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Baby won't feed without nipple shields

(40 Posts)
MammaBell Sun 24-Jun-18 13:40:48

Hi all, to cut a loooooong story short I've had an absolute nightmare with breastfeeding since day 1 due to late diagnosis (and treatment) of tongue tie. During that time, in order to cope and continue EBF I was advised by breastfeeding support consultant to use nipple shields. After several visits from breastfeeding support and guidance from health visitor, even after the tongue tie was fixed when we try a day without the shields my nipples would be agony. Basically DD was still sucking too tightly and pinching making the blood drain and turn my nips white! Anyway, I was told since she's putting on healthy weight gain etc that I should just stick with the nipple shields and periodically when my nipples are healed to try again without them. Well this week I felt comfortable enough to try again, and I do think since she's grown her sucking is better and more efficient also. Well it's a battle! She's squirms, cries, squeals and won't stay latched until I concede and put the shield on. I've tried hand expressing so there's milk on the tip, tried different positions etc but she gets more and more frustrated. Any tips or advice on what else I can try would be really appreciated!

Mrsmomo Sun 24-Jun-18 13:45:34

Hi, how old is your baby? It took mine until 8 weeks to get off the shields, I didn't really try until he was a bit bigger and could manage the breast better. I started by slipping the shield off towards the end of a feed as he wasn't so frustrated then. Took about 2 weeks to fully get off them. It will come, just persevere 😀

MammaBell Sun 24-Jun-18 14:14:52

She's 14 weeks, my concern she's too old now and set in her ways to adapt to feeding without the shields sad!

InFrance2014 Wed 27-Jun-18 16:28:18

Hi, we got off at 16 weeks with my first. And there's lots of threads here from people using them well after that and successfully dropping it.
I would try varying when you try to take them off- don't wait until super hungry, offer it as an 'extra' feed, maybe when sleepy, or at different times of day/night. Their mood and yours can affect things. Try to maybe get the letdown done already in case there's a strong flow they're not used to.
Spend a few hours in bed, skin to skin again, chill out, and see if loads of snuggling and offering when not actually hungry might let baby feel less stressed too.

PurpleTygrrr Wed 27-Jun-18 22:54:15

I use nipple shields for similar reasons to you and my DD is 5 months old and still using them. She used to be able to latch on without them but I was using them every other feed. However then they both got damaged and wouldn't heal so I just kept on using them. I had access to some great breast feeding support however they did say it could affect supply but it hasn't with me luckily. If it's not negatively affecting your feeding then you could keep using them... is there a reason you don't want to use them? I just made sure I have several pairs so it doesn't feel a faff sterilising them all the time. I just chuck them in the steriliser at night with the dummies and any bottles she might have used that day. For me, it saved BFing as if meant I could carry on and I also I attribute it to helping my DD take a bottle too and not refuse it!

MammaBell Wed 27-Jun-18 23:44:17

@PurpleTygrrr thanks for the reassurance. I'm the same in that I really don't feel they have negatively affected my supply and my DD has been growing steadily and well. This might sound daft but at first I used to feel like I wasn't a fully fledged breastfeeder using the shields. You see these celebs doing their BFing selfies and think to myself "why can't I just do it easily like them?" Then it was made worse as my two friends who've breastfed 2 babies each said they didn't know why I kept using them and made me feel like a weirdo. One said she couldn't get how I was in pain as she inspected my latch herself and said it looked good. But in my experience it's not just down to the latch. I've now gotten over how they've been and it doesn't bother me. Now, I suppose it's mainly as I feel awkward and insecure with the nipple shields when it comes to feeding in front of people or out of the house in public. I'm not good at getting her positioned and getting the shield in place to start the feed in a discreet way. I get a bit flustered with embarrassment (which I really try not to do) and I feel like I'm flashing everyone and I am a shy person. The sterilising is a bit of a nuisance but like you suggest I should buy more then it means I can just do that once a day...good idea, thank yougrin.

