13 answers

Using the Shield While Breast Feeding?

Hello ladies again! I swear you guys are the best and I have another question:

I had a posting prior about breast feeding. I have been pumping exclusively since my little one Ryan was born 2 1/2 months ago. He wouldn't latch on with the help of a few lactation consultants. I gave up and decided to pump since I’d be returning to work after 6 weeks. He has been doing great and getting big. Last week I decided to try again just to give it one last try. He latched on like a pro, and has been breast feeding from me while I’m home. I do use the shield they gave me when I went to a breast feeding class at Kaiser. He loves it, its great to bond with him.

My question is-

When do I stop using the shield and how? When I try to remove it-
1. He hurts my nipple
2. He stops, he gets frustrated he cannot latch on and cries.

Is there a draw back from using the shield all the time? Any ideas? It doesn't hurt as of now (with the shield) but will it start to hurt soon? I use to cream and still pump while im at work. Any ideas would be great, thank you.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

if the shield is what works for you then keep using it. I have known several women who only breastfed with a shield.

More Answers

Hi D. - I actually used the shield for the entire time I breastfed - 7 1/2 months. We had issues with latch on and though I had brief periods where my son would latch without the shield, it never seemed to last long. I was so disappointed because I really wanted to breast feed, so I decided that using the shield was better than not doing it at all. It worked great for me and I never had any of the discomforts associated with breast feeding. I don't know of any adverse effects from using the shield. Good luck!

Congratulations on getting breastmilk to your baby however possible! If your baby's latch is too shallow or there is some underlying problem, you will have pain without the shield. But maybe you had thrush before or something and the pain will be gone now if the thrush is too (?) I'm so sorry that none of your visits to lactation consultants helped. Do you live in the SFBay area? I had good luck with Joanna Koch in Los Altos.

I think the only disadvantage to the nipple shield is that it often is used to cover up some other nursing trouble and you wind up dependent on it and being prop-free is a great advantage to breast feeding. However, if it keeps you pain free and your little guy likes it, then do it. It's still simpler than pumping/bottles!

Hope you get some handy responses.

Hi. I used a nipple shield with my daughter pretty much from the beginning since she wasn't learning how to latch on correctly. I am not positive but my Mom is convinced that the shield was what gave me the 3 breast infections that I got in the first month of breastfeeding. I ended up having to pump & feed & lasted 5 months only because I was so determined to feed her breastmilk....BUT the reason I mention this is just to put out there that that might have been the downfall for me without really knowing if it was from that or not. I got 2 plugged milk ducts & 1 case of masteitas....forget how to spell it....anyhow just make sure you are cleaning however they reccomend, every single time you feed. I think I washed with soap & water each time but maybe even use a clean one when you switch breasts half way thru....infections are no fun & it was horrible for me to have to go thru 3 of them that first month. Good luck & happy breastfeeding.

I, too, used the shield and it was a lifesaver. I was in so much pain from my daughter's latch (we had issues) and was in tears every time I nursed. After almost 8 weeks of pain a friend recommended the shield and everything was SO much better. After a few months she wouldn't nurse without the shield so I started to worry that she wouldn't nurse without it. I think around 4 months (like that other post) I started nursing her with the shield, then would remove the shield about halfway through. I had some pain but nothing like in the beginning. It really was so much better, but I waited until about 4 months when she really had the hang of nursing. I know they all say to keep everything prop free, but my life was so much better with the prop :) It is obviously easier NOT to use the props in terms of what you have to pack, etc, but it was so worth hanging on to that little shield in order to save me from tears and that awful pain!

By the way, you are a rockstar for pumping for so long. That is SO hard and painful and I'm so impressed you kept with it! Your son is lucky to have such a devoted mama!

I used a shield with my preemie until she learned to latch, about 9 weeks total. As she got stronger, I would nurse starting with the shield, and then after 5 mins, try to nurse her without it. For many days, she was NOT having any of it. It was shield or nothing. Slowly, she got more accustomed to nursing without the shield, and one day she just got the hang of it. It was like a light bulb went off and she's been nursing great ever since (she's 6 months now).

It felt like forever when we were going through it, and I was resigned to just using the shield if I had to. Just keep trying at every nursing to get you son to latch without the shield. If he fusses, but it back on and try again at the next feeding.

Good luck and good job making it this far!

I used the shield for the entire first four months of nursing. In real world time, it seems like nothing. In shield time, it seemed like FOREVER. My daughter turned 4 months old and suddenly the shield and the pacifier became toys for her. It worked great for us, she was able to latch on because she was experienced enough to figure it out. Give it some time, and the situation will take care of itself. She's 17 months now, and still latching like a pro. You'd never think she had a hard time before.


I too used the shield the entire time I breast fed. I have an inverted nipple, so it worked best on that side. It helped her latch.
Good luck.

I have to disagree with most lactation consultants on this one. I think nipple shields are God's gift to women with lactch problems. My son would not latch on when he was born for well over 24 hours. I was in a panic, in tears, and my shoulder and right arm were killing me from holding him to my breast for hours without success. He just could not figure out how to latch on to my flat nipple. Finally one nurse had the bright idea to give me a nipple shield and like magic he was nursing. The midwife and lactation consultant gave me a really hard time about it saying it would interfere with a "natural" nursing relationship but I kept using it anyway because it was working! I had to use it for two months but without it I'm sure I would have given up nursing. It was just too frustrating an experience. I tried everyday to nurse without it and then one day he just didn't need it anymore. And he went on to nurse for 2 and 1/2 years! So if it's working for you I'd say stick with it and try at least once every day to nurse without it. It may not take very long at all before he doesn't need it anymore. Good luck and take care!

if the shield is what works for you then keep using it. I have known several women who only breastfed with a shield.

Although, I don't have any experience with the nipple shield. This can often help a baby to latch.
Make a nice warm bath (not hot) and get in the tub with your little one. Let him float around a bit (holding him of course). It helps the baby feel like he's back in the womb--then slowly bring him to your breast.
The womb like environment will often help the baby latch naturally.
Hope it helps. :)

i say if it works for u use it!! i had a friend who used it for 8+ months. I only used it on and off during the first few weeks until my niples got used to it. but my friend had no issues using it all the time.

I also use the shield now with my daughter who is 4 months old. I used it with my son who is my oldest. I continued to use the shield until maybe about 6 months or so if I remember correctly. I was told that every so often try to see if he would latch on without the shield. So every once in awhile I would try to see if he would do it without it. I just let him give it up naturally when he was ready. This was to cut down on his frustration and just so that he would eat. I also went back to work with both of them and maybe that's why it took awhile. Not sure why, but the best thing I can tell you is to just try it without it every so often and let the baby do it naturally.

I was given one by a lactation consultant cause my daughter could latch onto one side but not the other. I was told then that I could try to get her to nurse without it, but if she didn't not to worry about it. I was lucky and after about a month and a half I was able to get her off of the nipple shield. So I say not to worry about it. As long as your son is feeding I wouldn't worry about it.

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