Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 32

Thread: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    I have a generally happy, healthy 6 week old who has gained a ton of weight (6 lb 12 oz at birth to 10 lb 9 oz at 1 month), probably partly thanks to oversupply. That has caused its share of issues but what I've been dealing with today and on other recent occasions doesn't seem to be related.

    I've been capping my daughter's time between feedings at 2 hours during the day, to help with the oversupply and possible reflux. This was the pediatricians recommendation, and as soon as I implemented it last week (as opposed to going on demand, constantly watching for hunger cues in my baby, who very often confuses me in that regard!) we had several days of the most blissfully smooth, regular feedings. Today, though, we had a complete regression to this horribly frustrating pattern: baby is sleeping soundly, I notice it's been 3+ hours since her last feeding (which today happened to be a very big/long one for her, hence my decision to let her sleep), I start trying to wake her. She's not hard to rouse generally, but as soon as I get her latched, even if she was rooting and looking very alert and panting---her main hunger cues as far as I can tell--she falls back asleep and is impossible to wake up, except by putting her back down and walking away. Within two minutes she will be screaming in protest. I go over and repeat the same process of latching, watching her suck a couple of times, and falling asleep. This even happens when I've just had a letdown and milk is actively spraying out into her mouth. I also do massage/ breast compressions in desperation at these times. Nothing works. I would be happy at this point to let her keep sleeping, but then things suddenly turn much worse: she reaches the point where it infuriates her if she latches and there isn't immediately something coming out. (I recognize this is just my interpretation but I can't think of any other explanation.) She gets hysterical and is only calmed by being put on my chest. Then when she starts bobbing and rooting again, or after a few calm minutes I'll start to turn her back into position. Immediately she starts crying again, as if remembering the frustration.

    My only semi-successful method of trying to break this pattern is "teasing" her with milk dripping from a bottle down into the corner of her mouth while latched, until letdown happens and she's happy, but assuming I can even get her latched it is quite difficult to do alone. Today I had to resort to just bottle feeding her a couple ounces of milk from the freezer and pumping, then going back to trying to BF after a short nap. That cycle repeated from about 2 to 7. It seems to be happening again right now---I'm letting her sleep, but she seemed hungry about an hour ago, I put her on, she fell asleep, I gave her a bath, same thing, and then, just like that, she was too mad to wait and teasing her with the bottle didn't work. I'm dreading when she wakes up now.

    I can't imagine this is normal because how could anyone with more than one child function? How could anyone function with this as the norm, period? Am I inadvertently causing this behavior by doing/not doing something? Is there any way to discourage it? Thanks so much for any tips.

    (I recognize many people on these forums have serious, much more stressful problems, and I feel guilty even asking about what is essentially an inconvenience, but it has almost put me over the edge not knowing all day WHAT my baby wants/needs, and having to rely on a bottle to get us through the day.)
    Last edited by @llli*tejana; September 25th, 2012 at 07:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4,894

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    I'm not really sure what you're asking, but here is my advice. Bag the schedule and nurse on demand. Don't wake her for feedings, just let her wake naturally and give you her cues for hunger. It takes a little bit of time but eventually you can recognize the cues before she is frantic and starving. Although I will say that plenty of babies go from 0-60 in seconds and there's not much you can do. Keep in mind she is new at everything and only knows when a sensation hits her. The other thing to keep in mind is that the breast is not only a source of food but incredibly comforting for her. So while you may be reading her screaming and rooting as a sign of hunger it may very well be suckling she's looking for. My son is 2 and still wants my nipple in his mouth the entire time he's sleeping. Mama, trust your body, turn off the clocks and enjoy your baby. Listen more to your heart and less to the doctors. You've got this.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,147

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    First of all, I have to congratulate you on having a gem for a pediatrician! Do you know how rare it is for a doc to recommend more nursing, instead of less, as a cure for reflux and/or oversupply? Throw that doc an extra co-pay, he/she is worth it!

