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Thread: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurse

  1. #1
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    Default 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurse

    my DD will be 4 months on thurday 12/6. I will preface this by saying that she STTN in her own room in her crib and has been doing this now since 10 weeks of age. She is also a thumb sucker.

    this is the second time this has happened now. First time was sunday at same time of day [5pm-ish].

    Put baby to breast and she nursed off right side, milk lets down, and then the flow slows/stops, and she pops off [normal for her]. I switch her to left side, which is what i always do [nothing new] and she [usually] eats off that side for another 5 mins. This time though, she would suck suck suck pop off, cry, fuss, suck suck suck, etc, repeat. I worked with her for a good 15 mins on and off, in between, stopping to walk around with her, etc. and try again..in hopes that she would stimulate my let down on that side and stay on the breast. but, she wouldnt. I put her in boppy next to me, talked to her while I double pumped. got 1.5 oz off left side, and .5 oz off right side [remember she nursed off that side first]....last time i fed her before this was 3 hrs prior and she fed well and took a nap.

    So, I pumped and then just let it go. I did offer her 1/2 oz. of BM in bottle and she took it fine. was also fine after and didnt "cry" for more. So, i just figured i'd bathe her like I do every night, and then attempt to nurse her after her bath. I was able to nurse her after her bath, she was sooo tired and I figured if anytime, she may do it then. She slept through most of that feeding though but glad enough that she nursed well to get let downs on both sides.

    The fact that this happened twice now, Im just wondering what the issue is? I think that maybe my milk wasnt letting down fast enough for her..i dunno? I think she may be starting to teethe already too, shes been chewing on her fingers and everything lately and has clamped down on my nipple a few times already recently.

    I have been back to work now for almost a month. I know its normal for milk supply to be lower in the later afternoon and evening. So, im wondering if that is the issue, since its happened at the same time the two times its happened now. My breasts definately don't feel full anymore most of the day. they feel full most up until noon-1pm, then they feel empty rest of day, [even though i know they arent]

    if that is the case, what could i do to help?

    before I returned to work I was pumping around 9-10pm every night, before I went to bed. Since I went back to work, I stopped doing this and only pump while at work now [2 nights each week...friday and sat I pump around 11pm and 3am]. I do have to sleep though during the day for several hours..sat. i sleep the longest for about 6 hrs straight and sunday about 4-5 hrs. [i work night shift]...but i only do this each weekend. and during the week mon-thurs i am with baby and nurse her.

    I have never seen her get upset and frustrated like she did today and it really upset me and is stressing me out. I dont want her to have to work for the milk that hard if that is the problem. I realize this also may only be temporary and will likely resolve. But, I nursed my son for 13 months and he never acted this way and i dont recall him ever refusing to nurse.

    I am going to pump tonight before bed and likely will continue to do this for a bit to see if it makes a difference. DD nurses about 5x per day right now...7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm...[typically]..but somewhere give or take half hour each way....and some days once more.

    suggestions please! thank you!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    bump

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    4 months of age is a typical time for 'weird nursing behavior.' But there area couple things you mention that concern me so I just want to clarify

    When you say baby STTN, how long is that? And is that with no nursing at all during that time? Some babies (in particular ones who bedshare with mom) may sleep all night (maybe in your case, day) but 'dream feed' during that time without truly waking.

    When you say baby nurses 5 times a day, do you mean since this breast refusal started? Or was baby on a schedule like this prior?

    Because my first thought is that may not be often enough. A breastfed baby typically takes in approximately 30 ounces a day. That would be almost impossible for a baby to take in, in only 5 or 6 feedings per day. If baby has been gaining well, that means this has worked so far, but unfortunately such infrequent feedings will probably also lead to milk production issues.

    So my first suggestion is to offer the breast more often overall. This would do two things-one, (assuming baby nurses) it will increase milk supply IF that is part of the problem. And 2) it would make each feeding less important, if that makes sense...so if baby is fussy and not getting much at one feedings, try again in a half hour or hour or so, and it's not a big deal they did not get much before. If you are nursing more like 8-10 times a day, (or more) intake at each session can vary (as it does, normally) and it is not such a big deal overall Also, baby is not getting so hungry between feedings they get too impatient to nurse effectively which is another possibility. The best thing about simply offering to nurse more often is, there is no downside, as there is to almost every other possible intervention (such as more pumping, more bottles etc.)

    What do you think?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; December 5th, 2012 at 10:08 AM. Reason: typos

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    4 months of age is a typical time for 'weird nursing behavior.' But there area couple things you mention that concern me so I just want to clarify

    When you say baby STTN, how long is that? And is that with no nursing at all during that time? Some babies (in particular ones who bedshare with mom) may sleep all night (maybe in your case, day) but 'dream feed' during that time without truly waking.

    When you say baby nurses 5 times a day, do you mean since this breast refusal started? Or was baby on a schedule like this prior?

    Because my first thought is that may not be often enough. A breastfed baby typically takes in approximately 30 ounces a day. That would be almost impossible for a baby to take in, in only 5 or 6 feedings per day. If baby has been gaining well, that means this has worked so far, but unfortunately such infrequent feedings will probably also lead to milk production issues.

