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Thread: Baby won't nurse due to reflux

  1. #1

    Default Baby won't nurse due to reflux

    Hi there,

    I'm hoping someone out there might have some advice for me, because I am at my wit's end. I really, really want to continue EBF, but it's a daily struggle and my baby doesn't seem to gain much weight.

    My baby was born on 07/11/12, weighing 7 lbs and 8 ounces. At two weeks old she was diagnosed with reflux (GERD). She was put on Zantac and started doing much better. By her 2-month appointment, she had gained four pounds (she was 11 lbs, 7 ounces). A couple of weeks after that, her reflux suddenly became a lot worse and she started refusing to nurse a lot. Since then, it's been a constant struggle to get her to nurse, even though I try to nurse her every two hours at the latest (though only 2-3 times a night). For the past five weeks, we've been hovering around the 12 lbs mark, sometimes she gains a few ounces, sometimes she loses a few.

    Her meds were adjusted twice and she's now been switched to Prevacid, but still no improvement. She basically latches on, sucks for a few seconds, then starts getting fussy and quits. I get her to latch back on ... and the cycle continues. We never get any continuous sucking for more than a few seconds.

    I try pumping/hand expressing milk after each nursing, but haven't been very successful at all. With the pump, I only get a few drops. Manually, I get 1/4 to 1/2 of an ounce three or four times a day. We've started feeding that to her in a bottle at night, which she takes without any problems.

    I've seen an LC multiple times and while she agrees that it's likely reflux, we still haven't been able to get her to nurse better. I've tried tons of different upright nursing positions (e.g. football hold with her sitting upright, her lying on top of me, nursing her in a carrier while standing), but nothing seems to make a difference. It's almost like she's just not that interested in nursing anymore. She must be hungry, but she rarely shows actual signs of it.

    My daughter's pediatrician is monitoring her weight every week, but so far doesn't seem overly concerned (even though she hasn't gained anything in five weeks). She's also tested her for other causes (ear infection, UTI, etc.).

    As far as diapers go, she has about 2-3 poopy diapers per day and 5-6 wet ones (she had more before this phase started). Her poop is frequently green and smells a little odd, almost metallic (could that be from the Mylanta she gets occasionally?).

    I should also add that I've eliminated all dairy from my diet for the last three months (and I've been trying to identify other possible foods that might affect my baby, but haven't found any patterns yet).

    This week, my period returned, so now I'm worried that because of her decreased nursing, my milk supply is dropping.
    Help, please???
    Last edited by @llli*almom; November 4th, 2012 at 02:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Baby won't nurse due to reflux

    what was happening at 2 weeks that baby was diagnosed with reflux?

    Are you sure the behavior changes at 2.5 months were due to a recurrence of the reflux?

    is it possible the initial symptoms of reflux at two weeks were partly due to forceful letdown, and later, at 2.5 months, having grown to rely on the fast flow, your baby started protesting when your production regulated and the milk was 'harder' to extract from the breast? Basically, did you ever have symptoms of over production or forceful letdown?

    did anything else occur at 2 1/2 months to cause milk production to decline or breast refusal issues-bottle or pacifier use, baby placed on a feeding scedule, sleep training, start of birth control-anything else?

    has baby actually had any testing for reflux diagnosis?

    i just wonder-if its reflux, or all reflux, why are the meds and/or the holding baby upright after feedings not working?

    food sensitivities via breastmilk are rare. so, i want to explore other possibilities first.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Baby won't nurse due to reflux

    Hi LLLMeg,

    my daughter was diagnosed with reflux, because she had a few episodes of not breathing for about 7-8 seconds at a time and gagging/choking. While nursing, she would fuss and pull away from the breast. After nursing, she would arch her back and we could hear her gagging and swallowing repeatedly (kind of like the milk was coming back up again). She never actually spits up, so she was diagnosed with silent reflux. We decided not to do the invasive testing, because she seemed to get better on Zantac almost right away. The diagnosis was from two different pediatricians and a couple of LC I went to see agreed.

    Nothing changed significantly at 2.5 months, I think. We've never used a pacifier and we've only recently started giving her one bottle of breastmilk at night (because she's just not eating enough during the day). I guess you could say we might started some form of sleep training, but only in as much as we started consistent bedtime and naptime routines. I still get up with her whenever she wakes up at night (if she doesn't settle back down within 5 minutes or so). At the time (2.5 months), she woke up only once during the night, but during the last five weeks we're back to 2-3 times a night.

    As for the letdown issue, it had occurred to me as well, but I honestly can't tell. I'm a bit on the larger side and I've never been able to "feel" anything at all. I never even felt engorged and I can't tell the different between my breasts being "full" or "empty." The LC thought there might be a bit of a forceful letdown and had me start pumping a bit before feeding my baby, but it didn't make a difference.

    Thanks for trying to help me work through this!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: Baby won't nurse due to reflux

    Hi there, my son also had silent reflux so I sympathize. Your daughter is about 4 months, which for ms was when my son started becoming more distracted and less into nursing. I would nurse in the ergo bouncing around. The position that works best for us is side lying in bed. He still gets distracted so I will keep changing positions. I make funny noises to keep him from whining or fussing. We also play a bit on the bed and then I will encourage him to nurse again.

    Does she like to nurse over night?

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