I was given a nipple shield in the hospital by a nurse with no explanation on pros and cons or hints to not use it long term. Being a first time mom and not knowing anything beyond the basics of breastfeeding, I didn’t know any better. While NS can be really beneficial in helping women breastfeed, it caused us many bumps in the road. By 7 months, I was comfortable enough in my supply and felt it was time to kick the NS aside. Below are tips that helped me, but be sure you have support from a pediatrician, lactation consultant or someone knowledgeable who can help you.
1) Reintroduce Latching Without the Shield
By 4 months, my LO wouldn’t even latch without the shield. A strategy that could help is to try at night or when your LO is drowsy and may not realize there’s no shield. After a few minutes of nursing you can try with the shield to be sure LO is being fed and that your supply is being stimulated
2) Try Different Nursing Positions
Once LO is latching, a position that really helped us with many issues was when I laid down on my back (in bed or on a couch) and had LO laying belly to belly with me. In this position, gravity is pushing LOs head down for a deeper latch. Again, follow up with NS time to be sure LO is satisfied. I didn’t do this for every nursing until I was sure LO had a good latch and enough milk was being provided.
3) Following Up With A Professional
Checking in with a lactation consultant, or someone reliable who is familiar with Breastfeeding, is crucial. You want an outside opinion on if LOs is latching properly, getting a satisfying meal and gaining weight at a steady rate.
4) Increase Frequency Of Nursing Without the Shield
Once your latch has been approved, start increasing the amount of times you nurse without the NS. Do what is comfortable for you and your LO.
Good luck and be patient!
Which tip did you find most helpful or what are your reasons for trying to ditch your NS?