Weaning off nipple shields(4 Posts)
DS is 4 weeks old. I resorted to nipple shields after just a few days as I had horrendous cracked nipples on both sides and feeding was agony - I was crying every time he latched on.
To add insult to injury I developed mastitis on one side when DS was 6 days old but thankfully we caught it early and antibiotics cleared it up.
So, the cracks are fully healed and we've worked on his latch and I want to wean him off the shields as I've read the stuff about them preventing full draining of the breast and having a knock on effect on supply.
I've tried just not using them and while he latches on ok to start with after a few minutes he will pull off and then bob on and off getting more and more frustrated. He is getting milk, I can hear him swallowing, but I wonder if he just dislikes having to work harder for it without the shields.
Should I persist with weaning him off them or should I just stick with them if it's the best way to ensure he gets enough milk?
For background I stopped BFing DD at 8 weeks old due to cracked nipples (no one told me about shields at the time). She had a tongue-tie that was untreated until 6 weeks by which time my mental, and physical, health was at rock bottom. I had several bouts of mastitis in that time which resulted in a breast abscess (undiagnosed despite me telling the GP and several health visitors that I thought something was wrong) that ruptured spectacularly in the shower when DD was 10 weeks old and resulted in a trip to A&E, a course of mega dose antibiotics and weekly trips to the breast clinic for 5 weeks to monitor and drain the abscess.
I have a real fear that BFing will fail again after all of that drama but have resolved that I won't be a martyr like last time (pushing myself to BF at all costs) and will switch to formula if it doesn't work out.
Sorry you've had such a tough time breast feeding. I've no advice other than to call LLL, or switch to formula when you feel you need.
Reading your post, however, it struck me that you haven't failed at breastfeeding! And not did you last time. You did the difficult first month or two, gave them all that good stuff, and then made the decision that was best for you and therefore for your baby.
Thank you NaturWilde, that's made me cry a bit. I know I didn't "fail" but there's such emotion tied up in feeding a baby, particularly when you build up an expectation of how it should be - easy, natural, etc.
My aim right now is to just take it a day at a time with DS, I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I have very few fond memories of those early weeks with DD and I'm determined not to feel the same way again this time round.
OP I would continue weaning your ds off the shields, it may be that he is just getting to that fussing at the breast stage - my ds started doing this at 5 weeks despite having been off nipple shields for 3 weeks or so, and it seems a lot of bf babies do this.
Another possibility is that he may be getting the milk too fast having been used to nipple shields which can slow the flow. Try laying back and see if this helps your baby to stay latched on.
Good luck with whatever you choose to do!
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