How to Wean from Products

How to Wean From Bottles, Nipple Shields, and the SNS

So, how does one transition from using products to being able to nurse without them?

    Start by remembering that infants have a very strong instinct to suck. The sucking instinct and their hunger are 2 strong desires that can be used to help wean from bottles and other products. 
    The more the baby uses products for feeding; bottles, nipple shields, SNS (supplemental nursing systems), or finger feeding with an SNS tube, the less interest he will have in natural nursing. The good news is that the fewer products he uses, the more interest he will have in natural nursing. Babies often develop a preference for artificial nipples if they are used in the first 6 weeks of life. Babies imprint with the feel of them and the faster milk flow.
SNS; Supplemental Nursing Systems
    We have seen many mothers who were sold these devices to help them transition from bottle to breast. Mom often complain that the baby is sucking on the tube and not the breast. We recommend the eyedropper method instead to transition from bottle to natural nursing. 
    This also means using the correct cradle or lap nursing hold and NOT using any of the HSH holds-NOT using the cross cradle, football, or log holds.

To wean from the bottle takes a bit of behavior modification;
            We recommend the Eyedropper Method
    To ensure that baby is getting enough to eat during the transition from bottle to breast, a clean plastic eyedropper or syringe can be used to squirt expressed milk into the side of baby’s mouth. Eyedroppers are available in pharmacies for about $2.00. This is something that should not be done for very long. This is a transitional process. It’s messy sometimes, but it is temporary.
    The eyedropper method works like this;
        -if baby is refusing the breast in the early weeks and mother has been pumping;
                -try the following for a period of 6 hours;
                -continue to pump but use the eyedropper to feed the expressed milk or formula
                -place eyedropper in side of baby’s mouth and squirt milk into mouth
                -gently remove eyedropper from mouth
                -keep giving milk until feeding is over
                -do not let baby comfort suck on the eyedropper
                -hence, baby will be fed but his desire to suck is not satisfied
                -hold baby close to breast between feedings, offer breast if interested, give lots of
                    skin to skin contact with mom
                -baby will be interested in the breast because he needs to suck
                -hold off pacifiers at this time
                -look for interest in the breast in the 6 hour period, progress not perfection!
                -if he is willing to nurse and mom has a good milk supply, congratulations!
                -if he is not willing to nurse, try another 6 hour period the next day and feed with 
                    previous feeding method (bottle, SNS, finger feeding) until then. The idea is NOT to
                    exhaust baby or parent during this time. It can be stressful on all concerned. Keep
                    offering the breast in the correct cradle hold (or lap nursing hold).
                -some babies can go ‘cold turkey’ to the breast with this method and eagerly accept 
                    the breast, others will need a more gradual transition that includes one or more
                    bottles each day in addition to the nursings at the breast that baby will do and the 
                    eyedropper feedings
                -because each situation is different with regards to weight of baby, willingness to
                    try the breast, etc., we also recommend that you count diapers and bowel 
                    movements during this time, watch for warning signs that he is not eating enough     
                    such as excessive crying or lethargy. If this happens, feed him more by whatever
                    method he will take!
                -parents need to watch the balance of teaching him how to nurse at the breast while
                    making sure that he is eating enough
                -another part of this process is that once baby is interested in nursing at the breast, 
                    mother can reduce the number of times that she pumps. If mother is pumping often
                    then it can interfere with baby having a fuller breast when he is ready to try. This is
                    another part of the process that must be watched; how quickly or slowly to stop

To recap; with the eyedropper method what happens is that the baby’s urge to suck is not satisfied with the eyedropper, as it is with the bottle. So, the baby is getting food but his urge to suck is not satisfied. After some feedings with the eyedropper, he will be more interested in nursing because nursing was created to satisfy that urge to suck. 
    Mother can watch baby’s clues to find times when he is more willing to try to nurse. Sometimes a baby will nurse in the middle of the night but not during the day if he’s awake and really hungry. Holding baby close, giving lots of skin to skin contact often encourages a baby to want to nurse. 
    Nursing only in the correct cradle hold, lap nursing hold or while lying down will allow baby to learn more quickly. Using any of the HSH holds will slow down the learning process and will often create problems. 
    Some babies transition away from products slowly, but we have seen it work many times! 
    Once baby does latch on with the cradle hold, let him nurse for up to 20 minutes per side so that he gets a good learning session in. Once mothers feel the correct cradle hold it is easier for them to recreate it again. 
    Switching sides after 15 -20 minutes is recommended. Nursing for longer than this (usually in a burst of enthusiasm for finally getting baby back to the breast) can cause sore nipples. If baby wants to keep nursing, keep switching sides every 15 minutes or so. And drink lots of pure water while nursing.
    Sometimes it will seem like the baby is suddenly nursing all the time when he transitions to the cradle hold. This is good news !!!!! What he is doing is building up the milk supply to fit his needs, so that supplements will no longer be needed. But getting the milk supply to the needed amount takes time, a few days, and then the marathon nursing sessions will usually subside to a less intense routine. 
    Babies will have growth spurt days where they nurse more to increase the milk supply for their increasing size. This is normal and won’t last forever. Your baby knows how to make more milk, increasing the length of nursings and the number of nursing sessions will increase your milk supply to his new needs. Following his clues will help.
    Sometimes baby will prefer one side over the other. This happens , babies need to learn that both sides will fill their tummy. Keep offering both sides, perhaps offering the preferred side first when he’s the hungriest and then the other side. Or try different times of day and night and the laying down position.
    Drinking lots of pure water while nursing helps the milk flow and keeps mother hydrated. Drinking every time mother nurses is recommended.

         How to wean from Nipple Shields;

                        CAUTION- Nipple Shields are NOT RECOMMENDED

    Here is another product that has been heavily promoted since the introduction 
of the cross cradle hold. Nipple shields are silicone or rubber pieces that fit over the mother’s nipple. Baby latches onto the nipple shield instead of mother’s nipple. 
    -Mother’s nipple is pulled into the shield as baby sucks. This can irritate mother’s nipple. 
    -Nipple shields need to be kept totally clean at all times. 
    -Nipple shields can interfere with mother’s milk production as mother may not be feeling enough of the baby’s sucking to receive sufficient stimulation to produce enough milk.
    -Nipple shields can be difficult to wean from. Don’t try cutting pieces off of the silicone shields because sharp edges may be left. Just keep trying to slip it off once baby gets latched on, keep offering to nurse at all different times of the day, in the tub, etc. It is so much easier to nurse without nipple shields!

    -This author asks; where is the long-term research proving that the chemicals (including silicone) and other materials used in nipple shields are safe for infants?

                                                Breastfeeding Positions
                               Problems from the Cross Cradle, Football, and Log Holds
                                            Product and Technique Cautions
                                                   Thoughts to Share
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