As I’ve stated many times to anyone who will listen, nipple shields can be helpful if a baby is having trouble breastfeeding. In the wrong hands, however, they can be downright dangerous. Just today I saw 2 moms who were given nipple shields in the hospital within 48 hours of their babies’ birth. Their 2 stories had very different outcomes.
Story number 1: Three -week- old baby. Mom given nipple shield day 2 because baby was having a hard time latching. Baby was able to latch with the shield, but he nursed for 45 minutes to an hour each feeding and never seemed satisfied. Things seemed to go OK the first week, but at a routine check-up 2 weeks later, baby hadn’t gained any weight. The pediatrician told mom to start supplementing immediately and referred her to me. I saw her the next day. Continue reading
Nipples shields are molded silicone “nipples” that fit over a natural nipple. They look a bit like a sombrero, and the rim or base of the shield extends out about an inch to adhere to the breast. There are usually 4 holes in the nipple that mom’s milk can flow through. They are very thin and made in several sizes and styles. They are designed so that baby can latch on to the shield and get milk from mom.
So why on earth would anyone want to use a plastic nipple?
Nipples shields can be helpful when a baby is unable to form a strong vacuum at the natural breast. Sometimes, if baby’s tongue is not doing what it should, a nipple shield can enable a baby to breastfeed who otherwise would need to be bottle fed. Continue reading
“I’m pregnant with my second child and planning to breastfeed. I had an extremely challenging experience with my daughter and ended up exclusively pumping for about 5 months. My confidence level is pretty low, so I’m planning for lactation support soon after my baby is born. I was wondering if you offer prenatal consultations or if you would recommend I sign-up for a breastfeeding class.”
Yes! A prenatal consultation or private breastfeeding class would be perfect for you. You can address your specific challenges and fears in a safe, private setting.
Many lactation consultants are happy to meet with you prior to your baby’s birth to help prevent problems. It can be very helpful to establish a relationship with someone before a situation is urgent and you’re feeling stressed. These prenatal meetings are particularly helpful under the following circumstances. Continue reading
Help for sore nipples.
Breastfeeding should be enjoyable for you and your baby! If either one of you is not having a good time, something is not right. As a new mom, you have instincts to guide you. Your baby has instincts and very strong reflexes to guide him. But neither one of you has ever done this before and, most likely, you have never seen a baby breastfeeding. It’s likely you will need some help.
Contact a lactation consultant immediately if you experience any of the following: Continue reading
Breastfeeding is a normal, biological process for babies and moms. It is not a “condition” that requires medical training. Your doctor helps you with medical concerns. A lactation consultant will help you with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants may work in hospitals, clinics or may come to your home.
A lactation consultant is a skilled healthcare professional who specializes in the science of human lactation (breastfeeding), and in the assessment of breastfeeding women and their babies. Lactation consultants come from a variety of professional backgrounds. To ensure that a consultant has the minimum competencies recognized in the field, see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). “Breastfeeding specialists” or “lactation educators” have not met those minimum competencies. Continue reading