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Nipple sheilds - how do they work?

(7 Posts)
tealcheese Fri 14-Aug-20 11:55:44

I want to breastfeed my baby. She is 9 weeks old and has had two tongue tie procedures. We still can't get going so I'm expressing and bottle feeding. When she latches it must be shallow as I am still getting pain and misshapen nipples. Also I don't think she's drawing enough milk out.

I've tried nipple sheilds but she just attaches to the nipple "hat" bit and sucks that. It's rather painful. I have had more success with MAM size 2 which are quite large. My areola gets sucked in as she suckles, still with her mouth only wide enough to get the end of the "hat" and she gets more milk but not enough. These sheilds work more like a pump does I guess.

Am I doing it wrong? Does anyone have any advice/experience?


OP’s posts: |
Dillybear Fri 14-Aug-20 13:03:29

I am definitely no expert but fed my daughter with shields until she was around three months old until she learnt to latch without. I used medela shields, they were very thin silicone.

My DD would only ever latch onto the ‘hat’ bit, I don’t think anything more would have fitted into her mouth. Her mouth was up against my breast, and just the nipple was in the shield - there was a gap between the end of my nipple and the tip of the shield (this air gap can make some babies a bit windy). For my DD the shield gave her something bigger to latch on to.

I found shields could feel as though they were pinching at times. I think that happens when the side of the hat bit touches your nipple. They can slide around a bit when a baby feeds and sort of ‘catch’ in different places during a feed. I found it helpful to take time to try and get them right in the middle and then I would hold it in place during the feed. I have also heard of women having success with using a little bit of surgical tape to hold them in place.

A tip I was given was to hand express some milk into the tip of the shield, so when you are latching baby on the milk is right there so there is an ‘instant reward’.

When your DD latches to the shield, does she actually drink any milk?

Dillybear Fri 14-Aug-20 13:08:13

Also, seriously well done for persevering with pumping and bottle feeding for so long. I wanted to breastfeed but don’t think I would have kept that up. I hope it works out for you, but if it doesn’t then you’ll be able to say you tried bloody hard.

I had a lot of trouble getting breastfeeding established, and I was encouraged by others to keep trying. I really valued that a lot. Advice on mumsnet and from a lactation consultant, midwives, and the health visitor was always so appreciated. But I also at times felt as though I wished someone would just tell me it would be okay to stop. As if I needed permission or something. So just in case it’s helpful - it’s okay to stop! You have done amazingly well and given your baby a brilliant start already.

tealcheese Fri 14-Aug-20 13:31:18

Thank you for your help and encouragment :-) She does get milk, I see it collected in the end and also if she falls asleep while feeding when I take her off she dribbles some out 😂 feeds take ages though 1hr or more and then she needs to start again 15 minutes after she finished. Unless she fell alseep then she'll wake up hangry. So we end up giving bottle.

I'll keep trying with the sheilds a bit longer but then I might have to stop entirely and give formula. Thankfully she doesn't mind it and takes a bottle well

OP’s posts: |
Dillybear Fri 14-Aug-20 13:42:48

I definitely found that feeds were sooooo much quicker once we got rid of the shields. I think they have to work quite hard to get milk through shields. If she latches onto the shield, you could try taking it off once she’s started feeding, and see if you can latch her onto your nipple. I started doing that around 10 weeks and increasingly DD got the hang of it. It also might be that breastfeeding just doesn’t work for her. It’s great that she takes a bottle - you know you have an alternative there.

tbtf Fri 14-Aug-20 14:04:17

I used shields until DD was about 5 months. I got them fitted by a Lactation Consultant, then bought more in the same size, there are so many sizes, if you can't see a specialist to size them just buy a few S M L and see which feels most comfortable.

Do you roll the plastic half inside out and then pop them on? I found my nipple and areola got dragged into the 'hat' and then it was comfortable. So baby's mouth still didn't open very wide but it worked

tealcheese Fri 14-Aug-20 21:33:59

Thanks, it is comforting to know that she can take a bottle :-). I'll give her a little longer in the hopes that she can get stronger to feed enough to satisfy herself even if it takes ages.

Tbtf - I do roll the plastic half inside out and it sucks in a little areola but there isn't much space in there. You're right, I should try different sizes in the same brand. Thanks

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