My Experience with a Contact Nipple Shield

There is a lot of mixed opinions about the use of nipple shields. Some are against them, some say the negatively effect your supply, and some say they are a life saver. I am in the life saver camp. 

What is a nipple shield? A nipple shield is a soft flexible silicone nipple that is worn over the mother’s nipple while nursing the baby. 

When Bunny was born she immediately nursed. When we were in the hospital, the Lactation Consultant said Bunny’s latch was good and she was doing well. We were discharged from the hospital and went to the well baby check the next day. Bunny was loosing weight. Too much weight. The Lactation Consultant decided to investigate Bunny’s latch and mouth to see what was going on. When Bunny was 3 days old we discovered she had a tongue tie. We were able to clip her tongue tie that day, but the ENT didn’t clip it as far as we would have liked. Because of that, Bunny and I started using a nipple shield. Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. With tongue-tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. A person who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue. Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows, as well as interfere with breast-feeding.

The nipple shield was supposed to be a short term solution. We saw a Lactation Consultant every few days. Bunny wasn’t able to latch without the nipple shield. The Lactation Consultant said Bunny had a small pallet (mouth) and still had a minor tongue tie. Because of these two issues, Bunny still needed the nipple shield to sustain her latch. Bunny was able to latch without the nipple shield, but because of her high pallet and her tongue tie, it was too much work and she could only nurse for a few seconds. The nipple shield allowed Bunny to continue nursing. 

When Bunny was 10 months old and still not able to nurse without the nipple shield, I saw another Lactation Consultant and asker her if she thought Bunny had a lip tie. This Lactation Consultant agreed with me that Bunny did in fact have a lip tie. Inside your mouth, there is a small fold of tissue which runs between your upper lip and gum (you can feel it with your tongue). This is called the maxillary labial frenulum (or frenum). Most people have no significant frenulum attachment, but sometimes this frenulum attaches further down the gum, or runs between the front teeth and attaches behind them, causing restricted movement of the upper lip. It’s similar to tongue tie, but involving the upper lip and gum instead. Often times the lip tie will effect the positioning of the upper teeth, causing a gap. 

Tongue ties often occur in conjunction with lip ties. I was very sad and disappointed that the first Lactation Consultant missed the lip tie when Bunny was 3 days old. Because Bunny was 10 months old when the lip tie was noticed, the procedure to correct her lip tie would involve her being put under anesthesia. Neither I nor My Love were comfortable with Bunny having the procedure done. We decided to wait until Bunny was older to have her lip tie corrected. The procedure would still be unpleasant, but at least she would be old enough to somewhat understand what was happening and why. Luckily, when Bunny was 14 months old, she fell and split her lip tie by herself. I wish the first Lactation Consultant caught the lip tie when she saw the tongue tie. 

When using the nipple shield correctly, there should be no supply issue. There are those who are concerned about your supply dropping if you use a nipple shield. The contact nipple shield allows the baby to touch the breast, which helps your milk supply to increase in the early days and weeks, and helps your milk supply to be maintained in the later months. 

In my experience, using the nipple shield did not decrease my milk supply. I would make sure the nipple shield was on correctly, that there was good milk transfer (I could see milk inside the nipple shield), and that my breasts were soft after Bunny nursed. You do need to make sure your baby’s latch is correct when using a nipple shield. It is a tool to help, not a replacement for good positioning and latch. 

Bad Latch
Good Latch

Using the nipple shield was very frustrating for me in the beginning. I was frustrated that I could not nurse without it. I was frustrated when it fell off. I was frustrated that I had to use the nipple shield to nurse Bunny. I was frustrated that I had to take the nipple shield with me everywhere I went. 

I was frustrated that I wasn’t actually nursing my baby. That I needed this piece of plastic to do something that was supposed to be so natural. It took me a long time to get over this feeling. I hated nursing Bunny in public because I was afraid someone would see the nipple shield. I was afraid I would be looked down upon. Eventually I stopped caring what other people thought. I was nursing my baby. I was fighting every single day to make the best choice I could for Bunny. I hated the nipple shield, but at the same time I loved it. I loved that the nipple shield was able to allow Bunny and I to nurse. To this day, we still use the nipple shield. 

Bunny is now 18 months old. We still use the nipple shield. Bunny is able to nurse without it and sometimes does. I think it is more of a comfort object for her now. Using the nipple shield is normal to Bunny, she doesn’t need it but I am glad it was (and is) there when we needed (need) it. 

