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Thread: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2012
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    Default 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    So, I had posted about this awhile ago, but it seems to be morphing and still continuing. My DD is 4.5 months old. She is a bit on the small side -- had gained about 4 ozs per week consistently until recently. We traveled quite a bit over the holidays and she did get sick with both a small stomach flu and a cold (which she is still getting over). I guess these are the hazards of being around so many family members...

    Other than a stuffy nose, she seems to be recovered and our ped says that she should be fine, but she has only been putting on 2.5-3 ozs per week for the last few weeks. In addition, she has become very fussy at the breast. Sometimes she will feed for 5-7 minutes and then get frustrated and cry or sometimes she will just pop on and off. I've wondered about low supply. I've never been a great pumper, and a few times after long episodes like this (where I've switched her back and forth many times to keep her eating and interested), I've tried pumping and not been able to get much milk, if any at all.

    But other times, there is clearly milk there and she's just un-interested and fussy. I know she has been getting more distracted and I think that she may have some teeth coming in, so could this contribute to it? Or is it possible that she wants to go longer between feeds now or that she may be tired instead? I know it may be a bad habit, but I have often nursed her to help settler her down before walking her to sleep, but that doesn't seem to be working right now.

    If her weight gain continues to slow, I'm wondering if I should be considering supplementing. I have been trying to pump after she eats to increase supply, as well as to store up milk for a work trip that is coming up where I will need to be gone for 4 days. She still has plenty of wet diapers per day - around 8 very wet cloth diapers. Her BM's have been spreading out across a few days, but she has one regularly at least every 3 days. And she seems to be happy and developing well at times other than feeding.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    I'm pretty sure that weight gain starts to slow down a bit between 4 and 6 months, right? Especially as babies start to get more active, the calories go into movement rather than just into fat storage. Is your pedi concerned about her weight gain? As long as she's still gaining some, and having appropriate diapers, I personally wouldn't worry too much. Especially after having been sick, she might take a bit to bounce back to her normal self.

    I'm sure other moms with more experience will chime in!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Kings Lynn, UK
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    9

    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    I had a similar experience; my lil o is now just over 4 months old x

    About a month ago he caught a really bad tummy bug - he began vomiting lots of milk after each feed and wouldnt let me touch his belly
    - after a few days of him crying everytime I even looked to move away from him & him constsntly at the boob every hour, for half hourly feeds, I called my gp & healthcare advisor. The doctor said there was nothing I could do but keep offering boob for food/comfort. My healthadvisor weighed him and he was a couple oz's down but she wasn't overly concerned as babies do ted to not gain so much aroung 4-6 months.

    It did take him a good couple of weeks for the tummy bug to get out him system though & he is now thriving with a lovely podgy belly.

    Lil o's feeds are now over in about 5-10 mins (i remember not so long ago being up for hours, feeding ever hour, swapping sides after lenghty feeds and so on...) where he will toss, tug ans wrestke with boob...I think he likes to play with his food lol! Thankfully it's not too uncomfortable. Don't worry about offering boob for comfort...the only way my lil o will settle is by offering boob & I will nurse him to naps during the day.

    As long as she is content, enjoying mummy cuddles & a lil play, then I would not worry about suplamenting. But you will hopefully find soon that she'll fight off this nasty bug then she'll be rewarding mummy with a big cheeky grin after each feed x
    xxx New Mummy to Oaklyn Taliesin-James Ward born 28.8.012 xxx
    xxx there's nothing like a mummy cuddle xxx

  4. #4
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    19,913

    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*carm3 View Post
    I'm pretty sure that weight gain starts to slow down a bit between 4 and 6 months, right? Especially as babies start to get more active, the calories go into movement rather than just into fat storage.
    Kellymom says that 0-4 month olds typically gain around 5-7 oz per week, while 4-6 month olds gain around 3.25-4.5 oz per week: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/weight-gain/

    Fussiness at the breast is really common around this age. Sometimes it's teeth. Sometimes it's an ear infection. Sometimes the baby is letting you know that she wants to have a bottle, since bottle-feeding is very easy when compared with breastfeeding. Often it's just discontent with the flow speed- either the baby's ticked that that milk has slowed down, or she's ticked that it's too fast. Either way, switching back and forth between breasts is a great way to deal with the problem.

