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Thread: PLEASE HELP!!! My 5 month old is sick and stopped eating!

  1. #1

    Question PLEASE HELP!!! My 5 month old is sick and stopped eating!

    We've been to two emergency rooms in two different hospitals. Started 4 days ago, he was running a fever of almost 104. Doctors said "not to worry, its a virus, which will go away in 7 days". The fever is much less now, off and on ~100-101. He is even smiling form time to time.

    He lost a lot of weight during these days. But the main problem, he is not eating at all. He is refusing to take my wife's breasts and even bottle. He is just crying and spitting everything out. We tried to pre-pump the milk first to help him get started, and he will actually eat for a minute while the milk is really flowing, but then he is refusing to try to suck at all.

    When we are giving him the bottle, it looks like he does not understand how to suck on the nipple. He just chews on the nipple in the right or left side of his mouth, but not much is coming out. We are trying to feed him from the spoon, and its barely working, but very very slow. It takes an hour to feed him about 4oz, as he is always crying.

    My wife is crying, thinking that she is losing the milk and extremely worried about his health, and I of course.

    Don't know what to do and how to help him.

    Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP!!! My 5 month old is sick and stopped eating

    How scary for you and your wife! (And the little one, as it's obvious that he's miserable too)!

    I don't have any miracle advice but wanted to commiserate over your situation. About 3 weeks ago my 6 mo old got a bad cold and stopped eating for 3 days. He wouldn't nurse or take a bottle and I fed him no more than a couple oz a day from a cup. I was devastated and worried sick, cried the whole time and felt like it would never end. Now, he's back to his normal self and taking bottles but no matter what I've tried, he still refuses to nurse. It's heartbreaking but I'm trying to focus on his health and well-being instead of the loss of breastfeeding.

    It's not uncommon for babies to refuse to suck when they are sick or teething, and the most important thing to watch for is that he doesn't get dehydrated. If the ER doctors don't think he's in danger of that then they won't admit him yet. I wonder if he may be developing an ear infection so I would take him to his pediatrician as soon as possible. He/she will have more/better advice about the nursing strike. It's important that through the strike your wife pumps regularly to keep her milk supply. From what I've read and been advised during our strike, as difficult as it is, try to remain calm and comforting to him because he's even less likely to nurse if he senses your stress and fear.

    Our doctor advised us that babies won't starve to death if they don't eat for a few days when they're sick. One thing I noticed is that my son preferred cold bottles while he was ill. I think they soothed his throat.

    Good luck, be strong! My heart goes out to you both and I hope he comes around soon!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP!!! My 5 month old is sick and stopped eating

    Welcome to the forum! I am sorry your baby got so sick. A 104 degree fever is so scary, especially with such a young baby! You may want to read up on rashes now, since a viral infection is often followed by a rash, and if you spot one of the characteristic ones you may have a better feeling about what's troubling your LO. Anyway, here's a very basic link on rashes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exanthem

    Don't be afraid to use some Tylenol (acetominophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen) to deal with baby's pain and fever. Reduce the discomfort and baby may be more likely to nurse, or at least take a bottle.

    Now, on to breastfeeding. As long as baby continues to have sufficient wet diapers, you know he's not dehydrated. So watch his diaper output carefully. If that drops below normal or he seems to be lethargic or his mucous membranes (like in his mouth) seem very dry, it's time to go back to the doctor.

    Mom should continue to offer the breast frequently, and not worry too much if baby prefers to eat lightly or only for a minute or two. Frequent feedings will make up for short, light feedings. If baby refuses to nurse, then mom should consider keeping up her supply with the pump- as long as she uses the pump to compensate for missed feedings, she won't lose her supply, and any dip in supply will be made up for by the baby once he's well and nursing enthusiastically again.

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