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Thread: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

  1. #1

    Default 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    This is my first time posting. The past 4 days have been extremely stressful! My 4 month old son has suddenly starting biting my nipples, getting extremely frustrated w/ nursing, and pretty much is refusing to nurse at all during the day. And then he's nursing WAY more at night to make up for it (all night nursing, it seems...)

    Also he has suddenly started waking at night, (and he has always slept around 10 hours a night since he was 4 weeks, only quietly waking up a few times to nurse. We cosleep, & he normally never wakes up crying, he just starts squirming in his sleep & opens his mouth and I nurse him. He doesn't actually wake up fully). Now he starts squirming and getting restless around 3am, and I have to keep comforting him to get him to fall back asleep. Then around 5 he wakes up and it takes an hour to get him to go back to sleep for around an hour, and then he's up for good. Up until this point I've been totally spoiled, as he would fall asleep b/t 8pm & 9pm, and then sleep until almost 7am. This is such a shock for me!

    The last couple of days it has been tough getting him to nurse. I take him into a quiet, dark room. I have to nurse standing up while rocking him back and forth. And every time he resists at first. I put my breast to his mouth, and he arches his back, kicks, grunts and complains, bites down on my nipple, and then will finally give in and start nursing. And then it won't last long, he'll only nurse a few minutes usually.

    I got a nipple shield today, b/c my nipples are getting SO sore from the biting. He seemed to latch on with a little less resistance when using the nipple shield, but still for only a few minutes, and still bites before latching on, and bites down during nursing too, every minute or so.

    This has all been so discouraging, and I've been brought to tears several times.

    I want to give some background...

    *I've had mastitis 4 times (@ 1 week, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 16 weeks). I had antibiotics the first 2 times.
    *I had oversupply that seems to be fixed now, I did block nursing after my 3rd time with mastitis. I think the 4th mastitis was from stress (it was christmas eve...)
    *I've had tons of plugged ducts, I seem to get them easily, if our nursing schedule changes, or if I get stressed out.
    *We have thrush, and I've been trying to get rid of it for over a month. We had nystatin, but I gave up on it a week or so ago, and have been trying GSE.
    *At 12 weeks I found out my son has a dairy sensitivity, and I've cut out all dairy & soy since then.
    *DS has gained weight well. He was 8lb 4oz at birth, and seems to be at least double that now.
    *All these new problems started the day we left for vacation. But we have been out of town 3 other times and DS has always done really well.

    Thank you all for reading this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    NE PA

    Default Re: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    Could he be teething? You could try some orajel or tylenol and see if that helps- that would help to tell you if he was in pain.

    Moma to DS1-the monkinroanie (3/09) and DS2-the sweet pumpkin (5/12)
    Strong Women- May we have the delight of knowing them, the courage to be them and the privilege of raising them.
    And yes I know my spelling terrible (is that spelled right? )

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    Wow this is a toughy. Babies will clamp down in order to slow the flow of forceful letdown, could that be it? http://kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html

    The general fussiness at the breast could be something called the four month fussies, which basically just means that it has been observed that some babies tend to go through a fussy period at around four months. There is really no suggestions for it except hang in there, it goes away. Biting seems extreme, though.

    Teething is certainly a possiblity, but I would be careful about the use of teething gels that numb baby's mouth, that can increase inadvertent biting as bb can't feel anything-kind of why we adults should not eat right after having novicaine.

    Also have you changed up nursing position? Whatever was working before may no longer work, especially since baby is so much bigger. Babies need room to get a good latch, they need to be able to stretch/open their necks area, (think of how you drink a glass of water) and so when babies are older, if mom is nursing in a cradle type position or any position that curls baby up it can make it impossible for baby to get a good latch.

    This is the best article I know of about biting: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/biting.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    We have thrush, and I've been trying to get rid of it for over a month. We had nystatin, but I gave up on it a week or so ago, and have been trying GSE
    Isn't baby having discomfort nursing a symptom of thrush? I am pretty sure it is.

    Nystatin is notoriously ineffective in the majority of thrush cases. Would your healthcare provider prescribe Fluconazole for both you and baby?

  5. #5

    Default Re: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    Thanks everyone for your replies! There are so many possibilities of what could be causing this, which is part of why I've felt so helpless...I just wish I could figure out what is frustrating my poor baby.

    The biting has been a little bit better since yesterday afternoon. At one point my son even let me lay down and nurse him for at least 20 minutes, while he was awake! But its been awful this morning again. He was acting ravenous, but then screaming and arching his back when I would hold him and try to nurse. He has only given in to nursing once he's very tired and his eyes are already closing. But way less biting today.

    I feel like it could be multiple things... He is teething, and has been for a month, and has been biting his own knuckles a ton. The thrush could be bothering him too, we have a visit w/ his ped when we get back in town, so I'll discuss other thrush treatment options with her. The nystatin really didn't help. His thrush has always been mild, though, with just a teeny bit of white on his cheeks. I might have OALD, but that seems to have gotten a lot better over the last month, and the gagging and coughing seems to have mostly stopped. Although a few times over the last couple days he has gagged when nursing.


    I read up on "the four month fussies", and a lot of it does sound very similar to what I've been experiencing. I hope this all passes soon!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    Part of the problem may be (not the cause but an exacerbating factor) is that this situation is (understandably) making both of you tense. I see a good clue to that in that baby is happiest to nurse when tired, which is fine, actually. In severe cases of breast fighting/refusal, one of the first reccomendations is to nurse baby in a sleepy (or asleep) state.

    This article is for babies who are not nursing at all, but some of the tips may help? http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html

    I wonder if you or your doctor could get your hands on a copy of the lactation text Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple. (Mohrbacher, 2010) it has a very thorogh discussion of thrush and various treatments, what studies show are the most effective treatments, and even dosing reccomendations. If there is a IBCLC in your area she is likely to have this book and may let you copy the relevent pages for your doctor?

  7. #7

    Default Re: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    Thanks for the recommendation, I'll try to get a copy of that text for my pediatrician. We've had thrush for way too long!

    DS had some blood in his poop earlier today, so now I know that something is bothering his guts. I must have eaten some dairy accidentally, or maybe something else irritates him as well? I have eaten out at places I haven't been to before recently. And I did give him a little bit of a probiotic that contained traces of dairy about a week or more ago and he had a reaction to that (blood in poop), but I didn't think that could still be bothering him, b/c he didn't seem that fussy at the time it happened...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: 4 months, biting & refusing to nurse

    I just want you to know that you are not alone! My babe's first tooth erupted at 3 weeks old! He went thru a phase of biting my nipple and it feels like a razor blade is ripping you open. The pain of it made me cry and I was so frustrated. Here's what worked for us.. When he bite down I pulled his face into my breast and he would immediately release. Then I would take him off for a few minutes. I talked to him in a soft voice and said "no biting, it hurts mommy." It sounds so ridiculous now that I am reading what I typed but it really worked!
    I know it's hard but try not to get too angry and upset. Very proud of you for continuing to breastfeed despite all the obstacles

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