MammaBell Wed 27-Jun-18 23:50:07

@InFrance2014 thanks for the advice. I actually found this morning for her first feed that during it she sort of pulled the shield off then latched straight back on so quickly. I was like hmm ok let's give this a go. She sort of kept sucking a few times then pulling up off the nipple but then latching back on. She did it for 7 mins then stopped to get winded. When she wanted back on though she got really fussy so I put the shield back on and we (peacefully) finished her feed. I'm taking it as progress though as it shows she can do it. But I think you're right actually, rather than quitting the shields cold turkey, perhaps I need to build it up with her, try it for some feeds or just part of certain feeds depending on her mood. Thank you smile

MammaBell Wed 27-Jun-18 23:54:23

@Mrsmomo thanks for sharing your experience. I suppose you're right in that it may take a couple weeks to get her weaned off them and won't just happen over night. I think my DD seems to be the opposite lol in that she's more willing at the start of a feed to go 'bare' rather than at the end. It's as if she gets tired feeding and wants the shield towards the end to make the sucking easier for her. Plus I think she likes that the milk sort of collects in the shield so she can sort of leisurely sip on it rather than gulp straight from the flow if that makes sense lol smile

fruitpastille Thu 28-Jun-18 00:02:37

I was exactly the same as PurpleTyggr with all 3 babies. I found a breastfeeding cover or scarf handy in public so I could position the shield under that. Also good for when they finish and you are rummaging to remove it. Yes, they are a bit of a faff but enabled me to carry on feeding. I would have definitely given up without them.

It might be worth seeing a feeding counsellor for help feeding without them.

PurpleTygrrr Thu 28-Jun-18 07:38:47

Ignore your friends, if shields help you to breastfeed then they're serving a fantastic purpose!
With regards to feeding in public with them I think the more you do it the easier it will be. Scarves are great like a PP said. I tend to get my bra unclipped, boob out and shield on all under my top, then a quick lift and pop baby on! It can be a faff but less than making a bottle!

You'll get there and you're doing great!!

Mermaid36 Thu 28-Jun-18 07:43:24

I'm feeding twins, and one is still using a nipple shield at 26 months old

They were born prematurely, and she ended up with a very high arched palate from ventilation at birth (for over a month). She's never been able to latch without the shield.

My theory has been that without it, I wouldn't have been able to breastfeed her at all - it's just a tool, like a feeding pillow etc.

Zebrasinpyjamas Thu 28-Jun-18 07:48:34

You are doing amazingly well regardless of shields or not. I used them for around 8 wks with dc1 and hated them as they were a faff and limited my ability to feed outside of home as I couldn't manage to keep myself covered plus get everything in the right place. Dc1 then suddenly 'got it' and after a day or two of nipple pain we didn't need them again. Dc2- I was determined not to use them and bf didn't really happen at all (she also had a late diagnosis of tongue tie). So hind sight I wish I'd used them more just to keep going.
I also have friends who sailed into bf but try (it's hard!) not to compare as they will have their own challenges with other things.

WandinValley Thu 28-Jun-18 07:53:37

I fed 2 kids to 15mo with shields. My nipples are short, so they couldn't latch correctly. I got very good at quickly sticking shields on under my top - I recommend wearing a feeding singlet under a shirt, so the shirt goes up and the singlet folds down but you have a lot of cover to work with.

Cheeseandwineandgin Thu 28-Jun-18 09:02:02

I used them until 6 months when my DS decided he didn't like them any more and pulled it off. The worst bit was the shields protect you from a lot of the nipple pain when you start feeding and when they latch without it you get that pain, just for a while until you get used to it. Keep going and dont deel bad about using them. Remember you don't have to sterilise them between every use. I used to sterilise once a day and wash in hot soap water in between.

PurpleTygrrr Thu 28-Jun-18 10:05:48

I'm similar Wand... my latch looked fine from the outside but cos my poor little nipples are short it was like DDs tongue was constantly rubbing them. No amount of professional help could have fixed that, it's just the way my nipples are!

