In another post I talked about how I gave birth to my baby and that he was born without the suction reflex; you can see the post here.
Because of that, I had to use breastfeeding nipple shields and I want to talk about my experience with it.
What are the nipple shields?
For all of you who don’t know, they are some silicon protectors for the nipple, usually, moms used it to reduce the pain while breastfeeding (a consequence of bad latching, you can read about the importance of a perfect latch and how to achieve it here).
They are also very useful when the mother has flat or inverted nipples, in those cases can be a real life saver!.
Why do I use nipple shields? My personal experience.
As I mentioned before my baby was born without the suction reflex, doctors said that maybe my due date was incorrect and he wasn’t 39 weeks as we thought he was.
We consulted with a speech therapist who checked him, if he didn’t have problems in the jaw or tongue, luckily not.
With some exercises, he began to suck but he still rejected my breast. I tried a lot but I did not succeed, that’s when they told me about the nipple shields.
I bought the ones I found at the hospital pharmacy, it was from the Bushi brand, they worked well and my baby began to breastfeed, I was so happy.
After a few days of using it, they start to peel while I was breastfeeding and interference with it, I tried to put it back on but sometimes it was really stressful because my baby was hungry and he just knew to breastfeed with the nipple shields, he never learned to breastfeed without it 😪 he started to cry, I tried to put my nipple into his mouth but he rejected it all the times.
I didn’t want to give up to my breastfeeding so I thought of buying another one.
That’s when I tried the “Chicco” brand, they were absolutely better, they felt more comfortable and didn’t peel too much as the other one.
I was happy and sad, sad because my baby could not breastfeed without it, but happy because I was able to give him my milk.
I thought that, with time, he was going to learn how to breastfeed without it but, unfortunately, it wasn’t like that.
I couldn’t continue nursing my baby but not just because of the nipple shields, it was a pediatrician fault, I didn’t know that he was outdated and didn’t care about breastfeeding at all.
In one of the consults, he told me that I should give my baby formula after I breastfeed him because he wasn’t gaining any weight. He does not even ask if there was a problem, he didn’t inform me of the latching or how to fix the problem.
I started to do that and I was decreasing my milk supply without knowing it 🙁
My baby wanted less and less my breast, he just wanted the bottle and the formula.
After a month and a half of mixing formula and breastfeeding, I was completely rejected by my baby.
I always wonder what if I found another pediatrician a well-informed one, maybe I will still be breastfeeding my baby, who knows ????.
Are they recommended or not?
Yes and No, if they are using properly can be really useful but should not be a “solution” what I mean with that? You should find the source of the problem and correct it.
If there’s a lot of pain or cracked nipples you should check for latching position and correct it.
If it’s a problem with inverted or flat nipples, and the baby can breastfeed without any problem they can be used but, you should know that some tips exist, that can help you with that, like specific massages or feeding positions to correct that (we’ll be covering that in another post).
When the problem is solved you should remove the nipple shields and breastfeed without it, they can be comfortable but also can reduce the milk supply because of the suction. It’s not the same as if the baby breastfeed normally.
What kind of nipple shields you can find?
There are a bunch of brands over there I personally tried 2 “bushi” and “Chicco”, the second one worked better for me. It was more comfortable and they last longer without peeling.
They come in two sizes, small and large, it depends on the size of your breast and your nipple to choose one.
When it comes to nipple shields, it is best to be thin and adapt to the shape of the breast, so they don’t interfere too much between the baby and the mom.
If they have a very different shape there’s a risk that the baby gets used to its shape and not want to breastfeed directly from the breast once the nipple shields are no longer necessary, can generate breast rejection.
I know some friends that tried the ” Medela” one and recommended too.
You should try different brands and see which one works for you.
How do we use nipple shields?
They’re pretty easy to use. First of all, you should wash and sterilize them in boiled water, remember to do the same after every use.
Wait for them to get cold because they are going to be in contact with baby’s mouth, to prevent any kind of accident; one you checked that up, you should fold up, place the tip by the nipple and fold down. It’s tricky at first but then gets easier.
Use them wisely and remember they should only be a temporary solution.
I hope you’ll find this post helpful and remember if you have any doubt please write it in the comments and I’ll be more than happy to help you.
And don’t forget to share with someone that needs to read this.