and good healing.

Pumble Tue 04-Dec-12 19:53:51

Thank you so much for all your replies and experiences - been putting DD1 to bed hence delay in replying to them all. Issues with weaning off the shields were one of my concerns I have to admit! I will try and talk to one of the breastfeeding helplines. There is a clinic near me but you have to book weeks in advance and I am not sure that I can wait that long! When I had DD1 it was just starting out and so underused but now demand outstrips supply which is such a shame. I am just hoping that I can be as bloody minded as I was with DD1 and can keep going and try to get this sorted as breast feeding does mean so much to me.

Fisharefriendsnotfood Tue 04-Dec-12 20:11:02

Your health visitor should be able provide bf support

BlackSwan Wed 05-Dec-12 06:52:04

I went through something similar and tried shields when the 'damage' wasn't so bad - then I got a deep cut in one nipple (interesting to see the flesh is actually white underneath the pink) and stopped BF completely. The pain was unbearable & I had enough! So cut yourself some slack and do what you can manage. Feeding without the shield will only make the situation worse I imagine.

Pumble Wed 05-Dec-12 09:46:28

I've left a message with my health visitor but I know with DD1 they were very quick to just tell me to stop and introduce formula which wasn't want I wanted or very supportive.

It's got much worse overnight and I'm dreading DD2 wanting her next feed which will be any minute. My DH has stayed at home to try to help with DD1 and so I am currently lying in bed sobbing about it all.

flubba Wed 05-Dec-12 09:57:21


Poor you. Have you tried expressing from that side (to keep the milk supply up)?

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Wed 05-Dec-12 09:57:45

I used shields full time until about 4.5 months - prem baby couldn't latch without them. Then managed to wean the baby off. If you use on your left side but not your right then I would have thought DD2 should still be able to latch without and you should be able to drop when healed. I tried various brands and Medela are by far the best. They are a bit of a faff compared to not using - less discreet in public, feeds may take a bit longer, baby may swallow a bit more air, require sterilising, but frankly if it is shields or formula, shields have to be worth a go.

ComradeJing Wed 05-Dec-12 11:27:10

Shields saved my breast feeding with dd1. I hated feeding her and as she was jaundiced I was on a strict 'must feed every 2 hours routine' I also sobbed to dh that he had to go get formula and cried when thinking about feeding her.

I stopped using them at about 9-12 weeks and dd suffered no nipple confusion, no problems and no supply issues.

I used the avent ones and thought they were gods gift.

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Wed 05-Dec-12 21:15:16

How has it gone today, Pumble? Better I hope.

Pumble Wed 05-Dec-12 21:54:07

I just wrote a long reply and lost it-stupid phone!! Thank you for asking.

Today has had its ups and downs... Currently feeling ok and very determined that we will get through this somehow... (despite a complete meltdown at 8 where I just felt such a failure).

I spoke to a helpline this morning who suggested I express off my bad side and feed off the better one. I do worry this will affect my supply but I don't know what else to do! I tried feeding off my bad side this evening but the pain was far too bad. DD2 has been cluster feeding on one side since six now which is hard work. Every time she comes off she starts rooting again!! She has to stop at some point surely?!

I'm definitely off to buy nipple shields tomorrow.

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Wed 05-Dec-12 22:21:40

Good for you for persevering. Even if things do go badly, people can maintain good bf relationships, even ebf relationships, on one side only.

I found the softest shields the easiest to get on with, with pinprick holes in the end. Shields with large holes were agony as DS managed to suck my nipple through the holes and caused more damage. shock

Medela were ok, and maintain good areola/mouth contact, but I found them fiddly. I had most success with Mothercare's own IIRC. They are so cheap I didn't mind trying different brands.

Good luck tomorrow and let us know how you get on.

Pumble Thu 06-Dec-12 01:51:10

Having an awful night. DD2 hasn't settled since 6pm. I fear it's because there isn't enough milk for her in just one breast but don't know what else to do as can't let her near the other. I just don't know what to do.

Are there any private bf counsellors or something that I could try?

trilottie Thu 06-Dec-12 03:40:55

Oh poor you, I feel your pain having been in a similar situation a few weeks ago. I dreaded the next feed and was quite often in tears from the pain. Mine has been cluster feeding all afternoon and evening and we're now up for a 2nd round. Don't forget people bf twins successfully so it's unlikely if you're just feeding from one side that there won't be enough. I considered stopping one side altogether but I'm glad I persevered.
Have you tried a bf helpline? List here: you don't need to be an NCT member. Our local branch have breastfeeding counsellors (volunteers) who come out to you, worth seeing if your local one does that too? (Again, don't need to be a member)

Pumble Thu 06-Dec-12 22:04:44

So, I went to a BF drop in today and things are definitely looking up (apart from a very low moment this afternoon!). I managed to feed on my good side with no pain at the drop in which was great but when I got home, I had lost all confidence with feeding and just had no idea what to do. Thankfully my DH was very supportive on the phone and managed (don't know how!) to get the lady from the drop in to come around this afternoon when he was there so he could know what to do and help me. In the meantime, I expressed and managed to get almost 5oz into DD2 using a cup which was great. I managed to feed well again when the lady was there and then my DH has helped me to feed this evening.

I am still feeling very low in confidence and terrified about doing it on my own tomorrow (DH offered to stay at home but I really want to try on my own) but am hoping that feeding a few more times over night will help with that.

Thank you all for your support on here - it has definitely helped and made me feel much less alone - will keep you posted on how I get on. To add to everything it has been suggested today that I am suffering with PTSD as a result of my DD2's arrival into the world - I guess this might explain the hormonal mess I have been with breastfeeding, but that's a story for another thread!

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Thu 06-Dec-12 22:19:32

You are doing all the right things, well done, and what fantastic support from your DH!

You have phone numbers you can ring tomorrow if you need them: use them.

You have MN: call on the vipers.

You can do this tomorrow; you did it today. Try not to look too far ahead though.

Pumble Fri 07-Dec-12 23:26:09

I survived the day grin.

It has had its challenges and feeds overnight were really hard work but we are making baby steps forward.

Unfortunately DD2 has been whingeing and unsettled since 5 but thats pretty much to be expected!!

Fingers crossed for a better night tonight. smile

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