Weaning Baby off of Nipple Shield

Updated on December 14, 2010
K.L. asks from Irving, TX
8 answers

I have had to use the aid of a nipple shield to breastfeed my very premature baby. How do I wean him off of it? Is it okay if he is forever dependent on the nipple shield?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

I'd keep trying, I did but unfortunately he wouldn't go for it but I continued. i would do it for a few minutes and take it off and he would flare back mad. I eventually decided if it was easier for him he could have it. My son was 13 weeks early and they gave him a bottle in the Nicu before him latching to me so I believe that might have had something to do with it but who knows.Good Luck...and its okay if you have to keep using the shield you both still get what you need. food and that wonderful bond with holding him to you.



answers from Indianapolis on

Ideally, nipple shields are supposed to be used temporarily, but in some cases (like mine), a baby may need to use it for the entire course of breastfeeding. I nursed my first son for the full year using a shield, and am on the same track with my second son who is 8 months old. I used the Medela contact nipple shield and it did not affect my milk supply at all.

If you end up needing to use the shield long-term, I would suggest getting a Shield Shell to store it between feedings! It's a great hard-shell case that protects it from getting lost or dirty, plus it fits right in the diaper bag for when you are out of the house. Much easier to find than a clear silicone shield! They're available at www.shieldshell.com



answers from Houston on

I used a nipple shield with my daughter as well and she is 9 months old and still using it. I tried to wean her from it once my milk was in good and she just never really got the hang of nursing without it, so it doesn't hurt anything to continue to use it (I called a lactation specialist to make sure). Honestly, it's kind of a pain so I had hoped I would be able to wean her, but since she never could latch on well without it, it's just how she nurses now and it hasn't been an issue. I would recommend trying to wean, but if your son needs it, then go for it and don't worry!

Good Luck!



answers from Dallas on

My baby wasn't premature, but I was able to get her off the nipple shield at about 4-6 weeks. I would start by nursing with it since she was really hungry, then 1-2 minutes in I would take it off and let her try. The first few tries she screamed until I put it back on, but eventually she was able to draw out the nipple as her mouth got a little larger (I am large breasted). Just keep trying, at least once a day. If they get it working without the shield, you will realize how quickly the transition can go! GOOD LUCK! Don't get discouraged!



answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,

I too, had to use a nipple shield with my first baby. I finally had enough of it after 2 weeks--what a headache it was to not be able to just sit down and breastfeed! So, what I would do was let her latch on and after about 2 minutes or so, I'd release her, slip the shield off, and put her right back on the breast. That seemed to work really well. Within a week or so I/she didn't need the shield anymore. I hope this info helps out. Good luck!




answers from Dallas on

K., If your baby is latching on well and no other problems the sooner the better because as they get older they get very attached to one way of doing things. To answer your question about is it okay, the answer is I know many women who use them all the way past a year and with multiple children with no ill effects. The next question is you can try allowing the baby to start with the shield and remove it after the first 5 minutes or so. It may take a few days of this every feeding but if you are persistant the baby should begin to reattach to the breast and do fine. Some babies won't take a bottle if not introduced before 8 weeks, others want only one pacifier, no other will do. They become attached to the taste, smell and texture of the breast, bottle etc and can be difficult to convince to change. Persistance pays off in the end, for some babies it only takes once or twice for others it takes as long as a week. Keep at it and if your nipples are well everted and there are no other considerations it should work. Please let us know how it all worked out.
K. W, RN, IBCLC The Nesting Place



answers from Dallas on

Yes, what Kay said. :)

As far as personal experience, my DD decided the shield was too much trouble once she realized it wasn't part of me. She used it for about a month, then didn't miss it. There were a couple of times when my nipples were tender that I tried to use them again, but she would have NONE OF THAT!

It may be a breeze, but be prepared for his reluctance.

Best wishes!!!



answers from Dallas on

I needed these and I got the advice of a great lactation consultant on this and other issues. She said just wait until the baby is ready, but don't push. When I thought my son was ready, I'd occassionally try to start him on the breast without it (making sure I had the nipple shield handy in case!). If he had trouble, I'd slip on the shield and he was fine. I tried this several times (over several months) before he truly got the hang of it. The lactation consultant said some kids need the nipple shields for a long time and that it's really OK. My son was 8 months when he finally stopped needing it. I know they're a pain for mom...but it's worth it to keep your baby breastfeeding. :-)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches