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Thread: Resisting feeding, but obviously hungry

  1. #1

    Default Resisting feeding, but obviously hungry

    My son is almost 4 weeks old and we've struggled with breastfeeding from the start. I was given a shield in the hospital without much of a chance to try without it, and I feel like that's really slowing down the process of us both getting the hang of this. I can't nurse without it, as my son just clamps down on my nipple and won't latch deep enough. What's making it even more difficult is that he gets upset and puts both hands right beside his mouth, or flails them around and I have a really hard time calming him down or moving his hands and elbows to even get him close enough to get a good latch. The longer he fights me the more frustrated we both get and I know that just makes it worse, but I have no idea how to get his hands out of the way enough to make it work.

    He's gaining weight slowly but steadily and his diapers seem to be normal, it just takes us so long to feed because he takes so long to latch and then has a hard time staying still enough to stay latched. He pulls away and bucks back during feeding and sometimes just starts crying in the middle of eating. He's very restless and rarely stays still to suck consistently for longer than 4 or 5 minutes, but we nurse for an hour at a time and he still seems hungry if i try to take him off, even if he isn't still sucking. I have tried every position, every calming method, every way to get him to latch better and we're still struggling. Any ideas?! I'm almost ready to throw in the towel, I hate being frustrated with my 4 week old who is only trying to eat.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Resisting feeding, but obviously hungry

    Have you tried swaddling? Good & tight will keep his arms out of your way and probably help to calm him down a lot too. Also maybe walking around or rocking while nursing? I know that has worked well for some of the mamas here too. For my DD, when she gets restless I pat her bottom - this worked really well when she was littler

    How is your supply? Sounds like maybe you might have a forceful letdown - that would explain some of the pulling around & crying while nursing. Also the quick sessions. Does he gulp or choke during your let-downs? Or when he pulls off, do you see a spray? There are other mamas here who know much more about this than I do - hopefully they will chime in too.

    Sounds like he is comfort nursing - he wants the nipple in his mouth even if he isn't eating or sucking on it. Babies like to have their mamas close by For that, you could try giving him a pacifier to suck on if you're comfortable with it. However, if you feel he really is still hungry - which he very well could be - some infants nurse very often, then just keep feeding him
    DD, 7-2-2011, "Little Owl" nursed for 21 months

    DS, 10-10-2013, "Mr. Man" EBF and going strong

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Default Re: Resisting feeding, but obviously hungry

    So sorry to hear your feeling down about the situation. I know that feeling of frustration towards lo, but like you said, he is only trying to eat,..i remind myself that were working on this together as a team. I too have had my struggles and we still run into roadblocks, but the feeling i get after a good feeding keeps me going everday. Knowing he needs me makes allows me to continue everyday!
    Could your lo have tounge tie? My lo had a hard time keeping a latch because of his tight frenulum. We got it clipped and i did see a little improvement. It was our lactation consultant who noticed this. She is a blessing! I think i call her too often, but if it helps me improve our bf then im all for it!
    Do you feed him before he starts crying? Or at the first signs of hunger? I learned that a screaming baby bopping their head in every direction is much harder to latch than a calm one.
    We too used a nipple shield for 4 weeks, started weaning at 2 weeks. I started our feedings w it, and would do the switch within a couple of minutes. He wouldnt always latch back on, but eventually we got the hang of it. We still struggle w our latch.
    So you see your not alone. It will get better. Dont give up!! 4 weeks is a huge accomplishment! I strongly suggest you reach out for help w a lactation consultant in your area!
    Good luck momma!
    I am so blessed!


    2 's in heaven

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Resisting feeding, but obviously hungry

    Whether or not you need now or ever needed the shield, you have to keep working on the latch. Getting a good latch will allow baby to wean off the shield. Also are you pumping? If the nipple shields are interfering with milk transfer it is important to pump as well in order to maintain an appropriate supply.

    What positions/latch techniques have you tried? Try every thing you read about, and then try every thing again. What does not work today may work in a couple of days time. Besides what you read about, try anything you can imagine may help.

    When latch issues are this much of an issue it can really help to have another pair of knowledgeable eyes there to try to help you figure out what is going on.
    Have you seen a lactation consultant? I don't mean for 5 minutes in the hospital, I mean have you had a real in person appt with an International Board Certified (or otherwise very experienced) lactation consultant? These should last about 90 minutes.

    If seeing an LC is not an option, (and remember even if you have to pay full price out of pocket seeing an LC is much much much cheaper than formula for a year), have you called a local LLL Leader, gone to a meeting, seen if someone around is able to do a home visit?

    Also something that often helps a lot, if you are not already doing it, is to nurse when baby is CALM. Nurse frequently. Offer at the earliest cues or do not wait for cues at all. Offer when baby is sleepy or asleep. If you have tried a laid back position this is a good one to help get baby latched when they are asleep, just waking, or sleepy. The video here displays this nicely: www.biologicalnurturing.com

    The flailing may be an instinctual response- baby trying to knead-but in many positions, gravity is working against his instincts, pulling his mouth off the nipple and his arms away from you. In a laid back position he may be able to put his arms around the breast and do what comes natural. There are lots of ways to do laid back, adjust babies position or your own as needed.

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