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Thread: Crying at the breast

  1. #1

    Default Crying at the breast

    Usually in the evenings but also at random times, my baby will cry when offered the breast. I know he's hungry because I see him smacking his lips. But once I try to put him on, he will cry. We will fight each other for a bit, he might shake his head back and forth, root and almost latch but then cry, push me away, and eventually when I have my nipple in his open crying mouth, he will start sucking vigorously, like he's either given up or finally realized I am giving him exactly what he wanted. Is this normal fussing? I don't think it's flow or stomach issues since its before he starts eating. I also don't think it's bottle preference since he's ok for some nursings and not others. It's so frustrating because one second he acts hungry and the next he's refusing. What does he want?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Crying at the breast

    In general this sounds entirely normal to me. It depends a little on baby's age-if a very young baby did this a lot I would be slightly more concerned.

    If you want, you can try offering the breast sooner-before baby even cues if you like. Because some babies just get impatient esp. if they are also getting bottles.

    another tip would be to make sure needed bottles are given in the most breastfeeding supportive way possible and avoid any uneeded bottles or pacifier use so baby continues to associate comfort as well as nouishment with the breast. To a baby it's all the same and that's good.

    I can't link it right now, but search 'toolkit' on this site, you will get the 'tear sheet toolkit' and open the pdf called bottlefeeding the breastfed baby.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Phila, PA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Crying at the breast

    Meg- what would you consider very young? My 3 week old does this behavior once or twice a day- should I be concerned? I do have OALD so I'm not sure if thats the cause. He seems to be getting better at managing it but there are times I dont catch the let down and he comes off spitting.
    Keegan: February 27, 2011
    6 lbs, 14 oz & 19 inches long

    Brennan: November 18, 2012
    7lbs, 4oz & 20 inches long


  4. #4

    Default Re: Crying at the breast

    One time when this happened I tried to give him a bottle instead and he still refused. So that made me feel a little better that he wasn't secretly wishing for a bottle the whole time. My baby is 2 months old.

    The part that makes me nervous is that each one of these sessions will somehow contribute to him hating the breast and not associating it with comfort. He will latch and suck in the end but usually he seems angry about it. Sounds like some moms stop offering after baby refuses but i usually keep trying to get it into his mouth while he's crying because i know he will eventually start to suck. I don't want him to develop breast aversion but if I gave up quickly whenever he refused, he wouldn't eat! Is this doing damage to our bfing relationship?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    585

    Default Re: Crying at the breast

    My LO is a little older than yours, but she sometimes does the same thing, usually when she's tired. If she fusses at the breast, I'll usually do something else with her for a few minutes (like bounce, walk around, sing a song) and then try again, and she'll usually latch on. Also, sometimes just switching to the other breast does the trick - some babies do have a side preference!

    *kakdoyle, when my DD was about that age, she did the same thing. It's all a little bit of a blur now, but I distinctly remember cuddling the baby and telling her 'it's ok, we don't need to eat to have a good time' lol. As long as they're gaining and have adequate output, meeting milestones, etc, I think it's normal.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Crying at the breast

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kakdoyle View Post
    Meg- what would you consider very young? My 3 week old does this behavior once or twice a day- should I be concerned? I do have OALD so I'm not sure if thats the cause. He seems to be getting better at managing it but there are times I dont catch the let down and he comes off spitting.
    i consider 3 weeks 'young' but I don't consider once or twice a day 'often.' babies this age nurse so much, that would typically be a small percentage of nursing time.

    I was thinking it would be a concern if baby was not able to get enough milk due to refusing the breast a lot. Also op mentioned bottles and the general thinking is, the earlier bottles are begun the more potential for bottle use to cause nursing issues.

    But you know what? I was in a rush this am, and did not think this through. looking back at the op and reading it again, this sounds like really typical behavior, especially the head turning or shaking back and forth. I associate that kind of head shaking/turning with misplaced or frantic rooting behavior or nipple searching. I know the nipple is right there in front of baby, but sometimes they can't seem to find it even so.

    I would suggest trying some different nursing positions, laid back in particular. And again, bringing baby to the breast at earliest cues.

    and carm3 is absolutely right, as long as baby is getting enough overall, all is well. Every baby has the occasional fussy or unsatisfactory feeding no matter what age.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; December 11th, 2012 at 04:25 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Crying at the breast

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*coopermama View Post
    One time when this happened I tried to give him a bottle instead and he still refused. So that made me feel a little better that he wasn't secretly wishing for a bottle the whole time. My baby is 2 months old.

    The part that makes me nervous is that each one of these sessions will somehow contribute to him hating the breast and not associating it with comfort. He will latch and suck in the end but usually he seems angry about it. Sounds like some moms stop offering after baby refuses but i usually keep trying to get it into his mouth while he's crying because I know he will eventually start to suck. I don't want him to develop breast aversion but if I gave up quickly whenever he refused, he wouldn't eat! Is this doing damage to our bfing relationship?
    no baby on earth actually prefers bottles, secretly or otherwise! Bottle confusion is one of those subjects there is lots of differing opinions about. Generally I subscribe to the belief that when there is a problem, it has more to do with the bottle flow being so fast and easy, a baby getting lots of bottles may forget how to nurse well. That is why I think that when possible, bottles should be avoided esp. when baby is young, and when needed, I like the paced bottle feeding method, which has several benefits actually.

    But I think the biggest issue, generally speaking, is we (society) tend to equate bottles and the breast. But they are totally different. Bottles are a milk delivery system, nursing is a relationship. A baby nurses at his or her mama's warm breast for sustenance, yes, but also for comfort, entertainment, and the joy of it. I think this becomes much more evident after around 3or 4 months or so, when a baby’s happy/content scale of emotions become so much more readable. Yes a bottle fed baby will learn to enjoy getting his bottle, but all babies are born with an innate need to nurse.

    I suggest, trust your instincts and your baby. Unless you have baby on a nursing schedule, (which is not typically suggested for breastfed babies and can cause many problems,) there is no need to insist baby nurse right then. It is fine to calm baby down and try again 10-15 minutes later, or an hour later, or whenever feels right to you. On the other hand, if you think baby is just really fussy due to hunger and you have the patience to keep trying at the moment, do that. There really is no wrong or right to this part. You do what works for your baby. As long as baby is nursing enough times overall-typically, 8-10 or more times a day, and gaining fine, that is what is important.

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