I don't know that there are a whole lot of guys that read this, but I have given fair warning that you need not read any further. Seriously.
That said, I am happy to announce that we have been silicone free for about a week now.
Medela has been my best friend since I first had Randall. They say that you should not give up nursing until you have tried it for at least six weeks, but after less than a week of fighting with my child for every single meal, we switched to my pumping and her receiving a bottle. For as much as I wanted to only breastfeed her, I also didn't want to spend every moment with her angry. She wasn't getting enough to eat and she was always mad. With bottle feeding my expressed milk, she was calm, full and happy. Pumping was simple and much faster as well. To me, this seemed like the best way to go.
Until I heard from a friend who had had similar nursing problems and solved them with the nipple shield. Now, the nurse in the hospital had mentioned this option to me when we were working on the latch there, but I didn't know what it was and when she asked if I wanted to try one, I just said (for the second time), "I don't know," and they didn't press the issue. I wish they had.
This little guy was magic. She latched onto it immediately and from then on all was well. Pumping was getting rather tedious for every feeding and was very difficult when I was home alone during the day or at work with the baby.
We did spend a couple days where I had to keep fighting with her to stay awake for a full feeding, but she quickly grew out of that as well.
While we were in New York last month, we had a very bad feeding incident. I had only brought one of my three shields with me (mistake #1) and the one I had I left behind (mistake # 2). The best place to keep it is tucked happily right in my bra, but had I put it there? No, I left it on the dresser instead.
The decision had been made to stop at my mom's for one last visit before flying home and when we arrived there and the baby was hungry I discovered my glaring error. She would not nurse without the shield and it then took another ten minutes to hunt down a cup & hot water to warm up the bottle that I had brought along in her cooler. All in all, it was not a pretty situation.
I knew I couldn't rush her to stop using the shield and that she would wean off of it in her own time. Frankly, I wasn't too concerned. Even if she ended up using it for the next six months, at least she was still eating well and happy and it was not that big of a deal on my part, so long as I don't lose them.
So here she was, approaching her four month mark and she just decided one day that she was done. Eating was a bit fussy one evening, so I popped the shield off and gave her a shot at silicone-freedom. She hasn't looked back since.
I tell you all this (quite personal) info not just so I can document it for myself, but because I don't think enough people know about this option. It saved our nursing and my sanity many a time. If you know of someone who just had a baby and is having a hard time nursing or teaching her baby to latch, let them know that this is a fabulous option to be able to nurse and not have to switch to formula or have to pump all the time!