Breastfeeding Mailbox Mondays

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 8/26/13 – Breastfeeding with a Shield


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Lynsey says:

Hi! Our new baby boy joined our family July 10th. It is very important to us to continue breastfeeding but it has been a struggle so far. Ds has a recessed chin and a bit of an overbite, which along with large nipples make latching correctly impossible until he gets bigger. Right now we are using a nipple shield for feedings, and we no longer have to supplement with pumped milk, but he is not gaining weight like he should. I wonder if he is getting too much fore milk and not enough hind milk. What experiences/advice do others have regarding the use of nipple shields, when I should start weaning him from it, and tips for making a successful transition. Thank you for your help!! 🙂

Hi Lynsey, congratulations on your new baby! First I’d of course recommend getting help from a lactation consultant, as well as your doctor, especially if you have concerns about his weight gain. As far as foremilk/hindmilk, I’d suggest allowing baby to nurse as much as he wants on one side, then offer the other as “dessert.” I’ve read studies about how the composition of milk changes over the course of a feed, and as long as you’re not interrupting him while he is nursing, there shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve not used nipple shields, but KellyMom has great information on them, including tips on weaning from a shield.

Have you used a shield? Any tips for Lynsey?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • August 26, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    I tried to use a shield since my son never had a good latch, but by the time I bought one my supply was half gone already and he got frustrated at the breast 🙁

  • Teca
    August 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I have four children and all of them nursed despite the fact that I have a spare tire and large nipples. My nearly one-year old is still nursing.
    My boys have five things in common. High palets, recessed chins (like their dad), an overbite, and a mama w/ large pendulous boobies AND large nipples. I used a shield for the first two weeks of my eldest son’s life. I hated using that thing! He nursed constantly, and had hour long nursing sessions.
    One thing that I learned from a lactation consultant was that holding my breast in a C-hold (hand holding the breast around the nipple, but not touching the areola) was not right for my bitty babies. She showed me how to use my thumb and index finger to pinch the nipple- my fingers were actually touching the areola – to make it easier for the baby to latch onto, and we had to feed in the football hold.
    For every single feed I offered the breast without the shield, and if he wouldn’t nurse then he’d feed with the shield. There is one other thing that was extremely helpful for us. A nurse instructed me to gently press baby’s tongue down. Baby needs to keep this ability, so they draw as much of the areola into their mouth and compress to get that warm milk!
    Keep at it! He’ll catch on sooner than you think!

  • Sarah
    August 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I had to use a shield with my first daughter for four months! She gained weight but it took longer. Mainly because she snacked – ate every 1.5 hours for the first three months of her life! The lactation consultant wanted me to wean her off of it as quickly as possible but the pediatrician was ok because she was gaining weight. Eventually, she was able to latch on without it and then I went back to work and started pumping. With baby #2, she needed the shield on one side but not the other for the first week and a half and then she was fine without it. She is gaining weight faster, but she also eats every 3 hours now at 3 months.

    If you are concerned, talk to your pediatrician and then a lactation consultant. If there is an imbalance in hind/foremilk, I think you can see it in the bowel movement color.

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