LET'S BE HONEST, nipple shields get a bad rep sometimes and many sites warn against them. They can be a great tool because they allow mother and baby to continue their breastfeeding journey where otherwise it would have ended. They clearly work because they’ve been around for decades though they have come a long way from the old metal and glass versions. Whatever reason a mother starts using a nipple shield, it’s usually meant for temporary use.
Nipple shields can be fiddly and messy and are an extra thing your sleep-deprived mom brain has to remember to take everywhere you go. They require cleaning and sanitizing regularly and are sometimes awkward to use when nursing in public.
Nipple shields can also be difficult to wean your baby off of as baby get’s used to the feeling and ease of using them to feed. But there’s hope (que inspirational music), millions of women have successfully weaned their baby off nipple shields through the years. BUT, it can be a slow and difficult process which is why we created the fastest way to wean baby off the nipple shield with just a few steps and the help of the Back to Mom nipple shield weaning kit.
- Be patient. This process can take time. Babies have good days and bad days just like us so it may feel like you take a step forward and then slide back a bit. That’s okay. Be patient throughout the process with your baby and yourself.
- Don’t push it too much. A calm baby will be more likely to accept something new and different whereas an agitated baby will likely refuse to try something. You don’t want baby to associate your nipple with being upset so it’s okay to just use the shield baby is used to and try again after baby is calm.
- Express/pump to help induce a quick letdown and express a few drips onto your nipple to help entice baby to latch and reward them immediately when they do.
- Use the bait and switch. If baby refuses your breast or the new shield from the Back to Mom kit, start feeding baby with the shield they are used to and after they’ve fed for a few minutes quickly take that shield off and put on and latch with the new one. The key is to be really quick.
- Skin to skin contact can help immensely. Try to get as much skin to skin contact in as you can before and during the weaning process so baby can get use to feeling, sensing and smelling your skin.
USING THE BACK TO MOM NIPPLE SHIELD WEANING KIT
- Using shield 1 and applying the tips above, introduce the new shield to baby. From there if baby accepts the new shield and comfortably feeds from it move to step 2 the next day and then step 3 the next eventually leading to no shield. You should also try introducing your bare breast throughout the process to see if baby accepts it and realizes it's the most comfortable way to feed.
- The Back to Mom shields with their open ends can reduce the sucking satisfaction for baby. If baby is frustrated and latches and immediately unlatches it’s a sign they are unhappy with how it feels because it’s not holding it’s nipple shape. This can be good. It leads to baby more quickly realizing that your bare breast is the most satisfying and best way to get your milk. Continue to use the Back To Mom shields at the beginning of each feeding and introducing your bare breast after if baby refuses to accept the shield. This is why it’s key to pump/express before you begin so as soon as baby latches and sucks a little on the bare breast they are instantly rewarded.
Be prepared. Sometimes you start using a nipple shield because of issues with your baby’s latch. These issues may still be present so when you wean the baby if you feel a lot of pain, continue to use the shield and until you consult an IBCLC to help find and correct the underlying issue.
There is no one-way-fits-all for weaning off nipple shields but the Back to Mom kit can be the best and quickest way to wean baby off the shield for many women.