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nipple shields

i hand expressed in pregnancy to get a good supply going, my milk came in on day 2 (at this stage my nipples felt like they were being attacked with razor blades every feed and despite having an angel baby who settled in his cot between feeds, i was already dreading him waking up, which was sad image luckily i went to birth centre for 5 days after birth and got lots of bf help. they continually said he was on right, i work helping bf mothers and i too thought he was on right. He was 8 pounds 13 so all i can think is that he has a strong suck and i have sensitive nipples. They werent cracked or bleeding just very pink.

They helped me start with a shield - i know the down side to these, but also know of several friends who exclusively bf with one until their child was on solids and they never used formula. On day 5 henry had put on weight to nearly 8 pounds 15, i know how rare this is in a bf baby so felt happy. On day 12, he was 9 pounds 6! The health visitor said she'd have been happy if he'd made his birth weight back.

However, her tone dropped when i told her about the shield. I told her that as part of my job i know they can reduce milk supply months down the line but clearly my supply was good and if it started to wane i would pump.She said it wasnt so much this as his feeds would never get shorter as he got older - does this really matter if he can stay bf?! she guilt tripped me into trying him without and it actually didnt hurt - but then it was only 1st feed without. I then upset my lovely calm baby for the next 24 hours making him feed without. By morning i was in tears and sore, i felt guilty for upsetting henry as he never cries much. I knew i was messing him around by reintroducing shield but felt i had no choice image now am using for half the feed and not for the other half, but he hates the half without it and i dont hear swallows much where as with it he gulps and has it all round his mouth. He looks on right but i wonder if the stress is stopping me letting down image

I felt i wasnt brave enough to have the birth i wanted but felt so proud henry was gaining so much weight on my milk and feel mad the health visitor has made me feel im messing up on that too. I know about bf but felt i had no choice, its all going well so kind of think if it isnt broken, dont fix it? I do think it will be harder to bf in public places with a shield but thats a small price to pay to give him the benefits of my milk.

Has anyone used shields. Please let me know your stories, even if it didnt turn out well. :roll:


  • Hi hun

    You're doing an amazing job so don't let the HVs bring you down!

    Whilst in hospital after giving birth to my son he wouldn't latch on so eventually someone suggested trying a nipple shield which worked a treat! I fed him using a nipple shield (Medela ones) for the next 3 months - I never struggled with milk supply or lengthy feeds and he never struggled with weight gain... We eventually managed to wean him off the shields, but that was many due to him being ravenous and me forgetting to put it on once so he drank without it image He noticed half way through the feed and got cranky and refused to take any more without the shield. After that I just kept trying it without every day and eventually he fed for another 6months without them. I did have sore nipples once we stopped using them so Lanisoh became my best friend again.

    I remember that at various HV visits I was made to feel lacking because my son wouldn't feed without a shield, but I really think they ought to have been more supportive of the fact that I was exclusively breastfeeding him despite the rocky start in hospital where I had to express into a syringe for 2 days to feed him and I didn't give up like many others would have done.

    Anyhoo, well done you. I wouldn't change anything yet until you have established breastfeeding properly - Your little man needs his milk and your nipples will be grateful for the protection lol Is worth trying to feed without the shield every once in a while though - just in case!

    Spring x
  • hello

    i wouldnt listen to your health visitor she sounds like an idiot, we were talking about shields with our BF group and the infant feeding team its run by would 100% back their usage if it enabled a woman to carry on feeding, i would also say she is talking twoddle about feeds staying the same, is she an expert in this field i think not! :roll:

    i used them for a good few days as i was in agony and i found them a lifesaver, luckily my nipples have toughened up so i dont need them anymore but have kept them and would not hesitate in using them again if needed,

    i would carry on as you are, you sound like your doing a fab job! i didnt find using the shield made feedng in public anymore difficult, i just had to remember to bring it!
  • Don't pay too much attention to hvs! I used shields for leSs than a week, reducing at each feed. She's still breastfed and is now 17 months old.
  • Bloody HV's!!

    You clearly know what you're doing and if shields are working for you then stick with it.

    I had similar issues to you with DD - everyone said she was latched on correctly but I was in agony and shields were the only way I could continue BFing her.

    When I tried weaning her off them she got really distressed and in the end I decided to stick with the shields because she fed so well with them. I didn't have a problem with my supply (quite the opposite!) but knew what to do if it started to wane.

