Does using breast shields affect milk supply?

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BeautifulGG
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Does using breast shields affect milk supply?

Post by BeautifulGG » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:59 pm

Hi!

I'm a proud new mummy of a DD who is 1 month old.
My question is about using breast shields and it's affects on milk supply.

I have had to use shields since my DD was born. As the midwife said to me "You're a good cow but the calf needs training!" My DD doesn't open her mouth wide enough and doesn't have a strong enough suck to draw my nipples out- so I've had to use shields - not that I have wanted to but they have helped.

My DD is thriving...gaining weight- 500gms last week and showing all the signs of a contented baby. However, when I try without the shields I still find she has problems with her mouth and sucking. It's hit and miss. I still persist now and then to try a train her.

I was reading somewhere that you shouldn't use shields for a long time as it can diminish your milk supply. I am very worried about this as I want to breastfeed for as long as possible. What if my DD always has to use shields to get a good feed? Are there any mums out there who have used shields long term with success with their milk supply?

I just want to do right by my little bub! :(

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Nedsmum
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Post by Nedsmum » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:11 am

The simple answer is that the shields used to be quite tough and rubbery and they were a problem, but these days it's not such an issue.

A friend of mine has twins, one fed with a nipple shield for over 12 months, the other one never needed one - she was very cross at the nurse who suggested using it because it was such a hassle when trying to breastfeed in public, but obviously she had plenty of milk to feed twins!

I think if you stop using the shields, your bubs will learn faster to get it right without them - on the other hand, if you want to continue to use them all the way, then it's possible to do that - bubs will adapt to whatever you do.

You might also want to try to get to see an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) - or a local ABA group counsellor - both would be able to take a look at the attachment and see if there's anything you can do to help her to latch better without the shield.

As for 'supply' - if bubs isn't getting enough then the best way to tell is with output (plenty of wet nappies)... and basically it makes sense that if the shield is getting in the way either bubs will feed for longer or more often, which is no big deal - some babies feed 1-2 hourly, some 2-3 hourly and some 3-4 hourly. Some go longer overnight, some do not - basically if you offer when you think they are hungry, and you put her to the breast at least 2-3 hourly, and at least 1-2 times overnight...

It's quite common for newborns that are being breastfed to put on big weight gains (500g is a big weight gain !) - and they might do that 3-4 weeks then the weight gains drop off a bit - 100-150g a week is still a very respectable gain, and if they are sick (mine would not feed so much in the week after immunisations) then they might not put on much that week, then more for 2-3 weeks after that - that's normal pattern of growth - not the same every week, but always at least a little growth...
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!

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geek anachronism
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Post by geek anachronism » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:01 am

I fed with a nipple shield for a few weeks and our first REAL feed without it was because I lost it in bed and didn't want to try find it! It was 3am, middle of winter and The Marital Unit was back at work. So we muddled through that feed and then skipped using it unless my nipples needed a break or The Child was just too uncoordinated to latch at that moment.

I found it affected my supply a little BUT that's because I've got a very very weak letdown reflex so it did interfere a little. Not enough to really cause an issue, just slightly longer feeds and slightly more of them! And given that she had 45minute long feeds until she was 5 months old, an hour long feed didn't make that much of a difference!
Married to The Marital Unit, birthed The Child 10 June 2009.

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foxforcefive
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Post by foxforcefive » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:20 am

Hi :smt039 !

I agree with Nedsmum - nipples shields from ye olden days could cause problems, but it is much less of an issue now with the newer, softer, more flexible ones.
My DD is thriving...gaining weight- 500gms last week and showing all the signs of a contented baby
:shock: :smt041 Great weight gain - well done both of you! Sounds like you are going great guns!

If you want some more reassurance, please call the Helpline (click on the link at top right of this page for details). A counsellor can give you some more detailed info about using nipple shields, plus some ideas about weaning your DD off them (if that is what you want to do). Also, we have resource counsellors with expertise and often personal experience in particular areas - I know there is one with nipple shield experience. :D

Oh, and I'm not sure why you have posted in this section - sounds to me like breastfeeding is working out for you guys (even if it is just a little bit differently than you planned :wink: !).

HTH
Wifey to 1 and mummy to 2
"If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you - I came to live out loud.” Emile Zola

bulltao
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Re: Does using breast shields affect milk supply?

Post by bulltao » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:24 pm

BeautifulGG wrote:Hi!

I'm a proud new mummy of a DD who is 1 month old.
My question is about using breast shields and it's affects on milk supply.

I have had to use shields since my DD was born. As the midwife said to me "You're a good cow but the calf needs training!" My DD doesn't open her mouth wide enough and doesn't have a strong enough suck to draw my nipples out- so I've had to use shields - not that I have wanted to but they have helped.

My DD is thriving...gaining weight- 500gms last week and showing all the signs of a contented baby. However, when I try without the shields I still find she has problems with her mouth and sucking. It's hit and miss. I still persist now and then to try a train her.

I was reading somewhere that you shouldn't use shields for a long time as it can diminish your milk supply. I am very worried about this as I want to breastfeed for as long as possible. What if my DD always has to use shields to get a good feed? Are there any mums out there who have used shields long term with success with their milk supply?

I just want to do right by my little bub! :(
Congratulation, i think it will not affect your milk supply! But the better way is let your DD suck by himself!

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