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Nipple Shields. Why so bad?

(39 Posts)
mrsfix Sun 16-Aug-09 19:08:12

Sorry to be hijacking the board but it seems any chance of help with my sore nips is away on hols at the mo!

In the meantime I am resorting to shields when I just can't take it any longer - maybe a few times a day. Please could someone give me the facts as to why they are bad?

She's more often than not sucking for the sake of it (I think), would shields be better than dummy/finger?

Gawd Bless You All


moondog Sun 16-Aug-09 19:11:33

I think there is an issue with nipple confusion.

I tried them a bit when I was in terrible terrible pain and they gave me the brief bit of respite I needed.

Is it a pain factor for yuo or a God I need some bloody space away from this baby factor?

TaxiLady Sun 16-Aug-09 19:14:15

i used them with ds1, the greediest and hungriest baby in the confusion at all for him!

they will give you a respite from chewed and chafed nipples andstop you dreading latching on!

mind you this was all some time ago, child is 17 in september shock

kathyis6incheshigh Sun 16-Aug-09 19:14:23

They are meant to be bad because they allegedly make the baby's stimulation of the nipple less effective hence can lead to you producing less milk. However I have also heard it said that the modern silicone ones are thinner than the old-fashioned latex ones were so this is less of an issue.

Why is it hurting? Is your baby latched properly? [disclaimer: I don't have any bf expertise other than having bf 2 children].

chichichien Sun 16-Aug-09 19:27:50

People would only use nipple shields if they were in quite considreable discomfort, no? In which case, you have to weigh up any small chance of affecting milk production against any relief the shields will bring.

Nipple shields helped me carry on bf for more than a couple of weeks.

jimbobsmummy Sun 16-Aug-09 19:44:45

Yes I agree, nipple shields were the only reason I continued breastfeeding. I have very inverted nipples and the latching on was impossible, I was bleeding and in so much pain I really couldn't do it any more.

Everyone said don't use them, they will affect your supply, but I figured that it would affect my supply a lot less than stopping breastfeeding entirely which was the altenative.

You do need to use them properly, and to look for any correctable problems with the latch or tongue tie etc that might be causing the problem. Don't just treat the symptom, treat the cause. But in my case, the cause was not treatable, except by shields. Now a almost 15 weeks I am still breast feeding, and for the last 2 weeks or so have now stopped using the shields (but still had the same problem up till then).

So they aren't necessarily bad.

Ripeberry Sun 16-Aug-09 19:51:06

Nipple shields were my saviour when DD1 cut her first teeth at 6 months old and almost bit off my nipple (no kidding!)
The nipple healed well after 3 days and although it still hurt it was not as bad as it could have been!

TheOldestCat Sun 16-Aug-09 19:54:31

Another nipple-shield fan here - used them for just a couple of days when I had thrush (about ten days after DD was born) and went on to BF for 17 months. They made the agony just about bearable.

Agree with the others - it depends why you need them. mrsfix. Can you call a helpline? Hope the sore nips get better soon.

mrsfix Sun 16-Aug-09 20:12:27

How exactly did people have children before the internet? wink

Thank you for your advice and encouragement (though any more always welcome sad) - BF Guru's last comment in my 'little red book' was "beautiful attachment", I know this isn't always true as we have had clicking in the last few days but there really really has to be more wrong than this or nobody would BF. Unfortunately EVERYBODY I ask for help says "have you spoken to Helen", GPs, HVs, Peer Support Worker +++ I think I have vasospasm but again that's not all the time so relying on you lovely chaps to get me through until she gets back from her hols.

Odd one too.... any relation between shield use and wind? She's a demon and I was worried that the crap latch she gets on shields might make her farty? Ridiculous I am sure but you never know.

As for any RL help 'to be going on with', there are no baby cafes in this county, no bfn group type things. I phoned the HV on Friday and begged her to give me the number of someone who I can pay (/ill afford) to come out to help as the 8 mins a week you get with guru when she is here aren't gonna keep me going - she couldn't help. I won't tell you what advice she did offer me as it will just prompt a round of HV visiting and she is lovely. Just rubbish!

