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Thread: 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF

    I am a second time mother... whose first baby never breastfed. I was determined to give him my milk so I pumped for eight months.

    Now, with my second baby, I did everything I could to prepare myself to be successful at breastfeeding, but from day one, my baby would not latch properly.

    I saw an LC in the hospital and my baby was already making me sore and hurting and had a terrible latch. LC gave me a nipple shield to use for a week or so until the baby got a little bigger and hopefully her mouth got bigger to breastfeed. After we got home, she fed on the nipple shield, but was not gaining weight because she was not transferring milk properly out of my breast with the nipple shield... feedings were taking over an hour and she was falling asleep. I spoke to my LC almost daily and finally with my baby at two weeks old, the LC said she wanted me to pump and bottle feed until the baby gained her birth weight back, got her calories up and therefore became more alert and willing to nurse, etc. She said this wasn't the route we really wanted to take, but we wanted to get her weight up and out of the danger zone, etc....

    After my daughter gained her weight and was eating well... we started practicing with latching again. I did the skin on skin and tried not to push too hard. My daughter would get so frustrated even near my breast... batting at me and crying. At four weeks old, I met with my LC and my daughter latched beautifully. She got frustrated at the breast some, but we took her away, calmed her and would try again.

    Now.... at eight weeks old... she is still acting frustrated. I can get her to latch in the middle of the night sometimes and she might even eat for 5 or 10 min.... and then act livid. She will break the latch and cry.... she may or may not re-latch. Sometimes she acts satisfied, but most of the time I still have to bottle feed afterwards and she will still take another 1.5 oz or so. I have PLENTY of milk and can feel my letdown very soon after she latches.... so I have no idea why she is so angry. My LC said my daughter has been through a lot with feeding issues.... so be patient and just work through these times and let the baby work this out, but I am so frustrated. I am pumping all during the day/night and then fighting with her to breastfeed during the day/night. I feel like she prefers the bottle now and hates being anywhere near my breast. She even starts to cry when she is put in cradle hold and then other times agrees to fall asleep laying on my breast during skin to skin. She has a great latch, so I know that is no longer the issue. I'm also afraid I am losing her to being a bottle fed baby and never breastfeeding. I want her to be an EBF baby more than anything... but am at my wits end as far as what to do with her. I am also afraid the longer that this takes... that she is getting too old and I am losing her as far as breastfeeding......

    Has anyone dealt with these issues or have any advice on this? I know this is a lot of info........

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF


  3. #3
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    Default Re: 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF

    Sometimes it helps to eliminate what the issue isn't to make a better guess at what it is and how to proceed.

    So from what I gather-latch is good. Does not hurt you, and baby is able to transfer milk. So the issue at this point is not latch or an inability to nurse.
    You have plenty of milk and can feel a letdown shortly after baby starts to suckle-so the issue is not poor milk supply or a delayed letdown causing frustration.

    That leaves two most likely but disparate possibilities, imo.
    1) even though your letdown is quick, a bottle is quicker and a more steady flow. This is called "flow confusion" and is common in babies who have been bottle fed early on. In this case, the instant reward techniques in the kellymom article "Help MY Baby Won’t Nurse" linked above may help, as may breast compressions, which can give a shot of milk and keep baby nursing.
    2) You have something called forceful letdown and the issue is that baby is unhappy with the to fast rapidity of the flow. This is also a very common issue. There are many ways to remedy this. http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

    If your baby can latch at all, ever, and you have enough milk, your baby can ebf. Babies who have never nursed have been brought to the breast at several months old and older. It's not easy, it's frustrating, but it can be done and is done all the time. You are actually ahead of the game beasue you baby can latch and you have worked hard to bring ina good milk supply. Build on what is already working-nursing baby when she is sleepy, just waking, or asleep. Consider if the issue may be forceful letdown and make the changes needed for that. Nurse (or offer) FREQUENTLY, before baby is hungry, at earliest cues, or even before any cues. A calm baby comes to the breast better. Don't pressure, but offer. Try different positions like laid back or side lying.

    Stop using bottles if you can. If baby will not nurse enough as you figure this out, consider using an at the breast supplementer aka lactation aid (you can fashion one yourself or purchase one.) Consider syringe feeding or cup feeding. If bottles are the best option for you, try to have baby take a bit at the bottle -no more than an ounce or so to take the edge off-and finish the feeding at the breast. Also if using bottles use paced bottle feeding techniques.

    Paced bottle feeding: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    laid back breastfeeding: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf

    Breast compressions: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17

    This page includes videos on cup feeding and lactation aid use: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...id=6&Itemid=13

    Using a lactation aid: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17

    If possible get help from friends or family with you older child and around the house for the next week or two so you can devote more energy to this process without getting too overwhelmed. This is crunch time ,time to call in favors.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Re: 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF

    Thank you so much for your reply. I actually called my LC today and haven't heard back from her..... so glad I just read your response. It is a major encouragement to know I am on the right track and what I need to do (in addition to what I'm already doing). I will look at the links you provided also.