    So my first suggestion is to offer the breast more often overall. This would do two things-one, (assuming baby nurses) it will increase milk supply IF that is part of the problem. And 2) it would make each feeding less important, if that makes sense...so if baby is fussy and not getting much at one feedings, try again in a half hour or hour or so, and it's not a big deal they did not get much before. If you are nursing more like 8-10 times a day, (or more) intake at each session can vary (as it does, normally) and it is not such a big deal overall Also, baby is not getting so hungry between feedings they get too impatient to nurse effectively which is another possibility. The best thing about simply offering to nurse more often is, there is no downside, as there is to almost every other possible intervention (such as more pumping, more bottles etc.)

    What do you think?
    She has been STTN for 10-12 hrs straight since 10 weeks...without nursing. She is a thumb sucker. She sleeps in her own room in her crib. prior to this she was sttn for 8 hrs starting at 6 weeks of age. my son STTN too, and was a thumb sucker, but not this soon. he didnt sleep 12 hrs until he was almost at year old. I was still nursing him once overnight until 8 months of age.

    No, she has been eating about 5-6 times per day for a good month now. I dont have a schedule but just feed her when she wakes up, shes awake, then she goes for a nap and usuaslly wont nurse prior to her nap..she prefers her thumb, and doesnt want "milk"...so then she nurses when she wakes up from her nap, etc...all day. her last feeding is somewhere around 7-830pm and she doesnt feed again until 630-730am. she weighs roughly 14 lbs at 4 months. she is a chunky baby!


    I agree about trying to offer more often? That is what i have been doing today...figuring if I tried esp before she naps, she would take it since she is tired and wants to suck...but..it didnt work she pulled off and kept arching her back , etc. I did give her tylenol bout an hr ago thinking if it was her teeth bothering her maybe that would help to allow her to nurse, but she wouldnt

    She is passed out right now. She has two decent feedings today. First when she woke at 630am...both breasts...[and they are typically full since she doesnt eat all night]...and then i offered before her morning nap at 8am and she ate only off the left side. I offered the right breast around 10am prior to picking up my son at pre k and she wouldnt take it so i didnt push and she seemed happy still...and i pumped instead....and got 4.5 oucnes off both sides. and then i offered again at noon right before i was going to lay her down and again she refused. im going to pumm in a few mins. im so upset over this...

    ..and to make matters worse, i cant NOT give her a bottle b/c she will be with my mom this weekend...I have to work....its not an option

    I nursed my son for 13 months and he never refused like this

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    YES. i have been having the same problem, but revolving around a pacifier.
    she prefers the "tootsie" (as we call it) to nursing. she has been nursing aroubd 5-7 times a day. when she nurses, i HAVE to give her the tootsie first, for 5 minutes or so, until she is almost asleep. THEN and ONLY then will she actually nurse. during a bad nursing session, she pops off, screams, arches her back, and gets totally stressed. lots of crying. she will TOTALLY flip her lid if i take her tootsie away from her while i am getting ready to nurse. the second i lay her into the nursing position, she cries for tootsie.
    do you think the same is happening with the thumb?
    my LO is 7.5 mos, BTW. i know this is a lot older than your peanut, but i see some similarities here.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    Was this article already suggested? ots of great ideas for encouraging baby to nurse- http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    Well I am sorry but I am a bit stumped, but here are some thoughts…
    lizeckel, With the pacifier, this is yet another example of how pacifiers are sometimes problematic. But that is no help to you right now, and I certainly don't want to start a paci war, because some babies take the pacifier, even frequently, and have no breastfeeding issues. It's just one of those things!

    As far as thumb sucking goes, what are you going to do, that is something baby learned to do in the womb, probably. My 4 month old daughter is also a huge thumb/hand/finger sucker and has been since the womb, according to all my ultrasounds! My older kids did not do this at all, and I have also worried quite a bit that she will start preferring comforting that way over nursing. From day one I have frequently had to pry her hand out of her mouth prior to nursing.

    All I can say, is, I think you are both on the right track trying to address this asap. Comfort nursing is, for many babies, an integral part of nursing that, I believe, usually increases nursing duration when encouraged. So while other comfort measures are usually fine in moderation, doing all you can to let baby nurse as much as possible and find comfort at the breast will help, I believe, overall.

    I would not stress over this weekend of baby getting the bottle, or any necessary bottle use. Encouraging baby to nurse again/more often/comfort nurse will be a process that will likely take time.

    I would suggest, if this is not happening already, that caregiver use paced bottle feeding method. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    I think I figured out what my problem was/is...I started my first AF this morning!!!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    i'm sorry, what is "AF"?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    Aunt flo. I always thought it was a technical term until I looked it up right now

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 4 month old fussing/angry at breast and refusing to nurs

    yes it is pretty typical to have a temporary and usually harmless dip in milk production just prior to a period, and this seems to often be most noticeable if it is the first one after baby's birth. So that makes sense. If you continue to have any issues, try the kellymom ideas and/or nursing more frequently, again I suggest.

    fyi for any one interested, long sleep stretches/less frequent nursing tends to increase the likelihood that fertility returns sooner rather than later for a breastfeeding mom.

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