If you’re caught in the midst of the nipple shield weaning battle you may be tempted to just snip the end off (we’ve been there). You may have even heard cutting a nipple shield is a good way to wean. Let's clear that up....IT’S NOT!
We’re going to talk about why cutting a nipple shield is not a good idea and a better and safe way to wean off nipple shields.
First let’s discuss why you would want to wean off nipple shields.
Using a nipple shield long term can be done and is needed in some situations but, there are many reasons you’d want to wean off nipple shields.
- Direct mouth to skin contact – Did you know during breastfeeding your body “samples” your baby’s saliva and then creates milk based on any viruses, bacteria etc. that are present in it. Nipple shields can create difficulty with this natural process. Latching and feeding on bare breast is always better.
- Milk supply – If you’re using your nipple shield correctly it shouldn’t effect your milk supply too much, but it’s definitely something to consider. The barrier of the nipple shield can cause your nerves not to trigger when your baby feeds telling your body to produce more milk for the next feed which over time can cause your supply to dip. Many moms who use nipple shields worry about their supply dropping.
- Time feeding – Many babies feed more slowly from a nipple shield than the bare breast. That extra layer can slow the process down a bit causing your feeding sessions to last much longer than without it. If you don't allow enough time to feed then your breast isn't fully emptied (leading to a drop in milk supply.)
- They’re annoying! – Let’s face it. They can be VERY annoying. When you already have a wiggly baby, trying to keep the shield still can be frustrating. They also make it a lot more difficult to feed discreetly in public. Plus it's just one more thing you have to keep clean.
- One more thing to stress about – Us moms have enough to stress about! We have enough things to remember every time we leave the house with a baby. While our nipple shield case is cute and convenient, it's still one more thing to remember. Plus, there's the time it’s 4 am and you can’t find your shield and your baby is screaming - that’s a lot of stress that you just don’t need.
Now, on to why cutting your nipple shield is a bad idea:
- Sharp edges can hurt your baby: When you cut silicone, it creates “sharp edges”. Think about how when your baby feeds, their little tongue rubs across the shield hundreds of times. And your baby is breastfeeding many times a day. Those sharp edges can cause irritation and blisters to form on baby’s mouth or tongue.
- Ragged edges: There’s not a clean way to cut a nipple shield. It leaves some ragged edges. Some of those ragged edges are at risk of being swallowed by your baby. The ragged edges can also cause irritation to your nipple rubbing on it as well.
If you can’t cut it then what’s the best way to wean off nipple shields?
There are many ways to wean off nipple shields and a lot of advice out there but the fastest way to wean your baby off shields is the Back to Mom Nipple Shield Weaning Kit. We used the basis of cutting your nipple shield and created a shield with no tip. The edges are smooth and rounded and will not irritate your baby’s mouth or your nipple. The patent pending kit includes 3 sizes going from a tall profile to short so you can step your baby easily back to your natural nipple. Or for even more success you can use our Ultimate Nipple Shield Weaning Kit which includes our Nip Assist Latch Helpers and our Nip Fix Healing Serum.
How does it work?
There are a few ways the Back to Mom kit works. Because babies and moms are all so different there’s no “one size fits all” instructions for the kit. That’s why the kit comes with 3 stepped shields so moms can test what works for them.
Here are a few examples of how moms have been successful with the Nipple Shield Weaning Kit:
- The tallest shield reduces your baby’s desire to use a shield. It collapses when baby goes to suck on it. This makes your natural nipple more appealing. Many moms find they are able to go straight from the Step 1 shield to bare breast because their baby quickly learns that the bare nipple is the most comfortable and efficient way to get milk.
- Many moms step through the shields. They start at Step 1 and once baby accepts it for a feed or two, they then move to Step 2. The Step 2 shield allows baby to pull your nipple through the shield and get used to the feeling of skin while still giving the structure the silicone provides. Then the Step 3 shield gives full access to the nipple with a small amount of coverage leading to baby not needing it at all.
- Some moms skip the Step 1 shield and go straight to Step 2. They find that maybe Step 1 is uncomfortable and pinches or baby isn’t interested in it but baby is accepting of the Step 2 Shield.
For more info on using the Nipple Shield Weaning Kit click here.
Once you're done weaning off shields, hold onto your Back to Mom weaning kit because the Step 2 and Step 3 shields also act as our Natural Connection and Breastfeeding Bite Guard. If you experience any pain when your baby starts getting teeth, they are perfect to act as a barrier between your skin and baby's teeth. The lower two shields from the Back to Mom kit give coverage against baby’s teeth while allowing them to access the nipple.