GirlsAreLoud Sun 16-Aug-09 20:20:12

I couldn't work nipple shields at all. My nipples never seemed long enough to reach to the end of them hmm

mrsfix Mon 17-Aug-09 19:06:01

Moondog Absolutely the former. I must admit that I am enjoying today's 10 minutes to do a bit more fretting to you guys wink but she is a peach, she really is. I love her to absolute pieces but unfortunately that is also what these damned boobes are making me fall to.

Why is it that the one thing I really don't want to be thinking about is the one thing I really have to concentrate on?!

Thanks again and keep 'em crossed for me so that I can last another week until La Guru returns.

I will not fail I will not fail I will not fail....

jimbobsmummy Mon 17-Aug-09 19:13:07

Girlsareloud they don't have to reach the end! Mine are completely inverted and totally flat against the shield. But when he sucks, it sucks in the whole areola.

GreenMonkies Mon 17-Aug-09 19:24:22

Technically speaking nipple shields reduce the amount and type of stimulation your breasts/nipples receive, which can reduce your milk supply. They are also a nipple confusion risk, as the baby sucks them the same way they would suck a bottle or dummy, not the same way they suck a booby-nipple. Does that make sense?

How old is your baby? Whilst I know how excruciating sore nipples are, the best thing to do is figure out why your nipples are sore. Nipple shields can help reduce the pain of nursing, but are not a solution in themselves, you need to see someone who can assess your baby's latch and help you fix what ever it is that is making you so sore. Between feeds breast shells will hold your bra away from your nipples, allowing air to circulate and stopping your breastpads from sticking to yur sore nipples. Heaven!

So, short term, nipple shields are ok to help you through a tough 24 hours or so, but are not a solution or good in the long term.

GreenMonkies Mon 17-Aug-09 19:26:43

Oh, and comfort sucking is important, don't give her a dummy or finger, solve the reason for her making you sore and let her comfort suck. smile

rek21 Mon 17-Aug-09 19:27:42

I was told by a la leche league lady (so it must be true!) that the very thin silicone sheilds don't affect supply and anyway supply isn't affected immediately, it takes some weeks. She advised that I use them as long as I needed so I used them for about 4 weeks until dd2 got the hang of latching. I wish I'd used them with dd1 but I was advised not to and ended up giving up feeding altogether at 4 weeks.

littlemisslozza Mon 17-Aug-09 19:42:17

If they keep you feeding then I don't see what the problem is! I know that the theory is that they can reduce your milk supply and that you must get your latch and positioning checked obviously. With DS1 I was so sore and bleeding despite having checked that all was well with latch etc. Tried nipple shields on the advice of a midwife (they seem very divided on this), they were my saviour! Kept feeding him until he was about 9 months old, was able to stop using the shields after about 4 months. My milk supply was not affected at all, in fact they actually helped stop him choking on the fast flow at the start of a feed as well I think.
Now got DS2, 10 days old. Same problem again. Midwives checked latch, no problems, yet nipples bleeding, extremely sore. WHen he was 5 days old I remembered my trusty nipple shields and 'hey presto' easy breastfeeds again.
If they work for you, use them! Just keep in the back of your mind the milk production issue in case it does reduce, you could always use them for the first part of the feed, then take them off later so that stimulation is increased and it's usually not so sore later in the feed.

mrsfix Mon 17-Aug-09 19:53:18

GreenMonkies I am using them just in the evenings and...mostly.... just on one side which is the side she goes to sleep on. I would happily walk round with her attached to me 24 hours a day as long as she let go for long enough to give me one of her smiles every now and then.

I have turned into a woman who lifts her baby up to her husband and says "Look. I made this out of my boobes" I am so proud.

It just hurts so damned much sad. I am absolutely trying to sort out the problem, this is just a plaster until the-only-person-who-apparently-knows-about-breastfeeding is back in the county. Next Thursday. 10 days. 10 long days. Not that I'm counting, ahem.

Unfortunately she has been away for 2 weeks and every single woman with a bf issue for 30 miles will be wanting to talk to her. I'll just have to go on Wednesday with my sleeping bag.

