For whatever reason you began using a nipple shield, one of the most asked questions is how do I get my baby off the nipple shields?
Most the time the answer is, as soon as possible. The longer you use nipple shields with your baby, the harder it is and longer it takes to wean them off. Of course, it depends on why you started using a nipple shield in the first place.
There are however a few reasons to hold off on weaning your baby off the nipple shied:
- If your baby is a preemie and is still to small to latch properly without the shield then continuing to use the shield is necessary.
- The same goes if your baby has a tongue tie or some other condition causing them to have a poor latch. It’s best to work with a lactation specialist and your pediatrician to resolve that issue before subjecting your nipples to improper latch which can cause long term damage.
- Another exception would be if you have inverted nipples. Nipple shields allow mom’s with inverted nipples to provide something for the baby to latch to. A bonus is that usually over time the act of the baby pulling your nipple into the shield will help correct them and elongate them. It’s important to make sure your nipples have elongated enough so baby has a proper nipple to latch on to.
If none of the above exceptions apply for you then you can begin weaning your baby off the nipple shield as soon as possible. Here are some tips that will help you prepare to get started with the weaning process:
- Don’t plan to start weaning if there is going to be something that disrupts your usual schedule i.e going on vacation or visiting family etc.
- Spend a few days doing skin to skin leading up to starting the weaning process.
- Mentally prepare yourself as the process of weaning can be frustrating and lengthy but remember not to be hard on yourself about it.
- Follow the Back to Mom method as it’s the best and fastest way to wean baby off nipple shields and use the Back to Mom kit.