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Advice on long term nipple shield use please!

(13 Posts)
jocesar Mon 21-Jul-08 22:57:57

My first DS is 2wks old. I am determined to bf but am having lots of ishoos!

1. My L nipple is completely inverted and I cannot get a latch with or witout a nipple shield so I have been expressing 6 times a day from this breast and giving 1 bottle feed a day of ebm.

2. My R nipple is still very sore and I got to the stage where I was crying and shaking before each feed as I anticipated the pain. I have started using a shield which has made it more bearable but I feel I'm letting him down a bit!

My question is can you feed long term with a nipple shield or are there complications. I have heard that the shield reduces milk production. should I keep trying without the shield- maybe get some help from somewhere? Will he start refusing to take the nipple if I use the shield?

Any advice gratefully received.

MrsMcJnr Mon 21-Jul-08 23:25:33

Poor you Jocesar, I really feel for you! Don't beat yourself up, you are still feeding him even if you use a shield. I thought I'd post and tell you a positive story smile I started using shields when my son was 3 weeks old because I was in such agony and such a mess, I took 12 weeks to heal enough to consider trying to feed him without them but by then he had forgotten how to latch on and though I tried to get rid of them, I couldn't besides he was a great little feeder and would take a bottle too. Anyway, he is now 6 months old and I am sill feeding him although I do give him some formula bottles now when we are out and about because it is hard to be discreet using protectors when they are this age and wriggling all over the place. I never had reduced milk as a result of using protectors. Hope that helps smile

littledudesmummy Tue 22-Jul-08 11:50:04

Someone I vagueley know fed all 3 of her kids for a year each using nipple shields for the entire time. It wasn't an in-depth conversation so I don't know why she used them all that time or if she had any problems. She is sooo thrifty that she admitted to me the only reason she had breastfed was because there was no way she was going to pay for formula - don't know whether that's admirable or not! As my nips were bleeding in hospital I made a detour to Mothercare on way home from hospital for some as I was in agony but only used them for a couple of weeks until I healed. I think that if they were used more by mums in the early stages there might be less giving up due to the pain. Only MY opinion though, maybe someone more expert on this issue can advise if there are any long-term probs. Anyway, at the moment you are giving your baby your milk no matter how it gets in his tum.

tiktok Tue 22-Jul-08 12:52:55

jocesar - individual experience varies massively. I have come across mothers whose bf was definitely affected by shields, as they can reduce supply. Others, though, manage to feed perfectly well and just curse the nuisance-value of the things.

6 expressings a day is not usually enough to build up and maintain a supply, if there is no direct feeding as well from that side...can you increase the no. of sessions?

Sometimes babies do refuse the 'naked' nipple.

I do think you need some good, expert and patient observation and help - it's hard to struggle on making it up as you go along

Holymoly321 Tue 22-Jul-08 14:10:31

Thought I'd share my exp with you. I suffered from very bad nipple pain when bfing DS2 ( i have big boobs but teeny tiny nipples), he refused to take a bottle at all so I had to carry on feeding even though I was bleeding etc. Used Avent shields from about 3 weeks and 8 mths on am still using them. Supply didn't suffer and have foudn it very easy. (Luckily he will take a bottle of formula now when we're out and about tho as it can be bit fiddly in public!)

egyptianprincess Tue 22-Jul-08 19:09:29

dd never learned how to latch properly for whatever reason. as she was losing weight after we left the hospital the community midwide strongly suggested I try nipple shields as dd was dehydrating quickly. It was either that or expressing or formula...DD immediately started feeding properly the minute i used one..so they were a real life saver for us..downside is that she is now 3 months old and refuses to feed without them. hasnt affected my supply at all tho..dd is huge for her age!
they are a real faff tho- especially when you are trying to feed in public. I have found that using a bebe au lait feeding apron makes public feeding with nipple shields a lot less stressful.

Mumsnut Tue 22-Jul-08 19:23:18

Neither of mine could latch on without them. Used them for 5m with ds and about 3.5m with dd, but was able to wean them off when they had a bigger mouth and stronger suck.