Sorry, gallows humour again. The pressure is even 'further on' as DH said whimsically "FF wouldn't be so bad would it?". I know he only wants to help and has been super supportive all along, just can't stand to see me in this much pain. I'm not going to fail I'm not going to ++++ but I am running out of options what with my "beautiful latch". TBH I think I already have run out of options but this time I am going to shout about it blush

Many, many thanks to all the rest of you too. I have the thin silicone ones and I have literally JUST bought myself some shields. Can you please all keep on shouting at me (aka encouraging me) to stop being so goddamn British and get the help She/I/We need and deserve?! xxx

mrsfix Mon 17-Aug-09 19:55:26

Oops, sorry, she's 11 weeks.

and lovely. Did I mention that enough?

ssmile Mon 17-Aug-09 20:17:50

I cried with pain endelssly trying to BF my DD. The amazing midwife in the maternity hospital gave me a nipple shield in the middle of the night and with out it I would have given up. As it was I struggled on with BF despite no support from the HV who was against the shields. With out the nipple shields I would have given up. In the end I BF for 9months and had given up the shield on one side with in 2wks and the otherside side within 5wks. I did it at my own speed when we were both ready my DD didnt suffer and never took a bottle (despite me trying endlessly another story). The shield the midwife gave me was fantastic very thin latex but I couldnt find it in the shops. Hang in there, I was very glad I did despite moaning for 5 wks I hated this BF thing and then one day my DH said you look like you are enjoying that and sure enough I was as it didnt hurt anymore she was 5wks old and we didnt look back. But get support and help just tweaking my positions helped, I fed lying down for 2wks as that worked for a while etc.

GreenMonkies Mon 17-Aug-09 22:48:00

If you're still in pain at 11 weeks there is definitely something wrong with her latch!! Where abouts in the UK are you? Have you rung the bf support lines to see if they can send someone to see you? Has tongue tie been ruled out?

Hang in there, it shouldn't hurt, and with some help you will start to enjoy this, not suffer it. (I am still one of those women who looks at my babies [now 6 & 3 years!!] and says "look, I made them!!" grin)

diddl Tue 18-Aug-09 13:58:56

Just seen your post about her falling asleep on you?
Does she actually fall asleep so that she is sucking as the nipple falls out?
This could cause the soreness if there is not enough in her mouth whilst she is sucking.

mrsfix Tue 18-Aug-09 14:17:55

diddl I am SUCH a dolt - she will Definitely be doing this. Cannot believe that didn't occur to me earlier, especially because the worst side is the side she sleeps on. Genius.

Ssmile That's such a lovely post, thank you! The newwer silicone ones are apparently much thinner but sometimes I wish they were a bit thicker, especially when she is being a bit rough and enthusiastic at night.

Greenmonkies We're in Cornwall, unfortunately the only peery type people I've seen have told me to see the Guru who is on her hols. HOWEVER, thanks to all of you leaving me messages like these, I will stop saying "they are all like this/that" and keep trying until I find the right one. I might subtly give the list of numbers to my HV too (here earlier, still lovely, still no help whatsoever).

We are currently having a bit of a moment. She is asleep in a Moses Basket.

It was a bit of a pickle to get her there but if she can send herself to sleep it might save my boobes a bit and if she will sleep in a basket then I might get some sleep too. Double Luxy Happy Joy. 30 minutes and counting.

(Checked for tongue tie a few times but mostly by the people who said she had a perfect latch when she didn't - is there a way I could check?)

hobnobs Tue 18-Aug-09 17:18:15

A bit late to the thread but I used nipple shields from day 3 when the midwife visited me at home and saw the state of my nipples until we had DS's very severe tongue tie snipped at 2 weeks. When I saw a different midwife at 5 days, she did suggest I tried not to use them every feed but it was too painful not to. I was also putting lansinoh cream and cling film on after each feed - a bit of a palaver! I think I would have really struggled to carry on without them - even after the tongue tie was snipped, I carried on using them on one side for a few days until I managed to get to see the Breastfeeding counsellor for some help with latching.

DS is now 16 weeks and I can't believe how easy feeding is now in comparison. You will get it sorted though I appreciate 10 days is a long way off.

GirlsAreLoud Tue 18-Aug-09 18:55:17

No I no jimbob grin

They genuinely didn't work for me though, just kinda dropped off, DD couldn't get anything through them.

mrsfix Tue 18-Aug-09 19:01:47

Many thanks Hobnob. Delighted to say NINE days now!

I have Lansinoh and Kamilosan - they never seemed to make that much difference in the early days but might give them another go. Paracetamol and swearing are current painkillers

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