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Thread: Squirmy baby not nursing well

  1. #1
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    Default Squirmy baby not nursing well

    Hi everyone!

    This is my first post here. Breastfeeding has been quite the rollercoaster for me since day 1, and now just as he and I got the hang of things, we have a new issue.

    My baby's 15 weeks old, and over the past week, he's gotten really squirmy when he nurses. He pushes his hands against my chest and pushes off my breast, he arches his back and pops off, he kicks, etc. Basically he's on for no more than 2 minutes, max, then he starts popping on and off. Sometimes he's on for two sucks, then pops off, then chomps back on, then off. Sometimes he gets fussy when he does this, other times he's fine. He does this even when we're in a quiet room or I have my nursing cover on so there's no outside stimulation. Sometimes it helps if I give him an ounce or so in a bottle, but not others. And sometimes he's fine for the first few minutes before he starts going on and off, other times he starts doing it from the get-go. When he's tired, he doesn't do it as much.

    It's made every nursing session into a wrestling match! I'm worried he isn't getting enough breastmilk and that he isn't draining the breast very well. He gets bottles at daycare, both breastmilk and formula (since I can only pump around 2oz at a time, whereas he eats 5oz at a feeding). I use The First Years' Breastflow bottles with the slow-flow nipple, and have for months, so I don't think it's nipple confusion. He also gets grumpy 30-45 minutes after a feeding.

    I remember when he was little and would nurse for 30 minutes straight on one breast, and I thought that was difficult. Now I can't keep him to nurse continuously for even 5 minutes at a time!

    Any advice?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    This is the age when distractibility kicks in. It can get pretty frustrating. Here are some things I've done to cope with the distraction problem: 1) wear a nursing necklace 2) nurse him in a sling/carrier while walking (I like my Ergo for this because it has a hood to keep the distractions hidden) 3) nurse while rocking and singing. I'm sure there are other mamas here with more tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kokopelli View Post
    He gets bottles at daycare, both breastmilk and formula (since I can only pump around 2oz at a time, whereas he eats 5oz at a feeding). I use The First Years' Breastflow bottles with the slow-flow nipple, and have for months, so I don't think it's nipple confusion. He also gets grumpy 30-45 minutes after a feeding.
    5 ounces is a lot for a 15 week old. My son never drank anywhere near that much in a sitting until after his first birthday. Make sure that your DCP is using a paced feeding method with the bottle.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    This behavior could still be related to nipple/flow confusion, that can occur anytime, with any type of bottle nipple, really. But the techniques in the kellymom link Phi gave above may help with this too.

    Also be aware that a mom who needs to pump part time may in general have a bit more of a struggle with maintaining the needed milk supply. To counteract this, nurse lots when with baby (even if the sessions are short and baby is distracted) and make sure your pump is in excellent working condition and you are pumping with enough frequency when at work.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    Thanks guys!

    This is the age when distractibility kicks in. It can get pretty frustrating. Here are some things I've done to cope with the distraction problem: 1) wear a nursing necklace 2) nurse him in a sling/carrier while walking (I like my Ergo for this because it has a hood to keep the distractions hidden) 3) nurse while rocking and singing.
    Hmm. The distractibility thing makes sense -- he is super alert and curious, always has been. But he isn't always looking around, sometimes he just pulls off, then bobs right back to the nipple without taking his eyes off the boob. Other times he does randomly pull off and look up at me.

    Can you tell me about nursing necklaces? Never heard of them. He does grab at me when I nurse him though (little pinchy fingers, youch!) so maybe one would be helpful.

    5 ounces is a lot for a 15 week old
    Really? I was going off of the weight times 2.5 divided by number of feedings - he's needs about 30oz a day, and eats about 6 times a day (every 3 hours or so during the day, one night feeding).

    I looked over the KellyMom link, and I think we're using most of those - the bottles he has do make him work, and they're fairly slow so it takes him awhile to finish. It'll be moot here soon anyways because I'm leaving my job here in a couple weeks and staying home with him full-time.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kokopelli View Post
    Can you tell me about nursing necklaces? Never heard of them. He does grab at me when I nurse him though (little pinchy fingers, youch!) so maybe one would be helpful.
    A nursing necklace is just a strong necklace with baby-safe beads/disks/ornaments that keep your baby's focus and little hands busy while nursing. There are some nice photos of different styles in this thread:

    http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...t-a-HUGE-help!

