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Thread: Too stressed to let down!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Too stressed to let down!!

    Please help. My 5 month old just ended a week+ long nursing strike yesterda! Yay!! But now Iam absolutely PARANOID that if I don't let down as soon as he latches on, he's going to start the strike again. And I think worrying about that is making it a reality. He ate at 5am this morning and then screamed when I tried to feed him at 8 and again when I tried to feed him at 9, although he eventually did eat for a few minutes at 9.

    I know I'm supposed to relax and envision milk pouring into his mouth. I also know there's plenty of milk in there if it would just come out. Problem is I can't. Trying to relax feels like almost as much pressure as trying to let down.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Also, how long can 5 month olds go between feedings? Am I just assuming his little noises are hunger cues and trying to feed him before he's ready? Seems like even after a really good meal like he had at 5am, after 4 hours he would have to be hungry, but he would let go and cry even while milk was still coming out. Is that wrong? Can babies comfortably go more than 4 hours during the day without eating at this age? Or is he beginning his strike again

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Too stressed to let down!!

    Ugh. Nursing strikes are really hard on the mom. They really undermine mom's confidence.

    It will probably take some time of nursing before you feel 100% okay about it again. In the meantime, I personally doubt your stress would totally inhibit letdown. Telling yourself, under duress, that you MUST RELAX sure doesn't sound very relaxing. I don't think it's possible to relax under those circumstances. And I'm not sure you NEED to relax to have your milk let down. Women have nursed their babies through wars, for crying out loud.

    On the other hand, obsessing through every nursing sounds hard too. What about distraction. Distract yourself with television, or a book, or NAK? Just don't focus on nursing so much?

    It also couldn't hurt to massage your breasts a bit before you pop him on to get them "primed" and ready to go.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Too stressed to let down!!

    Relax for sure, and I hear that fennel helps speed up let down. Have some fennel tea or other lactation tea with fennel and fenugreek to get your body ready to nurse.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: Too stressed to let down!!

    I go through that. My son is 11 months old and he is so rough, twisting, hitting and pinching until letdown happens. Sometimes it stresses me so much I know I can't because of that. I try to close my eyes and breath deeply. Have you tried using the pump to get letdown and then offering him immediately after?
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Too stressed to let down!!

    The same thing has happened to me, you're not alone! I have "psyched myself out" of letdown many times. I find it happens in a pattern and it takes a few nursings to "fix it". So having a success will foster more success until I forget about the fear, but just one or two failures can really cause me to prolong it/anxiety. Usually night time nursing cures this letdown problem when I do get it, since we are both more relaxed.

    What helps me: a hot shower before nursing, a snack or a tasty beverage (tea, milk, etc) just prior to nursing, offering multiple times (every 1 or 2 hours) with the thought in my head that I can always offer again in another hour so its ok if I don't let down this time, sitting in a very comfortable chair with comfy clothes on, fantasizing about something (like eating decadent deserts, or something else enjoyable like getting a massage/pedicure), sitting in a place that has had many successful letdowns, and if that doesn't work a secondary location (bed for example), relaxing music or tv, chatting on the cellphone, and if I'm having a really hard time, wine or beer has helped me (responsibly of course)...and It doesn't even have to be alot, just a few sips have done the trick. I think just trying to day dream/think about anything but the word "let down" helps alot.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Too stressed to let down!!

    So sorry for your issues...I can imagine that would be exhausting which doesn't help your stress levels either! Here are a few things that work for me. Drink a glass of lukewarm water (not cold). Sit with my feet propped up (as in a recliner if possible). Distract myself with a good movie or television show. Have a snack nearby that I love! These sound so simple but they do work for me. The biggest help is the distraction. As I relaxed, so did my daughter. And remember, you aren't always going to feel the let downs...you may be having more than you realize! Wishing you the best!

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