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Nipple shields - yes or no?

(14 Posts)
Havingkittens Fri 10-May-13 10:23:32

I am having real trouble at the moment getting my 3 1/2 week old to latch on properly, especially during the night when he is floppy and tired. We were doing fine until about a week ago and now suddenly he won't open his mouth wide enough, or if he does, he doesn't keep it open long enough to latch so he's clamping down on my nipple causing me a lot of pain.

I have been to various breast feeding clinics and had home visits. I'm averaging twice a week since birth, so it's not like I don't have support. The lady I see most frequently says that the problem at night time may not be solvable due to DS's tiredness. I have been told that if I use nipple shields or express and feed with a bottle before proper latching is established it could cause problems long term with his latch, but I've also read of people on here and other forums using them occasionally with no detramental effects so I'm just after some anecdotal advise really from those with experience.


IfAtFirstUDontSucceed Fri 10-May-13 14:29:55

My DS is now 4 weeks and we had an awful time getting him to latch on at the beginning. The breastfeeding counsellor recommended using a nipple shield on day 3 and it was a god send.
We used it for about a fortnight gradually weaning him off it - taking it off mid feed once milk was flowing and my nipple was a lot more prominent for him to latch on to, and eventually just on the night feeds when neither of us wanted a battle.

Happy to say that the nipple shields are now a thing of the past and DS is a happy feeder! smile

IfAtFirstUDontSucceed Fri 10-May-13 14:35:32

Oh and we express breastfed too at the beginning and still do now when he's with the GPs - no issues there either.

Fingers crossed that none of this changes!

BitOutOfPractice Fri 10-May-13 14:56:42

I used the with my dd. it was either that or give up bf as it was so painful. So IMHO they can be a godsend

monkeynumberthree Fri 10-May-13 15:42:18

All three of my DCs had trouble latching initially because they wouldn't open their mouths wide enough. Each time my nipples were so sore and cracked that by day four or five I used a nipple shield and after a day or so they had learnt to latch on properly and no longer needed the shield. So I'd say go for it - in my experience it has been extremely beneficial.

They have all had a mix of breast-feeding, expressed milk from bottles, and topping up with formula, starting from about a week old, and I've had no problems with nipple confusion at all...

Havingkittens Fri 10-May-13 23:07:00

Thank you. I think the national Breastfeeding Trust are quite militant in their discouragement of them but I will get myself some to try. As you all have said, there have been times I've wondered if I could even bear to continue to breast feed so if they make the difference between persevering or throwing in the towel they'll be worth a try.

The lansinoh silicone ones seem very popular. Are they the best ones to try, do you reckon?

Now, if only I could work our when to express. DS is feeding most waking hours!

Mandy21 Fri 10-May-13 23:48:33

I used them too on the advice of one of the nurses in the SCBU - had premature twins who couldn't latch very well (small mouths) and apparently I had small nipples. Used them for about 5 weeks - until they were feeding better. Didn't have to wean them off them or anything, just stopped using them and they both latched on directly without a problem. Exclusively breastfed for months after so didn't affect the milk / latch / long term etc.

HadALittleFaithBaby Sat 11-May-13 08:36:18

I've been using them on and off. DD was low birth weight and struggled to latch. We were still in hospital on day 4 when they suggested them. I was surprised as my MW had been very anti them but as the nurse said If it's a choice between nipple shields and stoping breast feeding, we recommend the nipple shield. She's now nearly 4 weeks and generally doesn't need them but like you, it's really the sleepy night time latch web she needs them. I express at least once a day too and DH gives her that from a bottle (usually about 80-100ml). I was reluctant to introduce a bottle but her latch has been ok since and I love the break in the evening while he feeds her. She seems to settle quicker and for longer after that too.

The hospital had me using a Medela shield - I found them in Boots about £8 for a pair with a carry case:

Surfybridge Sat 11-May-13 08:49:55

We've been using them since the first week as Dd has always had problems latching onto my nipple - they were suggested after 3 days and many hours of trying all sorts of other things and a teary meltdown by me on the ward!

Dd now 14 weeks and we're still using one. Tried for weeks to get her to latch onto me as I've heard that they usually get the hang of it. She never did sadly, however apart from slow regain of birthweight initially and feeds taking slightly longer, we've had no issues. As other posters have said, if it's the thing that allows you to keep BF don't worry too much, you LO probably won't need it for long.

CheshireSplat Sat 11-May-13 08:55:09

In my opinion, lots of bf professionals were against nipple shields but they were the only way I could bf so I am a big fan. DD didn't latch on until she was about 3 weeks and then only with nipple shields. It took the 2 of us until about 6 months to feed without them and it really wasn't a problem, although it raised a few eyebrows. The professionals at my baby cafe were brilliant - just do what works - DD thrived so I'd say go for it.

Just make sure you get the right size - which might take a couple of purchases. I have quite large nipples but had some small nipple shields to start with (from hospital) and it was awfully painful. Got the right size and they were fine (though DD used to suck the flesh though the 3 holes at the end which looked odd but didn't really hurt! Sorry if tmi!).

Good luck!

Havingkittens Sat 11-May-13 10:35:37

Thanks again for the great advice. I meant the Medela ones actually, just tiredness messing with my brain! I'm going to try and get the medium ones, which is the size of fitting I have for the Medela Swing (that I haven't got around to using yet). DS has had a hungry night so I'm hoping I can get my hands on some today!

RedKites Sat 11-May-13 17:11:51

I had a slightly different experience to others above. DS1 had problems latching, particularly on one side, so I was using nipple shields for some, but not all, feeds on that side. Until one feed he refused to latch on at all without the nipple shields on either side. I did manage to wean him off them when he was 4mo or so, but it was a faff, and with hindsight I wished I had tried other things first. When I was pregnant with DS2 I had thought about it, and decided I would use them again, but only as a last resort, rather than a first thing to try. I'm certainly not suggesting you shouldn't use them, but just giving you a different experience of them to consider, if it's useful.

Surfybridge - my DS1 was older than your DD is at the moment, so you may still wean her off them if you want to, although if you are happy with how things are, that's fine too.

Surfybridge Sat 11-May-13 23:02:34

RedKites and Cheshire it's nice to know she could still be weaned off them. Had thought it wouldn't be possible after so long but will definitely keep trying now smile

QuackQuackChicken Sat 11-May-13 23:05:36

We used them too as DS struggled to latch at first after one of the nurses in the hosp recommended them. They were fab. I think I got quite hooked to them but eventually gave them up after 3 months. No problems with bonding, latching, my nipples were never sore. They were fab.

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