    Okay, on to your issue. You're right, it's not the worst thing that can crop up in a breastfeeding relationship, but that doesn't mean it's not horribly frustrating! I don't think it's abnormal- it's just one of those weird baby quirks. I don't have any surefire ideas for fixing the issue, but here are some things you can try:
    - Ban the bottles for a few days, and see if your LO will decide that in their absence it makes no sense to kick up a fuss every time she nurses. I am thinking that the issue may be that your LO is too impatient to wait for a letdown, and by using the dribbling bottle trick you're kind of teaching her that she doesn't really need to work for her meals...? Just a thought, not a criticism!
    - Vary your nursing position. Sometimes babies who have to deal with oversupply get resistant to nursing because they know they're going to get blasted with a strong letdown. Nursing in more reclined positions, which enlist gravity to slow milk flow, may be helpful.
    - Talkto your doc about reflux meds- if your baby is on medication she may need to have her dosage adjusted, since babies often outgrow their dose.
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,609

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    There are no unimportant questions, and imo I think this could turm into something serious, because due to it, you are resorting to pumping and bottlefeeding, which could easily snowball, and before you know it, you are no longer breastfeeding.

    If a baby is gaining well at the breast, and nursing does not hurt mom, and mom is not engorged or having other issues related to oversupply, there is almost no need, ever, for interventions of any kind-just let baby nurse when baby wants. If you are in doubt if a cue is a nursing cue or not, simply offer the breast. If baby does not want to nurse right then, offer again soon. ..I don't quite understand why you are insisting baby nurse at a certain time...

    When you say you put a cap of two hours-do you mean you nurse every two hours, no matter what?

    the crying and frustration etc at the breast are often part of normal nursing behavior. yes maybe your flow is less as your supply regulates and baby is getting a bit frustrated. baby needs to learn that suckling triggers a letdown. baby will learn this much faster if you do not give a bottle. the instant reward technique you are using is smart for when baby is too upset. you can also try offering the breast even before baby cues as you like. a calm baby will latch better.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    It's also normal and okay for babies to fall asleep on the breast, although it is hard if you are engorged and desperate for them to nurse! I agree with PPs. I would nurse on demand, as frequently as baby will take the breast but not force the issue. It really sounds like maybe your baby just isn't hungry? Trying to force a small baby to eat is no picnic. Sounds like she is gaining well, etc., so I would just let her sleep.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    She's gaining great and sounds like the latch is comfortable, this is excellent news! Breastfeeding a firstborn can be really tough, cause it's something you've never done before. But like learning to ride a bicycle, it gets easier.

    Here's my advice: put the bottles into storage, let her sleep if she's sleeping, and nurse when she's hungry. You will soon get in the groove.

    Babies hate to be woken up, so unless they are a sleepy baby having trouble gaining, then let them sleep.

    The bottles have the potential to really interfer with things so unless you're going to back to work and need to train her to use them, I would just get rid of them or have a friend across town hold on to them for you!

    Can we talk about the oversupply more? In what way it is causing you or your baby grief? If you just have way too much milk, then you can do block feeding. Basically, take a block of time, start with 3 or 4 hours, then only nurse on 1 side during that time.

    So 3-4 hours on the left side (whenever she's hungry)

    Then 3-4 hours on the right side (whenever she's hungry)

    You can gradually increase the length of the blocks every few days.

    Your milk supply will decrease! She will also be getting more hindmilk with each feeding, so this can reduce fussiness (if this is an issue).

    If your milk supply decreases too much, all you have to do is reduce the block size again and it will go back up.