    Nursing to sleep is NOT a bad habit. Bagpd habits are things like picking your nose in public or cussing in church. Nursing to sleep can be an inconvenient habit, if mom wants or needs to be away from baby at those times when baby is transitioning to sleep. But it's not a bad one. I nursed my kids to sleep every nap and bedtime until age 3, and they did just fine!
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    My LO is 4.5 mos too and recently a very fussy nurser. She will suck for a minute then pop off and look around, pop back on and suck. Then she'll suck and cry at the same time. Then she'll pop off and fuss, pop back on and nurse... You get the picture. I just tell her she's a silly goose and let her nurse/play/fuss until she really seems over it.

    I completely understand the worries about supply but I really think that if her output is good (5-6 wet diapers a day) and she is happy otherwise, you are just fine. Now, if I can just take my own advice... : )

    As for the nursing to calm her down...I hope that's not a bad habit, I nurse my LO all the way to sleep then lay her ever so gently down and sneak away : ) Half the time we do this dance for an hour before she will sleep for 30 minutes! I say if nursing calms her, then nurse away! I love nursing my baby to sleep and wouldn't give it up for anything!

    You're doing a great job mama! Hang in there!
    mom to four energetic kids ages 6,7,8 and our newest arrival born 8/14/2012

  6. #6

    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    My daughter is 8.5 months and has done this off and on since she was two weeks old. It is very frustrating, and when in public, embarrassing because she screams and cries when I try to latch her on! I still have not gotten a clear answer, but my gut tells me she has always had gas pains and her bowels are stimulated when she begins to eat. It appears like she's just not hungry, because she would much rather play, but I know she is hungry (when she hasn't eaten in four hours, for example) and usually tired too. Now we're at the point where she will ONLY nurse if I get her very sleepy first by walking and rocking her, before her naps or before bed, then she eats like a starving child! Another trick I've been using since she was four months old is to bounce with her on a yoga ball or stand up and bounce with her--it's like magic! She suddenly goes from arching away at the breast, to latching on eagerly. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    My LO was also fussing at the breast at about 4 months. Several nursing sessions a day (ones in which he didn't nurse to sleep for nap or nightime) he would nurse for maybe 5 minutes, then pop off, then fuss if I tried to relatch him. This went on for about a week or so. Turns out he was teething, even though I didn't see the teeth coming in when the behavior first started. My solution at the time (other than wait it out) was to put on a long necklace with plastic beads and get him interested in looking, grabbing, and holding the beads. He was so interested in them that he forgot he was fussing about eating . This worked quite well until the teeth came in and he stopped fussing.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    Thanks for the bouncing trick, Elisa. I will have to try that with mine (also 4.5-month-old, fussy, reluctant nurser)! I sure hope this doesn't last that long. It's very frustrating for many reasons, particularly because I can never be at all sure whether she is done nursing for a while, or just launching into a fit but still hungry. I feel like there must be something wrong with me, or with her, but I'm reluctant to talk about breastfeeding concerns with pediatricians because of their reputation for not knowing a lot about nursing behavior and assuming something IS wrong.

    I guess I would like to piggyback on this post, if I may, and ask if anyone else feels like it can't be normal for their baby to be so consistently difficult to nurse? It seems like everything I read during pregnancy prepared me for a lot of sitting on the couch breastfeeding---i.e. at worst, learning to be patient, because babies want to nurse all the time. My baby has never seemed to like nursing: it's more like she gets hungry, I offer the breast at the earliest cues, and she either eats quickly and moves on, or she refuses even when it turns out she absolutely was hungry! Tell me I'm not alone in constantly second-guessing myself...?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    I am with you, PP. Breastfeeding has not been something that my daughter seems to want to do ever. It's seemed like it has always been a bit of a struggle to get her to eat enough and gain weight. I'm going to try the bouncing trick, too. Thanks so much to all of you for the suggestions and for just making me feel normal! It can feel definitely like you are doing something wrong when things go this way...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 4.5 Month Old Frustrated at the Breast?

    I should mention as well that whereas she had been having multiple dirty diapers per day, we are now on the 4th day without a dirty diaper (although still plenty of wet ones) and also the 4th day with basically no weight gain. I know I might just be psyching myself out about this - and maybe she is just changing her habits - but I can't help but worry (which I know is not good for supply!).

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