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Thread: Nursing position trouble

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    14

    Default Nursing position trouble

    My daughter is 16 weeks and we are still having daily struggles with breastfeeding. I work part time so she gets bottled expressed milk that I pump while I'm at work. I have been struggling with overproduction but she manages that pretty well now. My problem is I have a hard time getting her to nurse in any position besides laying down. Even laying down she fights me sometimes. I try to get her sleepy and then try and still sometimes am unsuccessful. It gets me very frustrated, she usually nurses every 2 hours in the evenings and I like her last feeding to land around 10 pm so I can nurse her before I go to bed and she sleeps until 7 AM. Any advice on how to get her to relax and quit fighting me? Am i maybe just trying to feed her when she's not hungry (she really has no hunger cues because she is constantly sucking on her hands). I would really like to be able to nurse in the rocking chair in our living room in the evenings so I don't have to seclude myself to the bedroom all the time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,329

    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    I have a couple suggestions. Sorry you are probably going to hate the first one!

    First, I suggest to stop trying to “schedule” any feedings. I understand wanting to get a certain amount of sleep, and I understand you are working. And yes, a more regular nursing pattern may well be emerging at this age and that is normal. But while some babies will sleep 8 hours at night, typically, 4 month old babies do not sleep more than about a 5 hour stretch at night (some do not sleep that long) and in any case they still need to nurse when they are hungry and for comfort. Also going a long time between sessions makes forceful letdown (if that is part of the overproduction issue) worse. Trying to get baby to nurse at a different time then what their body is telling them to do may have the same effect on their appetite as you being awoken at 3 am and told to eat a big breakfast might. So if your baby is fighting you when YOU want to nurse at 10 pm, but will nurse fine at (for example) 1 am, that is simply normal.

    Second, when you say your baby will only nurse laying down, do you mean sidelying? Or are you lying down in bed with baby on top of you? have you tried nursing 'laid back?' (reclined with baby on "top?") Yes it sounds like laying down, but it really isn't, or need not be-it can work with mom just leaning back, like in a "couch potato" position. It is a very adjustable position, I even do it in a straight backed chair.

    Third, Maybe the rocker is the problem, they can be kind of restrictive. Do you have a couch in the living room you guys can be less restricted on and play around with positions on? Also, FYI, 4 months is a pretty notorious time for distraction and "weird" nursing behavior, it is called the "4 month fussies" so it may just be a stage as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    14

    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    Thanks for the advice, it's never the 10 PM feeding she refuses, she always takes that one fine. It's usually the second morning feeding and then the feedings around 7 PM that she hates. I am usually playing catch up on feedings in the evening trying to get them all in so that she will sleep through the night. For example this morning she latched on, took a few sucks acted like the hated the taste of milk and kept sucking then spitting it out and then started crying. In the evening shell latch on take a few sucks that starts crying. And she prefers to nurse in side lying (but sometimes she'll refuse that too). She wont let me recline back when she nurses she freaks out like she hates to be held that way. She never really has a good latch and my breasts are only an A cup so we struggle to find a good way to hold her that she likes. Usually by the end of the feeding she will have a good latch but rarely to begin with (and I think it's just due to my anatomy).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    307

    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    Hugs to you, I felt like I could have written this post myself! My baby does the same exact thing, literally. She will only nurse side lying, except for a very very rare occasion. It is very frustrating, however, I've learned to just accept it. She is 4 months old, EBF and won't even take a bottle.

    One thing I've been doing is just lying next to her without my breast exposed if she seems to signal to me that she wants to nurse. We just lie down, and I wait. Sometimes I make it really playful and smile, tickle, etc. If she turns towards me I quickly get ready and latch her on. Sometimes she will turn her head completely away and not even look at me! It kind of hurts my feelings but I know it's not my fault (I have a very fast flow/very intense letdown sensations that are borderline painful). We have struggled with oversupply and I don't pump at all, I just stay home with my two girls. It seems to be under control now. Anyway I lay there for 5 minutes, and sometimes she does change her mind and will latch on and feed well. Maybe you could try that? Also, I would definitely make sure you think she is actually hungry and signaling to feed. When I tried to feed my baby by thinking, hey it's been a few hours maybe I'll try and see, it doesn't work out. She has to signal that she wants to nurse or she usually isn't interested, unless she's really sleepy or in a growth spurt. By the end of the day she comfort nurses to sleep, usually we lay down for 30-60 minutes. If your baby is fighting you it probably means "no thanks Mom"! Trust me, I know that is hard to accept...sometimes I feel like she must be hungry, but I guess she's not, because when she's ready she eats very well and empties the breast.

    I totally feel what you are saying, it seems very hard to get my baby comfortable in any other position. She happens to be quite long, she's off the charts for length, so I imagine that along with my fast flow isn't very conducive to upright feeding positions.

