Cutting Bottles, Binky’s and Nipple Shields Is Not The Right Way To Wean.
Written by Lindsey Parry from Back To Mom
If you’re caught in the midst of the weaning battle (whether it’s off of pacifiers, bottles or nipple shields) you may be tempted to just snip the end off (believe me, I’ve been there). You may have even heard it’s a good way to wean. Let’s be clear… IT’S NOT!
Here’s a few reasons why cutting silicone is not a good idea:
- Sharp edges can hurt your baby: When you cut silicone, it creates “sharp edges”. When your baby feeds or sucks on their pacifier, their little tongue rubs across that silicone hundreds of times. And your baby is feeding or using a pacifier many times a day. Those sharp edges can cause irritation and blisters to form on baby’s mouth or tongue.
- Ragged edges: There’s not a clean way to cut a nipple shield. It leaves some ragged edges. Some of those ragged edges can even detach as your baby sucks and are at risk of being swallowed by your baby. The ragged edges can also cause irritation to your nipple rubbing on it as well.
If you can’t cut it then what’s the best way to wean?
- Nipple Shields: There are many ways to wean off nipple shields and a lot of advice about it out there. It’s hard to know what will work for you and your baby. Because babies using nipple shields are so young, it is not like you can just tell them it’s time to stop using it. One great tool to wean your baby more easily is the Back to Mom Nipple Shield Weaning Kit. It’s kind of like the tip cut off a nipple shield except it’s specially manufactured with smooth rounded edges. They will not irritate your baby’s mouth or your nipple. The kit includes 3 sizes going from a tall profile (which is the same height as the average nipple shield) to short so you can step your baby easily back to your natural nipple. You can find more info about how it works here.
- Pacifiers: There are also pacifier weaning kits that are essentially the same thing. It’s a smooth manufactured version of snipping the tip off a pacifier. For older toddlers and kids there are cute books and videos that can help with the process. They include your child in the decision of saying goodbye to the pacifier (this is what worked for me).
- Bottles: With bottles, introducing your baby to sippy cups can do the trick. There are many sippy cups that resemble the feeling of a bottle with a silicone piece for the baby to suck on. But many moms jump straight to a sippy cup that is very different than a bottle and have success with that. Again, there are books and videos you can watch and read with your child to include them in the process and help them to decide to stop using a bottle.
There are a lot of choices surrounding weaning, whether it’s nipple shields, pacifiers or bottles. Not only do you have to decide when to do it but how to go about it. Hopefully this article helped give you some guidance but as with most things that come to feeding and caring for your baby you’ll know what’s right. Trust yourself to know when it’s the right time and trust yourself to know how to guide your baby through the process. And when in doubt…consulting a wonderful IBCLC like Bri can be a great help!
Lindsey Parry is the founder of Back to Mom and inventor of the Nipple Shield Weaning Kit and Breastfeeding Bite Guards. The ideas for her products were born through her own experience of struggling with both weaning off nipple shields and dealing with pain from her baby’s teeth. She went to work with her ideas, and it took years of hard work (while balancing being a mom of 2 active boys) to develop, prototype, test and manufacture her products. Back to Mom was finally launched November 2020. She’s been ecstatic about the response from moms who have been helped by the Back to Mom products! Her greatest desire for her company is to help as many moms as possible to continue their breastfeeding journeys for as long as they want.