    My only other question... is how exactly I should handle her immediate frustration sometimes as she is placed in position to nurse? I have been told NOT to try with a baby that is already frustrated.... and I don't want to cause an aversion to the breast. But sometimes she does not even give me the opportunity to try and latch her with how mad she immediately gets. She actually makes me feel like she doesn't want to be near me. When I do skin to skin... she is at the age where she wants to "exercise" and just push around with her legs, etc... not stay calm with me. How do I continue to make the breast a "happy place" and make her WANT to be at the breast? Is this another issue of "give it time and be patient"?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF

    Oh.... I also meant to mention I have been trying the laid back breastfeeding position this week... and she does seem to take to it fairly well. Maybe because it also is a switch up and confuses her without the frustration of cradle hold. And, we have been doing the paced bottle feeding from the beginning. We didn't want to just let it pour in her mouth and her get used to that... we also make sure her lips are flanged out, she opens wide for the bottle, etc.

    My LC said a few weeks ago she didn't think I needed the lactation aid. But, maybe I should consider trying the cup feeding occasionally, rather than the bottle. I have a three year old at home with me daily (I'm a stay at home mother), so to be realistic, I know I will have to use a bottle still during the day with caring for two children, pumping and trying to nurse... until my husband gets home in the evening... and then I can really focus on persistence with cup feeding and nursing. He has been my biggest support and the one I pass the baby off to when she is frustrated... to calm her and bring her back to me.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF

    You don't necessarily need a lactation aid, certainly many moms bring baby to the breast without using one. But in general when supplementing is needed, it is recommended to use a lactation aid if possible rather than bottles. If the issue early on was a painful latch, of course a lactation aid would not have been the correct tool at that point.

    Your baby does not have an aversion to you or your breasts, baby loves you and has a biological, instinctual need to nurse. But I suspect she now thinks of the bottle as the food source, rather than your breasts, so when she is hungry, she wants the bottle and not to try to nurse. The idea is to key into that nursing instinct (which is why a useful technique is to bring baby the breast when asleep or sleepy, and to in general bring baby to the breast when baby is calm and not really hungry-comfort nursing often comes first.) Some ideas: If baby is fussy coming to the breast skin to skin, try holding her in a laid back position while you are clothed but with easy access should she start to root. Keep a syringe full of milk or covered/disguised bottle of milk nearby (disguised so baby does not focus on the bottle) so you can quickly dribble milk on your nipple to let her know that is where the goods are. If she is fussy, take her off and calm her, for example by letting her suck a clean pinky tip (pad side up, nail trimmed) or walk around patting her. When she is calm, try again. If you think her fussiness is due to hunger, let her have enough expressed milk to take the edge off and try again. Do not try to force her to nurse, but don't "give up" to easily every time either. There is a balance that needs to be struck.

    FYI The Jack Newman videos also shows a scenario where a baby is 'suck trained" using a lactation aid on a finger-it's called finger feeding.

    Anytime baby takes the breast, even for a second, is a step forward. This is a process, it can take a while or it can resolve quickly that is unknowable.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; May 17th, 2012 at 08:54 PM.

  7. #7
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    May 2012
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    36

    Default Re: 8 week old, fussy at breast and will not EBF

    OK... I am going to start the cup feeding or syringe feeding tonight when I try to breastfeed. She has continued to latch a couple of times today when she has been happy, but we haven't had any real "feeding" during these times since I did it just when we were playing and skin to skin time.

    I did have a couple of other questions: Would any of these problems also have anything to do with me having TOO much milk? I have a HUGE milk supply.... and have even filled my freezer and given some away to friend who just adopted. I just told my LC about that and she said I didn't need to pump more than about 2 oz out of each breast... to [I]not[I] look at the clock, but to watch how much is in the bottles and stop around 2 oz. She even mentioned that a baby that eats 2 oz off the breast is a good feeding for a breastfed baby (as long as there are enough wet and dirty diapers, etc). So, after reading on other forums/topics... I started to wonder if I have an over supply of milk??? Yesterday and today I have even tried to really watch and keep each pumping session to this smaller amount. I'm in some pain.... but I was pumping as much as 3-4 oz out of each breast before.... so I would think this 2 oz amount sounds correct? And then my supply will naturally go down then, correct?

    My other question: What is your take on pacifiers? We haven't been giving my baby a pacifier.... she didn't really take to them at the beginning and then with the nursing problems... we intentionally kept them away. Lately, she acts like she wants to "suck" at times, but I hate to give her a pacifier before breastfeeding gets well established? She is eight weeks old... so I know she is over that "40 day" mark.... but would hate to start nipple confusion before she is breastfeeding??

    Again, thank you so much for your help. I cannot express how much hearing another opinion, in addition to my LC's opinion, helps and encourages. I am thrilled to have found this forum and someone to give me extra advice. I has truly helped me continue this journey....

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