    I make my own. I have some thick, color lined, cane glass beads with various textures around the outside that I string on a silk cord. My son likes the colors and texture, so they keep his interest pretty well sometimes. I also like making my own because I can control the length and use color palettes that match my clothing.

    Really? I was going off of the weight times 2.5 divided by number of feedings - he's needs about 30oz a day, and eats about 6 times a day (every 3 hours or so during the day, one night feeding).
    Babies generally need 1-1.5 ounces per hour you are gone. It's really uncommon for a baby that young to nurse that infrequently. My son is 19 months and nurses more than that most of the time. However, if your baby is growing well and making adequate diapers, then maybe he really does just eat more during a feeding than most babies.

    It'll be moot here soon anyways because I'm leaving my job here in a couple weeks and staying home with him full-time.
    Congratulations on your liberation from the pump! Pumping is the worst. Nursing is so much nicer. Enjoy the time with your baby!
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Also be aware that a mom who needs to pump part time may in general have a bit more of a struggle with maintaining the needed milk supply. To counteract this, nurse lots when with baby (even if the sessions are short and baby is distracted) and make sure your pump is in excellent working condition and you are pumping with enough frequency when at work.
    with this too. Because your baby nurses so infrequently, if at any time you get the impression that the fussiness or distractibility at the breast might be supply related you might want to offer to nurse a little more frequently. I think the general recommendation is that a 15 week old baby should be nursing at least 8 times a day. During peak distractibility, it's not a bad idea to offer a few extra nursing sessions even if your milk supply is fine because babies aren't getting as much milk when they nurse. Mine made up for daytime distractibility by nursing all night long. If adding in some daytime nursing sessions can help you avoid that fate, then I say go for it.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    Hey Kokopelli- I went through the same thing with my hunny bunny and it sounds like to me that you may have a strong letdown. LLL leaders please chime in and correct me if I'm wrong.

    With my baby, because of the strong letdown she would wrestle, and then pop off. Have you tried nursing in the sidelying position to see if it helps? (when you're both lying down).

    Also do you have any issues with gas or explosive poop with her? Are you back to work and pumping? (the pumping schedule I was on gave me an oversupply so when I was at home I had more milk than she needed)

    Of course it could just be that she's distracted

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    Yes, overactive letdown can lead to a squirmy baby, but it often has some other signs. It might not, but it usually has milk shooting across the room, foamy stools, etc. Or this could be simply a distracted baby who has learned that there are a lot of things that can go on while nursing too

    My eldest son was a gymnast while nursling. I didn't know I didn't have to put up with it half the time, it was just boredom. I should have maybe taken him off and played a bit before trying again, just to see if he was really hungry. Usually, he wasn't.

    1 to 1.5 oz per hour of separation, and while I know you are leaving work to stay home, what kind of pump do you have, is it new, have you replaced membranes, etc, are your horns the right size, how often are you pumping and are you doing compressions?
    Susan
    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!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    I have not read all of the replies so if repeating I'm sorry.

    My son is like this still to this day (especially during day when he wants to play) and he is almost 11 month. I think he got in the Babbitt of pulling off and back on due to ovrddersupply and heavy letdown but he is a curious character so he would probably do this still anyways. I do know that I have tried nursinged covers to keep destractions down but they only made it more difficult as he would pull off and try to get it off/away from him. I do not have any tips but will read others recommendations and I hope something works for you but I know I have not found anything for us yet. I know it can make breastfeeding daunting sometimes (at least sadly is does for me) luckily we have a decent time with nursing in the evening and first morning! Best of luck!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Squirmy baby not nursing well

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*alza84 View Post
    I have not read all of the replies so if repeating I'm sorry.

    My son is like this still to this day (especially during day when he wants to play) and he is almost 11 month. I think he got in the Babbitt of pulling off and back on due to ovrddersupply and heavy letdown but he is a curious character so he would probably do this still anyways. I do know that I have tried nursinged covers to keep destractions down but they only made it more difficult as he would pull off and try to get it off/away from him. I do not have any tips but will read others recommendations and I hope something works for you but I know I have not found anything for us yet. I know it can make breastfeeding daunting sometimes (at least sadly is does for me) luckily we have a decent time with nursing in the evening and first morning! Best of luck!
    I listed some things that worked for me in a previous post, but I wanted to mention that babies often get over the distractibility and become much more into nursing after a year. If you stick it out, odds are your baby will become much easier to nurse very soon. Toddler nursing is all gravy; I love it.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

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