I don't think my supply was affected. Both babies were dainty - about 20th centile for weight, but 90 for height. I think that is the family shape (on their father's side anyway; on mine we are weebles!) rather than starvation, though.

springerspaniel Wed 23-Jul-08 11:14:08

I used them due do inverted nipples with DS1. He was 9lb 2oz at birth. Used them for 4 months.

EgyptianPrincess - I used to try without occasionally (once a week at most when relaxed) just to see if he could do it. After 4 months, DS1 just randomly got the hang of it. I think I must have picked a good time and also he just got to an age where he had the strength and determingation to suck my nipples out (DH can do it after all!) grin

Agree that they can be a tiny bit fiddly in public but you quickly learn to be discrete. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate using them but I loved the day when I didn't have to use them anymore. Same goes for breastfeeding full stop, I guess. Felt liberating in some respects to stop when I went back to work.

DD1 is 4 days old and doing fine with the shields but I am more relaxed this time, having made the decision to use them earlier, therefore avoiding the first 48 hours of heart ache, struggle and screaming, hungry baby, losing weight.

This time round, I tried without them a few times in hospital and then thought 'sod it' - my midwife was ultra supportive which always helps.

I don't like using them because I find it easier to breastfeed in public (it isn't that much easier but I find it slightly embarrassing for some stupid reason.) I think I don't want to have to explain to someone why I use them. Having said that, noone ever asked with DS1 - obviously!

Some people say you can't use breast feed big babies for six months and some people say breast shields reduce milk supply. Neither of those applied to me last time or this time. DS1 was 97 percentile for weight and 99 for height.

Oh - and last time I sought loads of advice (and got loads of un-sought advice) from the 'breast feeding police' - if they upset you and make you feel bad for using them, then don't speak to them. You are doing the best for you and for your baby. A relaxed happy mum is the best kind of mum, regardless of nipple shield, bottle, etc.

Crikey - long post. Obviously close to my heart, this one!

springerspaniel Wed 23-Jul-08 11:16:43

Ah - just reread your post. Re. the soreness, you must use Lansinoh. It won't help with the pain but it will help with the healing (your midwife can get it free for you on prescription.)

I have VERY sore nipples ^due to^ the shields. I think DD1 bends my nipple round the corner of them when she isn't trying hard. I had this last time and, like last time, it makes me want to sob with pain. My only consolation is that I know it will pass - I just can't remember how long it bloody took!

justaphase Wed 23-Jul-08 11:25:16

I also used them for the first 3 months as my nipples were so sore. They did not cause supply problems but they were a faff and also DS started to refuse to latch on without them. So I "forgot" them home when we went on holiday when he was 3 months old. This sorted it out.

maybug Sat 26-Jul-08 22:23:40

I am so glad to read everyone's advice and reassurance on this topic. I am using shields and have been since my baby daughter was one day old as I have inverted nipples and couldn't get her to latch on without a huge struggle and lots of tears. She's now 8 weeks. I have tried to wean her off them but she won't take the bare nipple now, even though they have become less inverted due to feeding. I don't seem to be having any problems with reduced milk supply so far and am going to continue using the shields. I do feel awkward using them in public, even though I know no one us really looking or cares!

alicet Mon 28-Jul-08 16:36:11

Haven't read all posts...

But I managed to feed ds1 for 5 and a half months before he self weaned with nipple shields. He had a tongue tie and every time I tried without them my nipples were wrecked and I got to the point where I was no longer brave enough! He did have one or two bottles a day too.

I think there can be problems with your milk supply as there isn't as much stimulation but I had got to the point where without them I would have given up so I figured I couldn't lose...

Good luck x

MatNanPlus Mon 28-Jul-08 16:42:29

A suggestion when out is to tape the sheilds with something like Micropore tape so they pretty much stay where they are meant to.

I had a mum with twins who's midwife suggested this as when she tandem feed one was always waundering and so both babies then had disturbed feeds, it really helped her to continue to feed them and to relax more.

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