BigFatTent Thu 28-Jun-18 10:10:37

I fed for over 2 years with them. I stressed about trying to get rid of them for a while but then I gave up and realised I was still feeding successfully. I know people advise against long-term use but it worked for me.

1stWorldProblems Thu 28-Jun-18 23:15:58

If your child happily feeds with nipple shields then just go with it & don't worry what others think. I have inverted nipples but successfully breast feed both my DD - the former for 17 mths - the newer, soft silicone shields do not appear to affect your milk supply (& despite some detailed searching, I couldn't find any up to date research on shields diminishing supply).

A top tip (learnt the hard way,) if you end up feeding with them for a long time - put one in your car as we were down to just night feeds, went away to visit friends & found at DD1's bedtime that we'd forgotten the shield. We ended up driving home!

It doesn't matter how you get your milk into your child - it's still your milk (with all the benefits that come from that), you're still getting close feeding contact & shields are less hassle to sterilise than bottles - I think we ended up with about six on rotation & would just leave them in a glass of dilute Milton. Pashminas are your friend.

Good luck.

MammaBell Tue 03-Jul-18 07:45:29

Aw thank you to all of you for sharing your experiences, tips and encouragement. I feel like now I'm going to stop thinking about it so much and just be happy to be able to still BF with no pain using the nipple shields. Knowing that many of you went a long time feeding with the shields with no adverse effects on baby or your supply puts my mind at ease. As for the sterilising, it is true they are actually much easier to keep up with the sterilising than bottles, I never thought of it that way! I've now got 4 nipple shields, and thinking of upping it to 6 lol. I always take them out with us just in case, plus I think it's just good practise to get into the habit of having them everywhere we go in case we ever get stuck! I saw in the supermarket that you can buy sterilising wipes for dummy's, bottle teats etc. I take these out with me now too just in case I can't properly clean / sterilise them....I've dropped them on the floor whilst out in public in the past due to the "faffing" getting them on/off lol and my DD knocking them off too.

LittleCandle Tue 03-Jul-18 07:48:32

I fed both of mine using nipple shields, one for 14 months and the other for 9 months. Nothing drastic happened and I honestly couldn't have taken the pain of feeding without them. If your wee one is happy with the shields, then no reason why you can't stick with them.

Elbbob Tue 03-Jul-18 14:14:18

Mammabell - just wondering how you get nipple shield to stay on? I've tried turning inside out first, using water or breast milk to stick the wings down but it falls off straight away or when baby is trying to latch.

MammaBell Tue 03-Jul-18 14:24:05

@Elbbob yeah I have that issue sometimes too, I can manage to sort of hold the rim/wings down with my index and forefinger I'm a sort of 'v' around the teat of the shield to keep it in place and latch DD on then slide my fingers away. I do the cradle hold position so I have a free hand to do it this way. I've also found that if I put nipple cream (lanisoh) on before the shield it can sort of help it stick a bit better.

MammaBell Tue 03-Jul-18 15:21:47

@Elbbob ...just also thought it might be worth mentioning what type of shield you're using? I've got the medela ones and also the boots own brand ones and actually I find the boots (cheaper) ones are much thinner and stay on better.

MammaBell Tue 03-Jul-18 15:26:35

@PurpleTygrrr thank you for the encouragement again grin. When you're out and about and feeding which type of top do you find easiest? And do you lift your top up or pull top down to get the boob out? I tried the other day in this blooming heat with a vest and a kimono thing, I managed to unclip bra, pull down vest whist sort of draping the side of my kimono over, it worked quite well smile

MammaBell Tue 03-Jul-18 15:28:51

@Mermaid36 oh wow, huge hats off to you for sticking with it with twin and for that long!! That's amazing, well done!! Yeah that's what my husband says, I should be grateful to have the shields otherwise I'd have had to have given up on breastfeeding long ago!

MammaBell Tue 03-Jul-18 15:31:51

@Zebrasinpyjamas yes very true that even if my friends find bf a breeze, everything may not necessarily be easy for them! It's weird how you always feel like others are doing better than you are, I lose my perspective sometimes.

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