    Also, to help change my perspective I just view it as "eating at the table". Usually I eat at the table, I prefer that spot. Rarely, I'll eat in the living room or in the car. I try to think of the side lying as her eating at the table, her preference. It's kind of embarrassing when I have guests over and I have to do it, but oh well she has to eat! It's really the only thing that works for us, and so far she's thriving. I'm sorry it's such a struggle for you, hopefully when both of them get older maybe they could handle the flow better in a sitting position.
    Last edited by @llli*karrieperry; April 5th, 2013 at 01:15 PM.
    and Mama to two little girls

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    307

    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    Also, this was very helpful to me: http://www.mobimotherhood.org/mm/article-refusal.aspx

    Scroll down to the bottom and you'll see the section "Woo Baby back to the breast", it talks about the breast flow like a water fountain, and how you approach the breast (if you're the baby) depends on how fast the milk is coming out. My baby won't even lay tummy-to-tummy, she started feeding very well once she started lying on her back with just her head turned towards me. I questioned this at first, I thought she'd spit up and choke and have gas, but she doesn't at all. She nurses to sleep at 5:30pm, then stays in bed all night until 12 hours later, nursing 2 times per night. She doesn't even fully wake up.
    and Mama to two little girls

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    I heard that breastfeeding laying down can cause ear infections.... Is that true?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*faelmari View Post
    I heard that breastfeeding laying down can cause ear infections.... Is that true?
    No. But if baby has an ear infection, nursing lying down (or just lying on their side for whatever reason) can cause it to hurt more.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    62

    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    My EBF 3 MO will only nurse side-lying. Cries the moment I go tummy-to-tummy, even if I wait until she's good and into a session then roll with her. She screams when I try to nurse in a chair or laid back, even if I know she is hungry, then she will guzzle it once we get side-lying. We've had oversupply issues, but I seem balanced now.

    Anyone with advice on cracking this one, please let me know! I can't be out-and-about all day without feeding her, or she'll be up every hour at night to catch up. Also, all this side-lying time means I can't sit in the living room with the family or nurse while eating. I'm tied to the bed all day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    Kayla, I responded to this post about 3 months ago, and I was in exactly your shoes.

    I had oversupply and then honestly it did go away, but my baby still hated tummy-to-tummy. The only way she would eat is lying flat on her back, with me side lying. This lasted for a good 3-4 months. I fed her in my bed every. single. time. She wouldn't eat in the living room, nowhere else. So that's like 1200 feedings I did in my bed. In a row. She has never taken a bottle once. I felt very isolated and even depressed a bit, but...

    She got over it!!!! I'd had enough. I was still willing to do it because I'd step in front of a bus for her, she is my pride and joy. But I pushed her a bit, because I knew the let down was no longer forceful enough to cause choking and my supply was 100% normal/average after 5 months. It took that long for the supply to tame down.

    One mistake I made was not wearing breast-accessible clothing out and about, because I figured she wouldn't be eating. That was a mistake. I now make sure I can bfeed discreetly/comfortably any where any time, no matter what. That makes me feel confident in offering no matter who is watching. I realized that we'd been feeding in the bed so long that I had stopped offering as much and was almost restricting her. Things weren't going so well, it seemed like we were both really unhappy (this is at about 5.5 months).

    I started offering while I was sitting up all the time. Every where we went, in the rocking chair, on the grass, in the car, at friend's houses. And guess what? Now she nurses in the car, she nurses in the rocking chair, etc. Not quite as well as side lying, but enough so that she gets a good feed. It took her a few weeks to be really accepting of it and I tried to be gentle in convincing her. If she didn't want to I went back to lying down. She seems to really enjoy nursing now, I think I've gained her trust and she knows I'll be there any time any place. Finally things are going awesome! And I was the last person I ever thought would write that.

    So, while this may be really hard for you right now, my guess is that it will pass in a few months as it did for me. In a few months your baby will be much more able to handle a fast flow and might be more willing to step out of her comfort zone. I ultimately accepted the situation I was in as part of our relationship, and in order to keep our nursing relationship going well I kept doing it. It was really really hard. I have a 3 year old to take care of all day too. Hang in there! I would keep offering once a week in a different position. Chances are that sooner or later she will accept.
    As for the idea that a nursing mom can ALWAYS nurse a baby wherever (you mentioned while eating, with family), that is simply untrue. A few very lucky moms probably have babies that don't care about distractions or watching people talking in a room instead of nursing. But for the most part, babies at the 3, 4, even 5 month stage are distractable. Some babies even start biting if they realize they don't have your full attention while nursing! It's their special time with you. All of my friends who have nursed have had to nurse in a quiet room for a significant period of time.

    sorry I wrote you a book but I know how much support someone needs in this situation, I sure did.
    and Mama to two little girls

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    307

    Default Re: Nursing position trouble

    the other thing is that your oversupply may be gone, but the letdown itself may be too much. Her screaming would indicate to me that she really can't cope with the sitting up position for whatever reason.
    and Mama to two little girls

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