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Thread: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant crying*

  1. #1

    Default what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant crying*

    I understand that babies get growth spurts but I don't understand whats going on with my son.

    He is 6 weeks...almost 7. The past two days if he isn't being held by someone, he is screaming his head off. He is awake most of the day and never napping like he used to. (he used to nurse, be awake for a little bit, sleep for 2-3 hours. then nurse...etc)

    He has a dry diaper, clean onesie, i'll nurse him and nurse him and he'll eat and fall asleep (like usual) I'll then put him in his swing and the moment he leaves my arms, he starts crying and won't stop. I understand that he needs to be held but i gotta get stuff done! i need to eat and can't constantly have him at the breast.

    I've tried giving him his pacifier (which he only takes when he's in the mood) He'll suck for a few minutes, spit it out, and start wailing.
    I feel horrible for doing this but i just put him in his swing where he'll cry for 10-15 mins and then fall asleep. I'm not trying to do the "cry it out" thing but until i get a sling or baby carrier, its the only option i have.

    I wouldn't mind nursing him for long periods but he has never really gotten latching down right. It ALWAYS hurts! I've maybe gotten him to latch well 3 times and it felt so good, that i understood why women like to breastfeed.

    He only seems to be latching on at the base of the nipple. His lips are flanged but his mouth is closed at the base. My nipple is always pointy like lipstick and usually has a ridge on one side. I've tried the "breast sandwich" and numerous potitions. The one i've had the most success with is the cross cradle hold. I've been to two LC's at WIC and they are confused as to how he is latching and are trying to get me to meet with a IBCLC.

    On top of the nipple pain, sometimes when my son nurses, he'll suck for a while and then cry and pull back on me. At first I thought it was due to an overactive letdown and so I would take him off and let it spray into a towel and I also did some laid back nursing but he still acts the same.
    So i think "okay, he just wants to suck and is getting mad because of the milk" I give him a paci but again he spits it out and cries.

    I don't think its colic or gas because he is fine if my husband or I hold him but like i said, i need to put him down sometimes.

    So, any ideas? especially as to how to get him to get a better latch? Just any hints or tips would help. I used a nipple shield for the first month, got a severe thrush infection and now i don't want to use a nipple shield any longer (been without it for 2 weeks now!)
    I don't have a lot of extra money to pay someone to come out to my house to help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant cry

    Even though this marks a change in your baby’s behavior, much of this sounds normal. As long as baby is gaining well, extra or 'new' fussiness is not likely anything to worry about.

    How often is baby nursing? A MINIMUM of 10-12 times a 24 hour day is normal at this age. Baby may want to nurse more than once an hour, for at least part of the day. Again, this is NORMAL. It is also normal for a baby to reject momma substitutes like swings & pacifiers. Smart baby, knows the real thing. Your baby does not care if you have to get other things done. He is utterly helpless and needs your safe arms or those of another trusted person pretty much constantly. This is normal, for now, and it is not forever! This intense early time will not last more than a few months. But that is why in the early months moms need lots of HELP from friends and family with everything else so they can concentrate their energies on mothering baby. Also have you tried wearing baby in a sling or wrap? These can be lifesavers in these early months.

    What is not normal is that nursing causes you pain. This means something is wrong. Usually the issue is latch but thrush also causes pain issues. Are you SURE the thrush is gone? What treatment did you have? Besides tweaking latch and positioning, what helps often with painful latch is to nurse frequently, before baby fusses, as a calm baby latches and nurses better than a frantic baby. Nurse at the earliest cues, or no need to even wait for cues.

    My best advice for latch & positioning is to use all suggestions as guidelines but not rules. Throw out the “rules” and do what works for you. You mention laid back positioning; this helps with painful latch a lot. But just keep trying all positions and latch techniques until you find what works for you.

    I see you say you cannot afford to hire an LC. But have you really looked into that? Around here you can hire an IBCLC to come to your house for less than $100.00 US. It’s way, way, way cheaper to see an LC than to formula feed if it comes to that, and it likely will come to that if you keep having latch issues. Some health & welfare agencies can help you see an LC (like (some) WIC programs, in the USA) or your hospital may have a low cost option or your health coverage may cover it. Look I don’t want to oversell it, you may be able to figure this out on your own and there is no guarantee an LC will solve your issues, but so often, having another pair of experienced eyes helps so much. If that is not possible, do you have a local LLL Group near you? You can see a Leader at a meeting and a few do home visits. But talk to your local Leader on the phone first, not all meetings are conducive to one on one help. Plus she may know what other resources are in your area.

    Possibly helpful links: latch and positioning: http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html & http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and www.biologicalnurturing.com and http://www.ameda.com/ameda-support-t...ational-videos and http://www.lowmilksupply.org/latching.shtml

    Fussy baby ideas: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ybabyideas.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Default Re: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant cry

    It sounds like he's in a growth spurt. At that age, they are growing so rapidly that they are burning off the BM at a quick pace. Be patient, just hang in there with him. Do you have a wrap, sling, or carrier with newborn insert? Those would be very helpful to you at this time. It is very normal for baby to want to be as close to mom as possible. There is a sweet poem that I often reflect on when my little guy is being extra clingy... it doesn't exactly get stuff done, but it helps me gain some perspective to make it through the moment (believe me, I know where you're coming from, I work from home as a project manager and am a full time student):

    The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
    But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
    I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

    ~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
    BF'g my son since birth, May '11. I proudly practice peaceful/attached parenting

  4. #4

    Default Re: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant cry

    He's only nursing maybe 6 times a day. He gets a small bottle of formula (mixed with some pumped breastmilk) at night but thats so I can sleep a little but i always make sure to at least pump if my LO misses a feeding.

