Can you use a nipple sheild for fast letdown? - Desperate FTM! — The Bump

Can you use a nipple sheild for fast letdown? - Desperate FTM!

My LO is almost 5 weeks old. I believe I have an overactive letdown and oversupply.

I was pumping after a few feedings daily from early on (I know, bad idea in retrospect).... I have cut it down and only pump once every 3-4 days after LO gets a bottle of pumped milk because I'm sooo frustrated and in tears that I give up and warm up a bottle.

I have been block feeding for 4-6 hours on each side, and tried every position recommended for overactive letdown but LO still screams, sputters, and chokes on milk after about 45 seconds of nursing. I've tried unlatching him and letting the milk flow into a towel until it stops on it's own but when he latches again, a single suck gets it spraying 3 ft across the room like a firehose again for the entire nursing session (even if I lay flat on my back). Sometimes I don't catch it in time and milk sprays all over his face which seems to upset him even more.

The only time that he nursing him is pleasant is if he is in deep sleep, and I latch him on when he is not fully awake... This way he suckles so gently, that there is hardly any letdown and then when the milk does flow he just swallows and isn't really sucking at all. We get to do this about 2 feedings during the day, and 2 at night.. but he's usually not sleeping deeply enough for me to use this method with every feeding.

Most nursing sessions follow a pattern of Suck, Choke/Scream, Spray into towel, and repeat about 20-30 times until we both give up and I just rock him in my arms to comfort him.

I never wait until he is crying to feed him, and usually offer the boob before he's even showing early hunger signs to avoid him sucking too aggressively but even if he's calm when we start he's screaming and crying within a minute of nursing.

I'm getting so discouraged, and have burst out crying several times while trying to nurse him... It sounds so bad like I'm causing him pain by feeding him... I burp him several times while feeding, so I know he gets gas from sputtering and choking on the milk... but he still won't stay latched after burping.

I'm really considering going to exclusive pumping because it's so much less stressful when he eats from a bottle.... but I do want to nurse him so badly! I miss the quiet bonding that we had in his first few weeks, but this past 2 weeks have been horrible!

For the past 2 weeks I tried all the tips on kellymom for overactive letdown and oversupply, and it hasn't seemed to help at all. 

I was thinking about nipple shields, and thought that it might control the spray of milk... I know that the risk is a drop in milk supply, but at this point I'm desperate.

Has anyone used a nipple shield for fast letdown? Even if not, do you think it would help our situation? I want to nurse him so badly, and am getting to the point where I want to cry just thinking about nursing him because he seems to hate it so much.

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Re: Can you use a nipple sheild for fast letdown? - Desperate FTM!

  • You should see an LC, first of all, because they would give better advice, but here's what I think:

    1) From what I understand, I wouldn't recommend you go on the shield. It's not good to introduce them unless you're having a problem with the baby latching. It sounds like your LO latches fine so I wouldn't consider it.

    2) Your overactive letdown will get better. I had it myself for a long time and like you say, it makes nursing miserable.  You need to keep the baby on your breast exclusively (i.e. no pumping) to tell your body exactly how much milk to make.  It's just a matter of time, and I understand that it's not very helpful to hear that, but it will get better.

     One thing that helped me through the roughest of nursing times (when we had overactive letdown, oversupply, and latching issues) was that my current problem was a temporary one and that I wanted our nursing relationship to be long term. We struggled through weeks (months) of pain and have had a great nursing relationship for a year now.

    I know it's tough mama. Hang in there! You're doing great. 


  • I had overacting let down. The lc said to pump before every single feeding just for two minutes or so. Well one its hard to sit there and pump with a screaming crying baby who wants to eat NOW. Not to mention she would sill fuss when she would try to eat from being upset already and from the letdown.
    I went and got a shield at 6 weeks and life was So much easier. We have not had any problems at all anymore. The stress I had from the letdown and her screaming just disappeared. She gained weight fine and we have had no problems. At almost 12 weeks we are still using it and we are both very very happy.
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  • 1. Find and LC first or go to a Le leche league meeting?

    2. If you use the shield be very careful. Cause if he gets used to it you will have supply issues. I had horrible issues with not being back to birth weight at 4wks.

    If you use it only to get the initial spray under control. 

    3. Have you tried to nurse on your side laying down? That might help cause then he can let it run out the side. Also this may sound weird put grasp your boob behind the nipple. Give him enough to latch onto and then aim the nipple down into his mouth so that the milk will almost shoot at his tongue instead of right back of his throat.  

    Your supply will regulate itself very quickly. Hang in there!  

  • Thanks for the advice ladies. I am going to a support group on Wednesday that is held at the local hospital by a LC.... Hopefully she will be able to help me!

    @aliciarose - Thank you! Reminding me that it will get better definitely gives me hope. You're right, I want our breastfeeding relationship to be long term so I can't give up now!.

    @lilahbean - Good to know that a shield helped with overactive letdown! I was looking at them in the store and saw how big the holes were and thought "how is this going to help me?".... Now I know that I can try a shield as a last resort!

    @laoch - Yes, I tried side-lying and aiming the nipple at all different parts of his mouth... none of these seemed to help. Thanks for your input and experience with the shield, it's good to keep all possibilities in mind!

    I decided to try putting the block feeding on extreme mode for now, and have been using only one side since this morning.  He's nursed 5 times without being asleep, and did pretty good every time!! A couple of sputtering and spitting bouts each session, but I had the towel ready and he didn't start screaming and crying!!!!!!! Twice he actually fell asleep on the breast after feeding, it warmed my heart and gave me hope!

    I'm thinking about doing 12 hr block feedings... Yes, I said 12 hours on one side... Other than possible clogged ducts/mastitis, does anyone see this being a problem? I will only do it for a few days until my supply eases up a little...

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  • Been there mama! I would just lay down in the bed with DS for every feeding. We were cosleeping, so it worked well anyways... plus I never got sleep deprived bc I would fall asleep half the time while feeding him! I had to use a towel quite frequently no matter where I was. Check on Milkies milk savers for when you are out and about though. It will slow down, it just takes a few months! Hang in there!
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