    Don't be afraid to ask for help, we're here, and it's a very satisfying thing to here you've helped someone. We are looking forward to updates.
    Last edited by @llli*monika.h; September 26th, 2012 at 03:37 AM.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    Wow, thanks to each of you for your helpful responses.
    kst: I went with the pseudo-schedule because the dr suggested it to help me with my confusion about reading her hunger cues. She helped me see that part of the feeding frustration has resulted from my trying to *get* her to eat in response to things that may in fact be a sign of her urge to suck, or tiredness, or simply the need to be near me, rather than a request for food that I must answer even if she fights me (by falling back asleep, sticking her tongue out and pushing the nipple away while trying to latch---which is another common cause of escalating frustration for both of us). The thing is, as far as I know she simply does not comfort nurse. I can remember ONE time, in fact last week when things were going so well, when she hung on gently suckling for several minutes after completing a good long feed. I was happy and let her go as long as she wanted, but nothing like that before or since. The doctor's reasoning was also that every two hours (*at least*, that is) during the day ensures a sufficient number of feedings so that I can let her sleep as long as she wants at night (which is typically 3 hours between feedings, sometimes 4). It has worked well when the day starts off predictably (unlike yesterday and today: she seems to cluster feed in the morning upon first waking up and it throws me off). She is kind of one of those 0 to 60 babies in that some of the most "traumatic" feedings have been after I let her sleep 3+ hours during the day, then it's like she makes me pay for not telling her she was hungry earlier. :P Thanks for the reassurance and advice.

    mommal: I love our pediatrician and that is just one of many reasons! I appreciate the encouragement to just put the bottles away. That makes all the sense in the world--I don't need competition right now. As for positioning, I always do laidback cross-cradle or a modified football hold, and I was all excited about the sidelying position when we got the hang of that last week, but I can't seem to get the baby to latch well consistently that way, and now I have sore and cracked nipples. :/ So I'm putting that aside for now.

    lllmeg: Well, I'm not really insisting on a certain time. I mean that in order to get in enough feedings, and since she only feeds 10 minutes on one side on average (I assume because of fast flow/oversupply), it made sense to me and the doctor not to let her go more than two hours during the day. If she seems hungry before then of course I offer the breast. But I think my problem lies in thinking that if she *seems* hungry to me, but doesn't want to latch, or stay latched and suck instead of falling asleep, then I should keep at it until she has something like a full feeding, which is admittedly dumb. I was reading somewhere about the need to discourage babies from a "snack bar" approach to feedings, which in principle I agree with (who wouldn't prefer to have perfectly spaced and predictable feedings??), but how you implement that with a baby whose state of mind and level of hunger you can really only guess at, I have no idea. Anyway, not letting her go more than two hours helps lessen the chance of her being frantically hungry as soon as I wake her... I know all too well that calm babies latch better! :/ Thanks for the advice and the warning that this could snowball.

    joesmom: heh, I learned early on that if she fell asleep it did *not* mean she was done, contrary to all my assumptions about how I was supposed to know she was full! Thanks for the reminder to relax and let baby take the lead.

    monika: Thanks a lot for the reassurance. I don't have to go back to work so no pressure with the bottles, thankfully. I assume since she takes them fine now, if I wanted to use one occasionally in the future she would be less likely to reject it? I really should put them away for now though. Oversupply...it may be getting better. I think it's been a few days since I felt engorged, which is a good sign. The forceful letdown is still very much there: that's not something that block nursing can help, though, right? I am trying a conservative version of block nursing for now, just keeping her on one side per feeding unless that side feels really empty and she is getting impatient with the trickle even after a letdown. But usually she only goes for 10 minutes, and increasingly I feel like she "empties" the breast in that time, rather than still feeling a little full like I used to (then I would keep her on the same side for the next couple hours).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    I do think nursing your baby frequently is a good idea for addressing oversupply and the fussiness that often goes along with that. But I don't think you need a rigid schedule - just offer the breast a lot, you know? Nursing one side per feeding is how I managed my oversupply/high supply with two children now. I often offer both sides if baby seems really hungry or fussy, though. Again, this is something you can play by ear, and there is no need for a rigid schedule. Watch the baby, not the clock, as I like to say.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tejana View Post

    I think my problem lies in thinking that if she *seems* hungry to me, but doesn't want to latch, or stay latched and suck instead of falling asleep, then I should keep at it until she has something like a full feeding, which is admittedly dumb. I was reading somewhere about the need to discourage babies from a "snack bar" approach to feedings, which in principle I agree with (who wouldn't prefer to have perfectly spaced and predictable feedings??), but how you implement that with a baby whose state of mind and level of hunger you can really only guess at, I have no idea. Anyway, not letting her go more than two hours helps lessen the chance of her being frantically hungry as soon as I wake her... I know all too well that calm babies latch better! :/ Thanks for the advice and the warning that this could snowball.