    I don't have a sling or carrier...but i'd love to get one eventually. My husband works all day and even though I do put off doing dishes or laundry...it does have to get done eventually or else we'd be running around the house naked and eating with our hands. My mother lives over 2 hours away and my MIL lives about 1 1/2 away and works during the week so its hard to get help.

    And $100 is still too much to hire a LC to help us. My husband makes just enough to pay rent, bills, and gas for the car with very little left over.

    Latching has gotten better. I'm just wondering why if he screams in hunger,, why he will only suck on the breast for a limited amount of time before pulling off and screaming. I switch breasts when he does this and he does the same thing. He only nurses a few times a day and I'm really getting worried.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    The Armpit of the Universe

    Default Re: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant cry

    Are you saying he only eats at all about 6 times a day? That seems pretty low for such a young baby, and at prime growth-spurt time, too.
    And I totally get sleep-deprivation, but wouldn't just nursing the baby at night save you more time and allow you more sleep than having to pump and wash pump parts? You'd be cutting a 2-step process in half. And are you able to take opportunities to nap while your baby is napping? Seriously, that will save your life. Even though 2-hour stretches may not be optimal, it's a lot better than none.

    As far as the sling, you don't have to have a super-fancy one. What I did was I went to Joanns, got 5 yards of cotton gauze and hemmed the 2 short ends and used the selvage as the hems for the long sides. (I also dyed it, but that's not necessary.) Apparently if you use knit jersey fabric, it won't fray, and you don't have to hem it at all. Then, you can do most wraps with that length, and you can find videos of those on youtube. Of course I was never able to do dishes or laundry with a baby in the sling, due to the bending.
    Here are some links that I found that got me started:


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant cry

    I'd be worried too if my less than 2 month old baby was only nursing 6 times a day. It most likely is not enough. How has weight gain been? Poops? Nursing infrequently not only may cause poor weight gain because baby does not get enough, it will cause milk supply to go down.

    Supplementing and not pumping to make up for that supplemental feeding will also cause supply issues. Your baby needs to nurse at night, both in order to get enough and for you to keep a good supply.

    I get it, really. I have been there! You are tired. You are busy. Your are overwhelmed. It also sounds like you are isolated, if the only helper you have is your husband. I was in the same situation with my first-we had just moved to a new city, I knew no one, and had no family closer than 1000 miles away! That makes this time even harder. It can be very depressing to be so alone. But there is no magic bullet about this. There are certain biological facts in regard to breastfeeding and I have seen it over and over again-if mom does not nurse frequently enough, and/or if baby is given supplements unnecessarily and without mom pumping, and/or latch issues continue, baby so often ends up completely formula feeding. Formula for a year will cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars. The companies only send enough free samples to get you hooked, then you have to pay. A lot.

    But if latch is getting better already, you may be able to turn this around just by nursing more.

    Use paper plates. Leave pans soaking in the sink until your husband comes home. You can hold your baby in one arm and load the washer with the other. How many clothes REALLY need to be folded, hung up, or ironed? Do what you can. Do you know anyone around who can come by for an hour and hold your baby so you can make and eat a meal or just take a mood lifting walk? (You can do that with baby too of course.) Anyone to bring you guys meals? Sometimes you can find slings cheap at second hand baby stores, or craigs list or freecycle. Just make sure it's a reliable brand.

    Please look at my post again. I mention several ways you may be able to see a breastfeeding helper, of which hiring an LC to come to your home is only one. It just depends on what is available in your area.

    Try not to be too isolated. This is not a good state for new moms. What is around you? Any LLL meetings (free) or breastfeeding supportive mommy and me meetings? (also free) (Mommy and me may happen every week and are usually at hospitals.) Library storytimes, etc? Find out what is out there, any place to make friends with other moms!
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 15th, 2012 at 08:40 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant cry

    I had a mom who took and old sheet, cut it into a long strip and made a wrap for her newborn.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Middle of nowhere in Ohio

    Default Re: what is going on? *latch issues, fussiness, constant cry

    I am so sorry you are going through this, but believe me I understand. I was there sitting on the couch with a baby I just fed who was screaming her lungs out whenever I tried to put her down. There are some things more important than getting things done, such as keeping your sanity. Expecting to have your house and things the way it was before baby is not realistic. However one day it will be

    As far as the latch issue, have you done skin to skin? Bathe with baby (safely)? A lot of the time babies will self attach perfectly when doing these techiniques. Make sure when you go to feed him that you are waiting until he opens his mouth wide, try not to do the sandwich technique, this can distort the way your breast is supposed to fit in his mouth. Also, don't try to feed when he is already crying. Look for early hunger cues, even when he is sleeping lightly, sometimes they will latch better when they aren't very hungry.

    Also, maybe the reason he needs to be with you is because he is missing some contact at night. Try skipping the bottle feedins a couple nights to see if it improves, this could also be why he is not latching right. Your breast is not built the same way as a bottle. A baby who eats from a bottle is basically nipple feeding, which is what your LO is doing to you... Just my two cents worth.
    Passed my CLC exam!

    Mother of 3: 12-25-04 12-3-07 1-13-2011

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