I did end up buying 2 nipple shields so I could always have a clean one. I would use one, clean it and let it dry, and while it was drying I would use the second one. This was also helpful for the middle of the night when I would loose the nipple shield in the dark. 

If you are using a nipple shield, please know that it can be a long term solution. If there are circumstances where using a nipple shield makes your nursing relationship better, or even possible, embrace the nipple shield! Be thankful we have this wonderful technology. It took me a long time to do that, but once I did, I was much happier. 

The nipple shield we used was the Medela contact nipple shield. You can find this nipple shield at Target, Buy Buy Baby, and most hospitals. 

I post about more than nursing I promise!!

I know I have been posting about breastfeeding/nursing products a lot recently. That is because, for the first year of Bunny’s life, MY life has revolved around breastfeeding. Bunny is now 16 months old and we have not weaned yet. But I am finally feeling like breastfeeding doesn’t rule my world and schedule. (Not that I minded when it did rule my world and schedule. I did not mind one bit!) Bunny is only nursing to fall asleep now. Which means I can FINALLY wear any shirt I want to! I don’t have to wear a nursing shirt anymore! My wardrobe is (almost) back to normal! It is crazy to think I can wear just about any shirt in my closet now! I don’t have to worry about exposing my stomach or too much breast.  The world is my oyster! Or my closet is. It feels so nice to be able to wear all of my clothes again! 

Don’t worry, I DO post about more than just breastfeeding! I have some really exciting product reviews coming up!!! I can’t wait to share them with you!!! 

Milkies Milk Saver Review And Giveaway

When I was pregnant with Bunny I saw Milkies Milk Saver in the store. I thought it looked weird and uncomfortable and I did not think it really had a valuable purpose. Because, really, nobody could possibly leak THAT much! Oh what little I knew!

Once Bunny was born and we started nursing, one side per feeding, I realized how wrong I had been! I ordered Milkies Milk Saver immediately! They couldn’t get to me fast enough! When my Milkies Milk Saver arrived, I still thought it looked big and uncomfortable. I was pleasantly surprised when I used it! Milkies Milk Saver is VERY comfortable! I thought for sure having something pushing on my engorged breast would feel very uncomfortable, but Milkies Milk Saver does not push on your breast. It sits gently in your bra, against your breast. If you wear a tighter bra, it will definitely push more against your breast, but in the very beginning, I was only wearing sleep bras.

I used Milkies Milk Saver when I would nurse Bunny, and when I would pump. In the very beginning I had a single pump that only pumped one side at a time. If I did not use the Milkies Milk Saver, I would soak through my nursing pads. I could collect about an ounce or so of milk from the side that was not being used! If you have supply issues or are having a hard time keeping up with your baby’s intake, an ounce is a massive amount to waste in your nursing pad!

Using Milkies Milk Saver is very easy. You simply set Milkies Milk Saver in your bra with your nipple in the hole and nurse or pump on the other side! Milkies Milk Saver can comfortably hold 2 ounces of breast milk before you need to empty it. It is easy to switch from one side to the other side without spilling any milk. The only time I ever spilled any milk is when I forgot I had the Milkies Milk Saver on (it is that comfortable!) and I bent over. Out spilled all the milk! Oops! I have heard some women say they wear it all day long when they are out and about, but due to the spilling issue, I do not see that working very well.

2 ounces of milk
2 ounces of milk

Milkies Milk Saver is very easy to clean. You can hand wash it with warm water and soap. It air dries fairly quickly, or you can use a towel to dry it off.

Milkies comes in a protective case that is great for storing your Milkies in when not in use. The case is a hard material to keep Milkies protected. The case also doubles as a stand. You can set Milkies in the case upright with milk inside. This is very helpful when you have a squirmy baby in your arms, when you need to put yourself back together after nursing, or when you need to grab a container to pour the milk into. 

Milkies in the case


Milkies in the case

I absolutely LOVE this product! I used it multiple times a day for about a year. I am finally at the point where I do not leak every time I nurse. For those early days when I was leaking up a storm, this was a wonderful way to collect breast milk, and keep me from making a mess. 

Milkies can sit in the case while you rearrange yourself, without spilling!

Want to win your very own Milkies Milk Saver?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be announced on May 26, 2014 on All About Baby’s World’s Facebook Page.

Can’t wait to win? You can purchase Milkies Milk Saver here.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any free product to test. I simple love this product and want to share it with all the nursing Moms out there!