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Thread: Refusing breast, only eats when sleepy..

  1. #1

    Default Refusing breast, only eats when sleepy..

    My baby is 14 weeks old. She is gaining weight well, was 7 lbs at birth, 8 lbs 4 oz at 2 weeks, 11 lb 7 oz at 10 weeks, 13 lbs at 13 weeks. Breastfeeding came easily for us, but now it has turned into such a challenge.

    I feed her, or attempt to feed, on demand, but lately she acts hungry all the time (hands in mouth, burying her face in my shoulder) but refuses to eat. Sometimes just putting her in the cradle hold position will get her screaming and arching away from me. Sometimes she will latch right on, suck 2-3 minutes, then pull off, look at the ceiling and smile and babble. The hollering doesn't start until I try to turn her back towards my breast. The only way she will eat for more than 3 minutes is in the side laying position. She fusses a little when we get into position, but not usually for more than a minute, and then she turns toward me and starts to eat and sleep on and off for anywhere from 30 min to an hour or more. I'm a SAHM with no other children so I can accommodate her nap nursing demands. But it's been suggested to me that I'm creating a bad habit. Should I stop doing this? I don't know how else to ensure she eats during the day.

    At night, after her bedtime routine she nurses just fine (in the cradle hold). Then she wakes up every 1-2 hrs and nurses for about 3-7 min each time, which is wearing me out.

    She seems to still be getting enough milk, although I've seen a slight decrease in her output: 5-6 wet diapers down from 7-8.

    Should I be worried that she only eats while sleepy? She doesn't spit up very often, but I hear her swallowing a lot and breathing harder after burps, chewing on nothing, and sometimes gasping for air as she comes off my breast. Could this all be caused by silent reflux? Is she reverse cycling even though she has access to me 24/7? Could it be a nursing strike? The pediatrician said she would eat when she was hungry, but I don't feel like that's entirely true in our situation.

    She's occasionally cried at my breast for over a month now, but it has steadily increased to every feeding and its so stressful. I thought breastfeeding is supposed to be comforting to her, but I feel like my baby hates it or that something about it hurts her and I don't know how to make it better. It's stressing me out. By the end of the day, I'm near tears and thinking about the sleepless night ahead compounds the situation.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,269

    Default Re: Refusing breast, only eats when slee

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby! I can totally understand why her behavior is stressing you out. What you describe makes me think that there are 2 strong possible explanations for what you're seeing:
    1. Fast letdown
    2. Reflux

    Babies who experience strong letdowns often resist nursing, nurse very quickly (in under 5-10 minutes), don't enjoy comfort sucking, resist being nursed in certain positions, gasp, cough, gag, splutter, choke, cough, or make a clicking/clucking noise while nursing, and frequently pull off the breast. Sound familiar? If fast letdown is the problem, the root cause is often milk oversupply. The following are signs of oversupply: frequent engorgement or feelings of fullness, seeing milk stream or squirt from the breast when the baby pulls off, being able to produce multiple oz when pumping (if you are pumping), greenish or brownish stools in the baby, gassiness in the baby.

    This link covers reflux better than I can: http://kellymom.com/babyconcerns/reflux.html

    If your baby will nurse side-lying, just do it. You are not creating a bad habit- I promise you that your LO will not be doing this when she's ten! She'll probably grow out of it long before she even turns one. Just go with the flow, do what works, and remember that the only constant thing about babies is that they change all the time.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Refusing breast, only eats when slee

    Thank you for your reassurance.

    Can you have a fast letdown and not have an oversupply of milk? Because I rarely if ever feel engorged, have never seen milk stream from the breast when she pulls off, sometimes a dribble but that's about it, I only get 2 oz when I pump (but I only have a manual hand pump and don't pump every day), baby's stools are always yellow, and she's only occasionally gassy.

    I'm thinking more along the lines of reflux right now, but I don't know if I should press the doctor for meds or if it's better to leave it untreated. I'm not fond of the idea of medicating her if she doesn't need it, but would do it if it made her more comfortable to eat and sleep.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Kent, OH
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Refusing breast, only eats when slee

    I think I have oversupply still, but my OALD has gotten a little less, so I suspect the reverse could be true too. I have had MANY of the same issues as you above...

    "She is gaining weight well....."
    "I feed her, or attempt to feed, on demand, but lately she acts hungry all the time (hands in mouth, burying her face in my shoulder) but refuses to eat. Sometimes just putting her in the cradle hold position will get her screaming and arching away from me. Sometimes she will latch right on, suck 2-3 minutes, then pull off, look at the ceiling and smile and babble. The hollering doesn't start until I try to turn her back towards my breast...."
    "At night, after her bedtime routine she nurses just fine (in the cradle hold)...... "

    I've heard that you take one step forward and 2 steps back sometimes, and I've also heard that JUST when you THINK you've got it all figured out, they change it up on you. hugs mama!
    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*samanthas.mama View Post
    Thank you for your reassurance.

    Can you have a fast letdown and not have an oversupply of milk? Because I rarely if ever feel engorged, have never seen milk stream from the breast when she pulls off, sometimes a dribble but that's about it, I only get 2 oz when I pump (but I only have a manual hand pump and don't pump every day), baby's stools are always yellow, and she's only occasionally gassy.

    I'm thinking more along the lines of reflux right now, but I don't know if I should press the doctor for meds or if it's better to leave it untreated. I'm not fond of the idea of medicating her if she doesn't need it, but would do it if it made her more comfortable to eat and sleep.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,269

    Default Re: Refusing breast, only eats when slee

    Yes, you can have a fast letdown without an oversupply. It's just a lot less common. Since you're not seeing green poops or excessive gassiness, I'd use side-lying and reclined nursing positions as a treatment for any possible issue. Gravity fights fast flow, so use it to yr advantage.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Refusing breast, only eats when slee

    OK, well OALD does sound like the explanation. DH gave her a bottle tonight and she took it without fussing (although she does a lot of nipple chewing with bottles and pacis, always has). I think if reflux were her problem, she would have disliked the bottle too.

    Thanks for all your help. This forum is so positive and supportive. Thanks for reminding me to just continue to do whatever is working for us. I'm going to focus on enjoying the time I have to spend napping/nursing my baby, afterall she'll only be this little once.

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