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Weaning from nipple shields?

(17 Posts)
Ericadm Fri 04-Apr-14 04:59:04

My baby is 10 weeks old and since 2 weeks old he is breast fed using nipple shields. He is feeding and growing really well, we have just passed to the percentile above. Before using the shields latching was almost impossible. It would take me 15 minutes to latch him and then he would come off again. Feeds could take up to four hours. Considering shields are working wonders for us I am reluctant to even try weaning from them. Is there any particular reason why I should bother? Am I going to regret it later on if I don't wean him from them now? Initially I was worried about affecting milk supply but I haven't noticed any problems so far.

PastaandCheese Fri 04-Apr-14 06:02:42

From my own experience I would say no. No need to wean if you are happy.

I fed my DD for a year, 5 months on shields. Like you they really worked well for us. I weaned off them at 5 months because they were getting on my nerves.

I'm feeding 4 week old DS on shields now. It wasn't my intention to do this and I tried hard to latch him without but we were both struggling so much and he fed so well as soon as I used them that it no longer seemed important not to use them.

I will do the same as before. Keep using them until DS or I shows signs of not wanting to and then try to wean.

Last time I found sterilising annoying but this time I just purchased 8 shields to reduce that faff.

Ericadm Fri 04-Apr-14 06:26:25

Thanks pastaandcheese! He seems happy so far, and for me the only real hassle is to put them on when BF in pubblic as it is difficult to be discreet, but a screaming not-latching baby would be far worse! Do you sterilise after every feed? I wash with soap and hot water and only sterilise once a day by boiling for 5 minutes and it has been ok so far. That's what it says in the instructions.

ALittleFaith Fri 04-Apr-14 07:24:44

We used them the first few weeks. I was told to express afterwards because baby doesn't drain the boob fully with the shields. The faff of express after feeding motivated me to stop. I achieved this simply by offering the breast without shields at each feed. If DD could manage, great. If not, I'd pop the shield on. Gradually reached a point where she didn't need them.

Imnotbeverley Fri 04-Apr-14 09:17:31

I have just weaned my 17 week old off nipple shields. We used them because he had a complete tongue tie that was snipped at 5 days but we both still found it difficult to latch and he would get very frustrated.

I think now that his mouth is bigger it's easier for him. Also I had quite flat nipples and using the shields seems to have drawn them out so perhaps that has helped.

Anyway, my point is- maybe it would be worth checking for tongue tie? It might be the cause of your latching problems?

PastaandCheese Fri 04-Apr-14 09:31:06

Never any need to express here. I think the advice around shield use is really mixed.

With my DD I was told my milk would almost definitely dry up within two weeks if I didn't wean her. I'm yet to come across anyone who actually experienced this IRL or on the internet.

With my DS the infant feeding coordinator was really chilled about it and just said to do what I think is best. She commented that she's been working in breastfeeding advice for 10 years and has seen enough women feed successfully using them to be more relaxed about the issue.

It is a bit more of a faff in public I suppose but in truth he latches to the shield and feeds constantly and contentedly where he continually bobs on and off if I try him without. Plus I have to use a 'flipple' technique to get him on without a shield which is hardly discrete!

WRT to sterilising breastmilk is sterile so hot, soapy water is fine but I find that a pain after each feed especially with a two year old who wants to help wash up every time the tap goes on so this time I am using a sterilised shield, chucking it in a Tupperware of water and then washing and microwave sterilising all 8 in one go when I've run out.

Dildals Fri 04-Apr-14 11:19:49

We still feed with nipple shields here and LO is 8months. Initially I was told to go to a breastfeeding cafe to get help to wean us off the shield, but when I got there the LCs/Mw where just happy that I was breastfeeding and said that there is now research that it does not affect supply. I certainly have not found an effect on supply.

So if it works for you, carry on!

(My baby had trouble sucking and latching due to prematurity and although she has improved her sucking power she still has a woeful latch)

Dildals Fri 04-Apr-14 11:20:58

and re sterilising I do the same as you ericam

TheKnightsThatSayNee Fri 04-Apr-14 11:28:32

Didn't affect my supply. At about 3 months I lost mine and by the time I'd ordered a new one we had worked out how to make it work without it. I don't know why my dd latch was bad every midwife said it was fine but I was bleeding, extremely sore and dd was very fussy without it.

SecretSpeech Fri 04-Apr-14 16:06:34

I was going to post about the exact same topic today. My little one is also 10 weeks and I've used shields almost the whole time. She's healthy and in the highest percentile size wise. I've tried to wean her off a couple of times but she still doesn't latch and ends up screaming, so I've pretty much stopped now. But like you, feel as though I should stop using them. Everyone seems to be so anti nipple shields I almost feel like I'm cheating at breastfeeding, and feel guilty! It's stupid I know, and sorry for hijacking your thread a bit op... I suppose I'm trying to say I know how you feel

Imnotbeverley Fri 04-Apr-14 16:15:58

secret I felt the same about cheating. Weird isn't it? You definitely aren't!

I also found no affect on my supply (didn't express after feeds, no one ever suggested that to me but no doubt I would have if I was told to).

The benefits for me now are less faff, less worry each time we go out that I might have forgotten them, and being able to be a bit more discreet. I also got strange/judgey comments from some family members and a GP.

SecretSpeech Fri 04-Apr-14 16:28:14

Beverley, i think it's because we don't get cracked and bleeding nipples!
I would like to stop because of the faff, but what I don't understand is why it seems as though some people would sooner mix feed or stop breastfeeding entirely than use nipple shields

PastaandCheese Fri 04-Apr-14 17:14:42

I felt like that last time. Like I wasn't breastfeeding 'properly' which is a joke when I think back as I fed her exclusively for a year with all the sacrifices that involves, especially as she was a bottle refuser. I should have just been proud of myself really.

This time round with DS I couldn't give two hoots. He is happy, EBF and gaining weight and I am happy. I really don't care what people may think. I am finding I feel like that about a lot of issues I worried about last time. It very freeing.

ProfessionalKiller Fri 04-Apr-14 17:26:12

I used them with ds. For about 10 months. I tried to wean him off but was unsuccessful, he was a lazy so and so and just wouldn't stay latched!

I can't remember much about sterilising, but I do know I would use the same shield all day and leave it tucked in my cleavage bra for convenience (after the second trip out with a screaming baby as I'd forgotten to put them in the change bag).

Weirdly dd latched straight on ferociously so haven't used them at all this time. Although her teeth are appearing so they are on standby wink

ShadowFall Sat 05-Apr-14 17:10:30

I used nipple shields with DS1 as he wouldn't latch on without them and unfortunately for us they did reduce my milk supply - even with expressing after every feed DS1 struggled to get enough breastmilk out, and on the few occasions I couldn't express for a day or two there was a big effect on my milk supply.

Ultimately this was unsustainable for us and we ended up switching to bottlefeeding expressed breastmilk instead.

But, if it works for you and isn't affecting your milk supply, then no reason to stop.

Ericadm Sat 05-Apr-14 18:39:05

Shadowfall when did you notice a reduction of the supply? Straight away of after week/months? Just wonder if I haven't noticed a decline so far, does it mean it is ok for us or could happen later on?

ShadowFall Sat 05-Apr-14 18:45:44

The supply issues were noticeable very early on IIRC.

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