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When I tried breast feeding my first daughter nipple shields were pretty much regarding as evil and shouldn't be used however by the time I came to breast feed my second daughter and was having problems I found the attitude had changed. I ended up with a specialised breast feeding nurse coming to the house and she told me to get some of these as my nipples were so badly damaged there was no way I could continue without them.
My husband went straight out to Tesco and bought me a set of the Avent Nipple shields as they were the only ones on sale. To buy a set of these will cost you about £5 but if they work for you this is fantastic value.
The shields are made out of very thin flexible plastic and are see through so you can see that they are positioned correctly. The main part of the shield is a rectangular shape and then there is a protrusion in the centre where your nipple will sit.
To use the shield you must position the opening over your nipple and then holding it in place with a finger either side place the shield to the top lip of your babies mouth so that they open wide and take the correct part to feed and prevent more damage to nipples.
Before using the shields I put them in a glass of boiling water to make sure they were suitably sterilised for my baby.
These shields were really good and they did allow feeding to go on for an extra few days than it would have done but the damage to my nipples was just too severe to carry on and I did have to put Emily on formula which she enjoyed and I was pleased she had got the most important first few days.
I would suggest that if you have having trouble feeding and your nipples are getting damaged then buy a pack of these as it will give your nipple some relief so they can heal a little, unfortunately the damage had gone too far for me and even now nearly 2 years later my nipples are still damaged. I think these are a great invention and I wish I had known about them sooner.
During my first pregnancy I read all the info about breastfeeding, as I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I had read that using dummies, nipple shields etc would cause nipple confusion if used early on. I was determined to do everything correctly, so initially didn't want to use nipple shields.
My daughter took to breastfeeding really well, but she had a very strong sucking reflex. She also fed for long periods (like lots of tiny babies!) Within the first few days my nipples became cracked and sore, and feeding became very painful.
I decided to try nipple shields, as the pain was becoming unbearable. I spoke to the midwife, who quite sensibly told me that nipple shields were better than stopping feeding - so I gave it a go.
I sent my husband off to the chemist, and he came back with the Avent nipple shields in a size medium. I have no idea how the sizing works, medium was all they had in the shop!
It is quite a while since I used these, so I don't remember the ins and outs of sterilisation. However, the leaflet that comes with them provides that information.
I used the nipple shields for every other feed, so that baby would not get confused, but I was able to get some relief from the pain. In addition to the nipple shields I also changed feeding positions, and used Lansinoh Nipple cream.
The baby didn't have any problem with confusion, and after around a week I stopped using the nipple shields as my nipples had healed. Within two weeks my nipples had healed, and I went on to breastfeed for 10 moths.
These SAVED my life......
Nipple shields are the work of the devil I was constantly told before having my baby. Then, I was also told that breastfeeding would be painless and that didn't turn out to be quite the case.....
Having a big baby, in the period until my milk came in she was feeding constantly because the collostrum just wouldn't sustain here. Cue awful blisters and cracks that still haven't healed three weeks later. We also found that my daughter had a 'tongue tie' which means she struggles to latch on properly.
These were recommended at a breastfeeding clinic as the only nipple shields that should be used. The key things, apparently, are that they should be made out of very soft, thin, plastic and that the holes through which your milk passes should be large. Old style nipple protectors were very hard.... this meant that they gave the impression of a bottle teat. The small holes also meant a reduction of up to 50% in baby's feeding efficiency.
The long plastic bit should be placed parallel with your baby's lips leaving the 'cut out' bits above and below baby's mouth.... these are intended to increase the naturalness of feeding.
The main problem with these seems to be there availability. We got our initial one from the breastfeeding clinic, but given they need scolding in water after each use (though apparently not necessarily sterilising as nipples aren't sterile....) and they get dropped or hoiked off by baby this clearly wasn't enough. We had an absolute nightmare trying to get hold of more though.... these are not to be confused with the 'nipple shells' by avent which are widely available. They come in a clear plastic packet very much along the lines of those that teats come in, with a little piece of card (you want the 'standard' avent nipple shields).... eventually we resorted to Amazon where a pack of two are available for in the region of £5.
While feeding is not pain-free, I don't want to cry whenever she wakes up to feed (and no longer look like I'm about to lose a chunk of my nipple - bonus).
When my baby was born I had a very difficult time trying to get him latched on to the breast. He just didn't seem to be able to open his mouth wide enough to get latched on. Because my baby was unable to latch on correctly the hospital wouldn't let us go home. During the 4th night of our stay a nurse suggested that we try to feed using a nipple shield. Now, I had heard that nipple shields were bad and they should be avoided at all costs, but no-one could really explain to me why. Anyway I had a go and I couldn't believe it my little boy latched on and started to suckle straight away! The next day we were discharged from the hospital as I was able to feed him. At home the midwives all told me that I should try to stop using the nipple shields but I wasn't using them because I had sore nipples I was using them to encourage my baby to breastfeed. Somehow the nipple shields encourged my baby to open his mouth wider and therefore take a proper mouthful of nipple. I would try every now and again to feed without them and after 5 weeks of hard work and determination we were successful. I can honestly say if it wasn't for the nippleshields I would have given up trying to breastfeed in hospital and put my baby straight on to a bottle.
When my daughter was first born, she seemed to have no problems with breastfeeding, I was the one who had the problems. She would start off feeding properly and then would fall asleep and slightly off the breast so she would just be sucking on the nipple when she woke to carry on feeding. I didn't realise this was happening and before long my nipples were very cracked and sore. I carried on with the breast feeding as she was a good feeder but they were getting worse at every feed. As I was still in hospital after a caesarian (written up in different opinion) one of the midwives told me about nipple shields. Her very words were, 'use them for 48hrs at the most and your breasts should heal up enough to not have to use them again.' My mum found some in Sainsburys and as soon as they were sterilised I used them. Wow! What a difference. I was able to feed Kay and not have any pain at all. Also because milk builds up in the shield and your nipple is sat in a little puddle of milk then they heal up quicker as the milk is an excellent healing agent. Within a day my breasts had healed to a point where I could feed without the shields and Kay didn't seem to mind what was available (breast or shield) as long as the milk was on offer. I don't think I would have carried on breast feeding if I hadn't have used the nipple shields. As every womans body (and baby!) is different then the shields won't work wonders for everybody. I think the fact that I only needed to use them for a day helped as Kay didn't have time to get used to them before going back to breast. Good luck to any mums or mums to be.
Helps sore nipples. Soft, odourless silicone shields protect nipples and eliminate pain during breastfeeding.