    I ended up feeding her for 14 months. We NEVER had any problems and she dropped feeds naturally as she got older just like any other BF baby.

    There seems to be a huge variation in different makes of shield - I used the Medela ones, but some of the others are really thick and I can see why they might cause problems.

    Well done and ignore your stupid HV - Mummy always knows best!

    Mrs B xxx
  • What a stupid woman, sounds like she just wants to impose her authority on you rather than support you at difficult time!

    My son is 3 months old and i'm sat here bfing with medela nipple shields right now. We've been using then since day 5 and they are the reason i'm still bfing! Like you i was in agony, and my nipples were just about to drop off until i discovered this amazing invention. Everytime we've tried to come off he's had problems latching on and we've both been in tears. So i'll be using them until we stop bfing.

    I've had no issues with them, his feeds are shorter now and he can go for longer between them now. I've also read on some of the bfing sites that it's a complete myth that shields effect your supply.

    We bf in public fine, I have a bfing cover cos it's sometimes a faff when he's trying to look around with the nipple shield! I don't always use it though.

    Just a thought about pink nipples and pain, watch out for thrush i had this with my first and one of the signs is very pink, shiney nipples.

    Just ignore the silly woman, and carry on doing what works for you and your baby! Sounds like Henry is doing amazingly well with his weight gain and you should be proud. Well done you! xxxx
  • ah thanks ladies, you've all made me feel better!

    do you think i should get medella ones? we're using boots ones as thats what we started with, they do have a big plastic teat and sometimes he squishes the plastic a bit, clearly they're working for us. I tried advent ones and he seemed a bit confused as they're a different shape so i figured stick to what he's happy with. But if medella are better i'd be happy to try?

  • Hi, sounds like you're doing a great job, I used boots shields the whole time my lo was breast feeding (8 months) and had no problems. I used them as I couldn't get her to latch on, had my Mum not come to my rescue with them at 5 days old I would have given up!

    Good luck

  • thanks ladies, i still get sore on nipple shields sometimes - nothing that stops me - but makes me think no way i could cope without!

    jojo31uk my oh has ordered more boots ones on line for me, should be arriving today. My other 2 are 2 weeks old now and i think they are coming unstuck more, flying off, coming off in his mouth etc. Maybe im imagining this? Did you replace them regularly?

    I think im at peace with doing it the whole stretch if i need to. Its great some of you managed to wean yourselves off (VERY well done, i can appreciate how hard it must be) but i really think i will always feel sore without.

    Heyho, my boy is big and strong, in 2 weeks he's visibly different, milk cheeks and a double chin he didnt have before bless him! I really think there's something wrong with a system that says whatever breast milk a baby can have is a bonus - but would prefer a woman to crack and formila feed rather than find another way to give her baby the goodness. And i mean even if there were problems later as a result of the shield - a baby could have weeks or months of breast milk where he wouldnt have done before! Im supposed to be having a "feeding support" visit from HV this week, i can see i will just feel bullied and have low self esteem so may call and say its all going well and not to bother :lol:

  • Hi, I didn't replace them at all but had two sets, dd only fed every four hours from the start so I usually only used each one once per day. I do think they get less 'sticky' though. Someone did suggest using vaseline to make them 'stick', don't think I tried it but a bit of milk does workimage

    Good luck and ignore your hv, she does sound like a bully!! You're doing a great job!!

  • Hi hun, I had my 3rd baby 10days ago and had bf my other two with no problems. When my milk came in on day 3 I got so engorged feeding was a nightmare I could hardly get her latched on and when I did it was like red hot pokers!Then my nipples cracked and started bleeding!

    I rang the mw who told me to get nipple shields, I got the medela contact ones and they have been brilliant, they are v thin and flexible and saved my sanity!. I just stopped using the shields last night - put on loads on lanisoh inbetween feeds - and no problems so far.

    Maybe try the medela ones as they are thinner so you can wean off them a bit easier - if you want to!
  • Your HV sounds like an idiot. Who cares how a baby gets breast milk, whether its from the nipple, a shield or a bottle as long as the baby has the breast milk and both mummy and baby are happy? If you didnt use the shield you'd be formula feeding, surely milk through a shield is better? Crazy woman. Good on you for perservering x
  • thanks ladies your positive comments mean a lot. Just posted about henry's last feed at night - i have so much milk at the end of the day he gulps and splutters and has awful wind! So so much for shields causing poor supply! xx
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