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Thread: Baby pulling off nipple and fussing while nursing

  1. #1

    Default Baby pulling off nipple and fussing while nursing

    Within the last few days, my 5-week-old daughter has started getting fussy while nursing. Not every single time, but often. Sometimes as soon as I lay her down to nurse, she shrieks like she's in pain. I sit her up, calm her down, and then the same thing happens when she tries to nurse again.
    Sometimes she will frantically latch on and suck for a few seconds and then pull off and cry. This goes on in cycles.
    I'm not sure what has changed or what to do. I can't think of anything different in my diet. I've been nursing her in the same two positions using the My Brest Friend pillow since she was born.
    It's heartbreaking that she doesn't want to nurse and I'm at a loss. Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    9,854

    Default Re: Baby pulling off nipple and fussing while nursing

    Hi and welcome. A few things can cause what you are describing. There is no way your 5 week old does not want to nurse. Fussiness and pulling off might just be a normal and temporary variation or it may mean something is going on, but infants are compelled by biology to nurse because their survival depends on nursing both for food and for the security of knowing their mother is there protecting them.

    First I would suggest try different positions. Maybe baby would prefer to not be laid down on her side on the pillow to nurse. Have you tried a position such as laid back breastfeeding where baby could be more aligned with your body so her head is more above her tummy? You can be sitting up, just leaning back, as far or as little as you prefer. You do not need to actually lie down to do laid back.

    I know it can be hard to let go of the pillow when it has helped you so much thus far, but eventually even the best pillows start to get in the way of you and baby finding positions that work best for you as time goes on. Of course you could also try leaning back to nurse with the pillow. This won't change her position but it might slow flow if that is part of the issue, and actually it would act to change where the pillow is placing pressure on her body, which might make a difference for reasons too complicated for me to explain here.

    Any signs of a fast letdown? These would be things like baby gasping or choking or coughing at the breast, or might be indicated if you have feelings of high milk production like feeling very full or engorged between nursing sessions.

    Fast letdown and many other issues are exacerbated if there are long periods between nursing sessions. How many times in 24 hours does baby usually nurse overall? Has baby been taking longer sleep breaks?

    Some babies become upset and have a harder time latching and sucking calmly if there is delay getting baby to the breast when baby cues. This is helped by offering to nurse even before baby cues, eliminating delays, and calming baby before nursing when there was an unavoidable delay.

    Sometimes illness or pain might cause this type of thing. Any signs at all of a cold, earache, etc?

    Many moms think that baby pulling off and fussing has something to do with something mom ate. But as far as I know this is not a sign or in any case, in no way a reliable sign of food allergies or reactions.

    Sometimes a baby becomes habituated to bottles or pacifiers and consequently starts to refuse the breast. This can take many months to happen with some babies and with others it might just take a few days. If you have been giving your baby any bottles or using a pacifier, that may be a cause of breastfeeding issues. If you think that might be part of it, it would help us to know more about the bottle and pacifier use (how much, why, etc.)
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; January 5th, 2017 at 11:28 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,776

    Default Re: Baby pulling off nipple and fussing while nursing

    with all of the above!

    A lot of young babies develop quirky behaviors at the breast after a few weeks of nursing. Often it's a sort of Goldilocks approach to nursing- they want their milk to come out just right, not too fast and not too slow. If this is what's happening, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it's not your responsibility to make the milk come out at just the right speed. This is one of your daughter's first opportunities to learn how to get her needs met herself! If you can just be patient and let her learn, the quirks should disappear as she disovers how to nurse in such a way that she can make her preferred flow happen.

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