How to Wean Off Nipple Shield in Five Super Easy Steps
No matter from which generation you are from, one fact that unites all mothers is that breastfeeding remains to be one of the best ways to strengthen the bond between a mother and a child. However, it is also a fact that you could possibly face some breastfeeding problems due to incorrect latching.
With this, you could say that the presence of breastfeeding gadgets such as a nipple shield is truly an answered prayer. The problem is – mothers usually have the slightest clue as to when and how to stop using these breastfeeding implements.
It must be kept in mind that the use of these breastfeeding gadgets is designed to provide the interim and short-term solution. The step is inevitable and it involves learning how to start weaning off nipple shield without distressing yourself and your baby. Check the simple steps below:
Five Steps to Follow When Weaning Off a Nipple Shield
Step 01. Try to Offer Your Breast First to Awaken His Inclination to Latch
When you take the cue that your baby is hungry, opt to offer your bare breast first. Do this after you hand express just until you reach the let-down and have your baby latch on it. Doing so would reduce the frustration of your baby when he or she is unable to get the milk right away.
Offering your shield-free breast first will enable your baby to learn how to latch through repetition and the process of association. This would also let him or her smell, feel, and even taste the breast without the shield. By doing so, this will increase the chances of awakening the baby’s natural instinct to latch on.
You can help out your baby by shaping your baby and making it slightly flatter. Allow your baby to suck as much breast tissues as possible. If your baby starts to get stressed and refuse to latch, then you may switch to using the nipple shield again. However, you need to keep trying.
Step 02. Take Advantage of the Mini-Pauses and Get Rid of the Nipple Shield
You need to be quite a trickster in this step. Some babies make small pauses in the middle of the breastfeeding session. If you feel that your baby has been able to satisfy his or her initial hunger while the nipple shield is being used, then quickly slide it off the baby’s mouth and allow him or her to latch in the breast instead.
Some babies would immediately relatch without realizing that the nipple shield has been removed. Continue doing this ‘trick’ up until you start to reduce the feeding time with the shield on for each session. Note that your goal is to slowly reduce this time until your baby becomes more comfortable with your bare breast.
Step 03. Boost Your Skin to Skin Time with Your Baby
Never underestimate what a skin-to-skin session can do for both you and your baby. There has been researching findings that babies are born with natural breastfeeding reflexes which naturally get awaken during the skin-to-skin moments with moms.
As the body is naturally programmed to do so, take the time to do some skin-to-skin before, after, and during breastfeeding. You can strip your little baby down to his or her diaper and you can strip down with or without your nursing bra on, then place your baby in an upright position between your breasts.
You can wrap a blanket around both you and simply relax. Allow your baby to self-latch during the process. Do this often until he or she becomes more comfortable and be more acquainted with the idea of self-latching.
Step 04. Explore Different Nursing Positions
Do not just stick to one nursing position. Exploring different positions such as nursing in motion, standing, sitting down would help distract your baby and lull him or her into a better and more productive feeding position.
You may likewise use a rocking chair, a birthing ball or do the cradle or football hold. Checking other positions may provide your baby more comfort prompting him or her to latch more easily. See how your baby responds to the position to know how to you can better feed him or her.
Step 05. Seek Professional Help When Deemed Necessary
Being unable to achieve your goal can be particularly frustrating. However, know that you can always seek the advice of experts to help you with this approach if all methods have failed. For instance, you can get in touch with a lactation expert or an IBCLC ( International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant).
This would enable you to check the reason as to why you needed a nipple shield and how to resolve the issue. You can also check some breastfeeding helpline in your area. An example is the La Leche League in the US. Another option is to discuss this with your own doctor so he or she can better refer you to a specialist.
Many moms have also sought comfort and advice from lactation books. In fact, it is one of the first books you can invest in. Discussing with mothers who have had the same issue would be immensely helpful as well. If you are thinking of switching from breastfeeding to others, better consult these professionals first.
Here’s An Important Reminder
If your progress has been slow, remember that to get stressed over it. Your baby will take a time to adjust. Bear in mind that you are dealing with a feeding issue here and it is paramount that you become the extra patient in finding the solution. Remember also that if you are using nipple shields, make sure that they are sanitized frequently and are placed in clean cases.
There is no magic cure to breastfeeding problems, but with the amount of time and dedication you give in resolving them can make a whole lot of difference. And yes, when you start weaning your baby off, you can start thinking about bottle-feeding him or her. Have you had the same problem? Why not share your experience about it here too? Write them down and I would be more than pleased to get in touch and interact.