    monika: Thanks a lot for the reassurance. I don't have to go back to work so no pressure with the bottles, thankfully. I assume since she takes them fine now, if I wanted to use one occasionally in the future she would be less likely to reject it? I really should put them away for now though. Oversupply...it may be getting better. I think it's been a few days since I felt engorged, which is a good sign. The forceful letdown is still very much there: that's not something that block nursing can help, though, right? I am trying a conservative version of block nursing for now, just keeping her on one side per feeding unless that side feels really empty and she is getting impatient with the trickle even after a letdown. But usually she only goes for 10 minutes, and increasingly I feel like she "empties" the breast in that time, rather than still feeling a little full like I used to (then I would keep her on the same side for the next couple hours).
    Sounds like you are feeling better about things, this is good. It really does help to talk things over with people, figure out what you're feeling and what you want to do.

    I'm not sure if block nursing helps with forceful letdown? Maybe a little? I do know that feeding while reclining does help with forceful letdown. Antoher thing you can do is take the baby off when you feel your milk letting down, let it spray, then put her back on.

    We didn't use bottles with DS, but I have heard it's important to give them once in a while if you want them to take a bottle in the future.

    Re the "full feeding" thing. There's alot of this idea out there that babies need full feedings and they shouldn't snack. It's nonsense and it's just going to make you crazy. It's Ok to put them to the breast whenever they fuss, whether it be due to hunger, fatigue, whatever. It's super boob! Lots of newborns, including my DS like to be at the milk bar every hour. If she seems hungry, but won't eat, she can't be that hungry. If she falls asleep, let her. If she's really hungry, you'll know! If you find she's fussy, but doesn't want to eat, then try going for a walk with her in a sling or snugglie. It's good to get out of the house. When our first was born, my mom told me it's important to go for a walk everyday, even if it's just around the block.

    You're doing great, keep it up!
    Last edited by @llli*monika.h; September 27th, 2012 at 12:07 AM.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Does this pattern sound familiar to anyone?

    Well, today has certainly been another lesson in not taking oversupply lightly. The morning started off uneventfully enough, but around 11 the baby woke up with a wet diaper and I changed her, glad to see that she was making her "happy hungry" face (very alert, looking all around with mouth open and breathing fast). I sat down and started her in reclining cross cradle, only to find that my letdown was unusually out of control. She pulled off choking and I took the opportunity to try and catch all the spray in the burp cloth, but the damage had been done: she became impatient waiting for me to relatch her and immediately went into a rage much like Tuesday's. The scream-calm-try to relatch cycle lasted about two hours (so far? she's asleep while latched now after a brief triumph---see below). I tried finger feeding with a syringe after half an hour, thinking that something in her stomach would calm her down, but I should know that principle really doesn't apply to her. Once she's like this it takes nothing less than a long nap and a couple hours between her and the traumatic feeding to get back to normal. Anyway, after the failed syringe feeding brought on more intense crying/screaming than I've ever heard I opened a sunny window and laid down with her in front of it, with her on top of me. After a couple minutes of whimpering, she started rooting and moving around again. In desperation I helped her head toward the nipple just in case something came of it, and lo and behold, she latched, sucked until letdown, and after a couple minutes I slowly slid us onto our sides. She fed calmly for about 10 minutes to my extreme relief, and then spit up a massive amount. Twice. And became very angry again when offered the breast (in response to further hunger cues). I tried lying down again after calming her and though she did keep trying to latch, she was too worked up. Now I forget what even happened to get us to this point: she has been feeding calmly off an on for about an hour, falling asleep several times, and I just moved her so I could get up and get something to drink/eat. She's still asleep but I'm definitely planning on hanging around and offering more food the second I think I see her waking up, for the rest of the afternoon. Of course she could probably use an actual nap at this point, too.

    This was the most intense day yet, and I was so tempted to relieve her with a bottle, but I remembered this thread and am glad I resisted. I feel like if we could work through that eventually, we can work through anything. Thanks again for your encouragement.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •