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Breast feeding with a shield - weaning Rss

Hi all,

I've been breastfeeding with a shield for about a month now and it is going fine. But the pressure is on to come off the shield. I have today had some successful feeds without the shield (yay) however this 2:30am feed was a disaster and she wouldn't feed without it (too upset).

Has anyone else had to wean off a shield in the past and how long did it take you? Was it a matter of 'here today gone tomorrow' or did it take a bit of time? I feel quite upset that this last feed was such a disaster and it's hard not to give up hope so thought I'd ask others of their experience etc to see how it has worked for others in that past?

Thanks!
Definitely don't give up hope! I used a shield for very badly damaged nipples with DS for about 2 weeks, and it took 1-2 weeks to get him off it. My LC told me not to persevere more than 5ish minutes to latch him without the shield so he wouldn't develop an aversion to the nipple, but I have to say even after stopping the shield some feeds it would take ages to get him on right - up to 45 minutes! I was finding it really tough because my nipples were still really sore and DS was a clamper, so I had to get him on quickly so he didn't hurt me but at the same time it would often take me a lot of time to build up the courage to actually let him at it lol... So we would both end up hysterical! I found certain feeds easier than others - generally when I was least tired and he was the least hungry. Once you practice at the easier feeds it starts to become second nature and you can get them on for the harder feeds.

You're doing so well, but don't pressured to suddenly stop using the shields after a month when they're working so well for you. Try every feed without if you feel up to it, but don't be upset if it doesn't work some feeds. You will both get better at latching without it and before long you will find it hard to believe you ever had trouble! The early weeks of BFing are so hard, but it really does get easier. To be honest it took 10-12 weeks til I was actually enjoying it but most people find 6 weeks is the charm - DS was a particularly bad latcher! Although he's now 5 months old and I'm feeding in the dark because I don't need to see to latch him anymore - just point him in the general direction!

Good luck, you're doing great!
Thanks Baby Blueberry, good advice. I will keep going. I've said I will do it until the 6 week mark at least so I'm hoping at some stage it will get slightly easier each week. Perseverance is the key I think.

Did you find that it stopped hurting after some time? Bub is a muncher too and it hurts! but I'm hoping the more she gets on without the shield the more she'll learn to open her mouth and stop munching!

Thanks again. smile
6 weeks is a great goal, by then it was much easier for me, and then you can decide whether or not to persevere. By that stage I didn't want to waste all the time and money I'd invested and decided to hold out til 2 months... and then never looked back!

I think it only took 1 or 2 weeks of him latching properly for a feed to be relatively painfree. My right nipple was still bleeding at 4 weeks though, so if you've healed you're on the fast track! wink

By 8 weeks there was no pain at all, and now I only have to deal with pain when he pulls off because something distracted him from feeding and he forgot to unlatch - although its NOTHING on what that first month was like.

As for the clamping - I remember when DS was 10 days old him clamping and shaking his head side to side like he was throttling the nipple - still gives me shivers up my spine! Once we weaned from the shield I don't remember him doing it again, and he certainly hasn't in the last 3 months.

Well done for making it through another day, just think, you're one day closer to your goal! I'm on here an awful lot if you ever want to chat grin
We had issues from the start with tongue tie, flat nipples, which led to mutilated nipples and agony. I expressed for the first week and a half before I could try again, even with shields, and spent all that week and a half in hospital trying to get it sorted, still went home from hospital expressing and finger feeding, it was hell.
DD is now 12 week olds and have only managed to get off the shields in the last week. Bubs wasnt having a bar of it at first, but now is pretty good, but if she is fussing a little, which doesn't happen often now, I don't persist long before putting one back on so she doesn't get upset. Originally I was starting a feed with the shield then would try to slip it off 5 minutes in, didn't work, she would grizzle straight away. In the end what worked for me was starting a feed without it, even just for a minute or 2 to get her used to the feeling of just my nipple, then putting it back on if she started fussing. After a couple of days doing it that way it just clicked, which was great because I'd pretty much decided that we'd always have to use them, and I was ok with that.
One thing I would suggest is to keep using them for night feeds for a start, just until its a bit more consistently successful, because you won't feel like settling bubs in the middle of the night if they get upset, and you probably won't be concentrating as well on the latch either. I totally understand the ups and downs of a good feed followed by a terrible one, and how excited you get when it works, only to be followed by heartbreak the next time. It will get better, so does the pain. By about 4 weeks I could have slept through a feed I would hardly notice the feeling.
Good luck, but don't put pressure on yourself, a friend of mine fed with shields for 10 months no problems, its a better option than not at all.
Forgot to say, I had the clamping and head shaking too, eek, just.. eek!
Wow, you sound just like me! I was using shields for about 4 weeks and found the pain really bad. I ended up going cold turkey as when I tried to take the shields away after 5 mins DS just cracked up. So after about 2 stressful feeds he was fine.

Also if you find the pain doesn't go away, you might have nipple thrush. I got it from being on antibiotics and it makes bfing very painful. So if you are attaching properly and it still hurts, this could be the issue. If so, just see your GP and you can get some cream.

Good luck and congratulations for getting this far already!!
My DD was a sheild addict too... in all honesty I just kept using them. ( about 4 1/2 months). Its not ideal but better then not at all and theyre what kept me going. I have very flat nipples and was just lucky that the sheilds didnt really effect my supply too much. Well done & good luck!!
Thanks everyone for the encouragement. No one tells you that b/feeding is so hard! But I'm hoping I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Had 3 great feeds today so will just keep that in mind if I have trouble over night.

Thanks again all and well done to you all for all of your success and perseverance! smile
Great to finally read some feedback about other people that are having similar problems. They dont tell you that once you milk comes a few days after bubs is born, you pretty much have to learn to breadfeed again. My breasts became so encorged and hard that our lil man kept slipping off and munching on the end of the nipples, leaving me bleeding, extremely sore and chew marks around my nipples. Breast feeding has to be one of the hardest skills to learn....especially when you have flat nipples!
My midwife gave me nipple shields to use until my nipples heal. Even sometimes with the shields feeding can be painful and i still find him sometimes chewing on the nipple. Ouch! I have been using the shields for just under a week. Mitchell is now 12 days old.
Everyone keeps telling me that i cannot become reliant on them and i need to eventually get rid of them. Does anyone know the reason why nipple shields cannot be used for long periods of time?
I went for a steam treatment on my nipples yesterday and am back again today for another session....fingers crossed this gives me some healing.

Great to finally read some feedback about other people that are having similar problems. They dont tell you that once you milk comes a few days after bubs is born, you pretty much have to learn to breadfeed again. My breasts became so encorged and hard that our lil man kept slipping off and munching on the end of the nipples, leaving me bleeding, extremely sore and chew marks around my nipples. Breast feeding has to be one of the hardest skills to learn....especially when you have flat nipples!
My midwife gave me nipple shields to use until my nipples heal. Even sometimes with the shields feeding can be painful and i still find him sometimes chewing on the nipple. Ouch! I have been using the shields for just under a week. Mitchell is now 12 days old.
Everyone keeps telling me that i cannot become reliant on them and i need to eventually get rid of them. Does anyone know the reason why nipple shields cannot be used for long periods of time?
I went for a steam treatment on my nipples yesterday and am back again today for another session....fingers crossed this gives me some healing.


Well done for persevering, it's such a hard first month or so, and no one tells you how bad it can be!
I also found I had some pain with the shields, but it was bearable, unlike without them!
In terms of people telling you not to become reliant on them - you need to use them for as long as it takes for your nipples to heal and you to be able to BF without them. Some people it takes a few days, some a few months. The danger with the shield is that some people have a supply drop when they use them. If you feel your supply dropping, you can express after feeds a couple of times a day to boost it back up again. As long as your baby is gaining weight, having lots of wet and dirty nappies, your supply is fine. Mitchell should be close to regaining his birth weight now, and should be back there by 14 days. The other issue with the shield can be weaning from them because your DS may prefer the sensation of the silicone teat to the nipple, although with perseverence most people can wean successfully.
Try not to get too stressed, you're doing a wonderful job and just need to do whatever has to be done in those early weeks. Make sure you keep asking for help from your CHN as you need it.
And for your damaged nipples, have you tried Lansinoh? You slather it on after a feed (don't need to wash it off before feeding) and it heals nipples faster than anything else I tried. I also found walking around topless helpful roll eyes as everytime I did my bra back up my nipple would form a scab into the bra/pad and it would kill when I had to peel it off again - if this is a problem for you try expressing a bit of milk into the scab to soften it first so it doesn't make you bleed before you even start feeding!

Best of luck, it just gets better and easier the further you go.
Thanks for your reply and advise. I am prepared to keep giving things a go and really do not want to give up with BF, hence the reason why I am not ready to part with the nipple shields yet. Things were progressing extremely well but I was tired and Mitch was unsettled over the weekend and one bad latch has put us back a few steps with the healing of one nipple. We will get there though.
I have been using the Lasinoh however I have found once I use it I cannot put a bra or BF top on as the cream makes the nipple stick and is a killer to peel off. So have to make sure that I am home and am able to walk around topless for a while.
At Mitch's one week check he had actually put on weight from his birth weight so fingers crossed the nipple shields do not affect my milk flow.
smile
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