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Thread: Fussy nursing/ low supply at night, teething?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Newburyport, Ma

    Default Fussy nursing/ low supply at night, teething?

    Hi All.

    My daughter is 5.5 months old and she has suddenly become a very fussy nurser.
    We are EBF and I have always had a great supply of milk. In the last few weeks, she has started pulling off frequently during sessions but if I put my breast away she gets angry and upset and tries to nurse through my clothes. SOmetimes she pulls off every ten or twenty seconds! I know she is teething. But I also think that my supply is low, especially at night. I have been giving her pumped milk in a bottle at night because she gets down right distressed and I can't seem to hand express any milk so I know at the very least she is having a difficult time getting the milk out. I am wondering if her gums are too sore to suck hard? I am getting a lot of pressure from my husband and mother-in-law to start solids, they both feel she is hungry and not gaining as much weight (though we haven't verified this). I don't think she is ready for food but it does seem like she is never satisfied after a nursing session, with the exception of the very first feed in the morning. Do I have a low supply? I am also wondering if this could have anything to do with starting the birth control pill. I have been taking it now for almost three weeks, it is the mini pill.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Fussy nursing/ low supply at night, teething?

    In general, all a mom needs to do is to nurse on demand and not supplement and that will maintain her milk supply at the right level. Once a mom has been nursing for a while, it is normal for her supply to adjust to meet her baby's demand very precisely, without a lot of extra milk left over. This is desirable, because making extra milk is a waste of energy and puts a mom at increased risk for things like plugged ducts and mastitis. When supply suddenly adjusts to demand, the following are normal:
    - No longer feeling full or engorged except when baby skips multiple feedings in a row
    - Decreased or absent letdown sensation
    - Decreased/absent leaking
    - Reduced pump output (if mom is pumping)
    - Baby may fuss at the breast or appear fussy after feedings
    - Baby may require both breasts at a feeding, even if one breast was enough in the past
    Basically, what I'm trying to say is that what you're experiencing is likely normal, and not a sign of low supply. But- and this is a big one- you are taking the mini-pill, and starting that seems to coincide with your perception of a drop in supply. The mini-pill is not supposed to affect supply, but there are enough anecdotal reports of supply reduction with the mini-pill to make me believe that for some women, the mini-pill is not compatible with maintaining a good supply. The nice thing about the mini-pill is that if it is affecting you, on-demand nursing should allow your supply to rebound pretty much as soon as you stop taking the pill and stop supplementing.

    So in your shoes, I'd stop the mini-pill, find another form of contraception, and nurse, nurse, nurse!

    I would ignore your husband and MIL's uninformed advice about solids. My pediatrician would tell you that for the first year, breastmilk or formula alone are sufficient to supply all a baby's nutritional needs, and solids are for fun with new tastes, textures, and motor skills only. Your goal when you start solids is not to try to get baby to eat and replace breastmilk in her diet- it's to allow baby to start exploring and enjoying solid food without any expectation that she will actually eat it. And since breastmilk provides complete and balanced nutrition, and solids generally don't, it's unlikely that solids will increase your baby's weight gain.

    When you take the baby in for a checkup, don't be alarmed if her weight-for-age percentile has slipped a bit. Breastfed babies often gain weight relatively quickly during the newborn period, and then slim down starting around the middle of the first year, as they devote increasing amounts of calories to motion (reaching, rolling, crawling, sitting) and fewer to far.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Fussy nursing/ low supply at night, teething?

    Hi! So Sorry you're having a hard time :-( G-d knows most of us have been there!

    I am not a LC but I had lots of issues with my now 1 year old DS! He also became a very fussy nurser around that age...a few possibilities:

    1-Let-down isn't fast enough...What you can do is, prior to getting into nursing position, massage your breasts and try and take in deep breaths and relax...this will help the milk let-down faster.

    2-she may be teething in which case this will pass soon enough! You can try some homeopathic teething remedies but try not to use a numbing agent as this may interfere with her latch!

    3- I do know some moms who had some reduced milk supply due to the pill...You may want to do a few weigh-ins pre and then post-nursing to see what she is transferring (i would try them at different points of the day because some sessions are more efficient than others!)...Even if you do find that your supply is low you can still do things to bring it up...(it is normal for supply to be lower at night, but it is richer in content)

    4-Another thing to consider...anything else changed in the past couple weeks? More stress? Diet? Less sleep? Exercising?

    Again, I'm no LC but this is what I have learned...Either way just keep offering the breast and don't offer too many bottles because it may cause her to prefer the faster flow from the plastic nipple...and on that note, make sure the bottle you do offer is a newborn nipple so that she still have to work a bit to get the milk out! It is definitely okay to offer a bottle when you need to so you can get some rest...It's hard work producing all that milk!!!

    Also, rushing solids is not going to make breast feeding easier especially because it takes them a while before they even begin to take a liking to them/actually eat them...I would recommend a lovely book to give you some helpful tips: Baby Led Weaning. Or, you can just go according to your wise mommy-instinct :-) And if your family tries to play the weight-gaining card, just know that it is perfectly normal for babies around her age to gain weight a little slower...The first 4-6 months they gain tremendously and quickly but then it levels off as they become more active!

    Anyway, update and let me know how things go...

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