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Thread: help: sticking tongue out, crying, and refusing to latch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    57

    Default help: sticking tongue out, crying, and refusing to latch

    Hi,
    I've been lurking here for a few days and learning a lot. I would appreciate any tips or ideas for me to help my four-week-old. Nursing has been a challlenge from day 1 for many reasons. The past couple of days she has adopted the newest odd and very frustrating habit of, at various times during a feeding (can be at the beginning, in the middle, or even after she's gotten a full meal on one side and I'm offering the second since she seems hungry still), she will pull off for some reason---whether coughing/choking (I have oversupply) or getting impatient for letdown, and when I go to put her back on, she sticks out the tip of her tongue, not opening her mouth any further. Obviously I can't feed her like this, and she gets increasingly wound up and cries until I put her on my chest to calm her. A couple minutes later she'll start bobbing and fidgeting and I'll turn her sideways to put her back in position, and before she's even there she's started crying again.

    One night last week we had an awful session where she did this for the first time, and I was up for two hours trying to get her to eat (attempting to feed, calming her down, putting her back on for another attempt, etc.) but I hadn't seen it again until two days ago. Since then it's been present at pretty much every feeding. All morning I could only get five-minute snacks into her, and no matter how much she displayed signs of hunger (rooting, trying to latch onto my arm when I carried her to the changing table), she would go back to doing this tongue thing and refusing to latch, getting increasingly frantic and frustrated. The afternoons have been better but this evening it's back in full force: she got 5 minutes of strong sucking and then refused to open her mouth again.

    Thankfully I know she's getting something, because the side I nurse on feels much softer even after a terrible session like this, and wet diapers are prolific as usual (average nearly a dozen a day!). It's just sad and confusing when she's obviously still hungry but even as I turn her to try again after comforting her, she gets distressed all over again. Sometimes she gives up and falls asleep after a few minutes of this. When that happens, as long as she got at least a few minutes of real sucking/swallowing in, I'll just hold her while she sleeps or or put her down and try again when she's awake (no more than an hour later).

    This is really wearing on me. I'm just hoping it's a random phase that will be gone as soon as it came, but in the meantime, any ideas would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,788

    Default Re: help: sticking tongue out, crying, and refusing to latch

    Welcome to the forum!

    I'm thinking that your 4 week-old baby has already learned an interesting fact: that when you turn her sideways to nurse her in the cradle hold, she is going to get a fast letdown of milk and that isn't going to be comfortable for her. So she objects to being turned.

    When mom has oversupply, fast feedings are normal. My second kid, who had to deal with a LOT of milk, often nursed in under 5 minutes. It was wild, because my firstborn would spend up to an hour nursing and comfort-sucking! My second kid was also a much fussier nurser because she was getting blasted by a very strong, rapid milk flow. She frequently pulled off the breast while nursing and was reluctant to go back on because nursing was sometimes too uncomfortable for her.

    The first thing I suggest that you do is to experiment with some different nursing positions. The more upright you can keep baby, and the more you yourself can recline, the more comfortable baby may be. I'd even try having baby lie belly to belly with you, while you lie on your back. The more you can enlist gravity to slow the flow of milk, the more comfortable nursing should be for your baby.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: help: sticking tongue out, crying, and refusing to latch

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    I'm thinking that your 4 week-old baby has already learned an interesting fact: that when you turn her sideways to nurse her in the cradle hold, she is going to get a fast letdown of milk and that isn't going to be comfortable for her. So she objects to being turned.

    When mom has oversupply, fast feedings are normal. My second kid, who had to deal with a LOT of milk, often nursed in under 5 minutes. It was wild, because my firstborn would spend up to an hour nursing and comfort-sucking! My second kid was also a much fussier nurser because she was getting blasted by a very strong, rapid milk flow. She frequently pulled off the breast while nursing and was reluctant to go back on because nursing was sometimes too uncomfortable for her.

    The first thing I suggest that you do is to experiment with some different nursing positions. The more upright you can keep baby, and the more you yourself can recline, the more comfortable baby may be. I'd even try having baby lie belly to belly with you, while you lie on your back. The more you can enlist gravity to slow the flow of milk, the more comfortable nursing should be for your baby.
    Thanks so much for your response. It actually freaked me out to read it because it suddenly clicked that this too could be related to oversupply, and as with some issues we were having the first week, having her this frustrated at the breast every time makes me fear she's just going to give up. Since I suspected oversupply I've been doing a laid back variation on cross-cradle and an elevated football hold of sorts. That has worked until these past couple of days, but maybe I was slacking off.

    I have tried many times putting her across my chest in a semi or fully reclined position, as everyone reassured me that newborns are wired to find the nipple that way eventually, but she never did, and I always felt like I was going to hurt her trying to hold her neck and head awkwardly. Well, inspired by her perseverance I tried the side lying position again this morning, which has never worked for us either, and after reading a very helpful article with pics, we got it! She did choke once at the beginning (and this was just five minutes--- thanks also for the reassurance that with oversupply five minutes can really be enough sometimes) but quickly regained composure and sucked steadily and calmly the rest of the time. Now she's sort of fitfully in and out of sleep so I can't tell if she wants more. I'm so confused by her cues sometimes...but that's another post.

    I have sometimes tried the scissor hold around the areola for the first couple minutes to slow the flow, but it is awkward and I'm not sure how much it helps---what do you think? Also I'd be afraid it might lead to plugged ducts.

    Thanks again so much for your help. I hope if I master side lying and get serious again about staying reclined in whatever position, she'll get back into the swing of things.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,788

    Default Re: help: sticking tongue out, crying, and refusing to latch

    She won't give up! There's nothing for her to give nursing up for, at this point (unless you're doing bottles, which I'd stay away from right now), and as she grows either your supply will calm down or she will grow into a large supply and she will get stronger and more able to handle a forceful letdown.

    My second kid, the one who had to deal with oversupply and crazy letdowns, is still a dedicated nurser at 28 months. This morning, as we walked downstairs, she was chattering away about nursing, which she calls "pupple": "I love da pupple. I want da pupple. One, two. Pupple is vewy, vewy nice, mommy."

    I think that if the scissors hold helps, use it, and deal with plugs if and when they occur.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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