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Thread: Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

  1. #1

    Question Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

    Hi, everyone. I've been reading these forums since my son was born in January, and have found them really helpful! We had extreme troubles with tongue-tie, posterior-tongue-tie, milk blisters, clogged ducts, and lots of PAIN, but I haven't given up and I'm proud that we've made it this far.

    My concern now is that my son is 3 months old (today!) and he has just recently become really fussy in the evenings and won't nurse or won't nurse well. Starting around 4pm, he gets fussy, cries, refuses to latch on, pulls away from the breast, or latches and sucks for a few seconds, then pulls off crying. He's no longer getting in a good feed before falling asleep for his long stretch of the night (5-6 hours). Often, his last good feed is around 2 pm, and then he does this fussy refusal for the rest of the evening, and doesn't really nurse again until he wakes up at 12am or 1am.

    Plus, he doesn't nurse for long during the night. Usually for a few minutes around 12 or 1, then a few more minutes around 4am. Then he wakes at 7am and generally eats well.

    I'm concerned that he's going so long in the evenings/night without a good feed. I'm also concerned about why he's constantly pulling off or refusing to nurse at these times. I know fussy evenings are common, but I know he must be hungry!!!

    Also, I go back to work in a week, so for the past 2 weeks, my mom has been giving him a bottle or two of expressed milk during the day, so he gets used to taking multiple bottles and being away from me. Could he be developing a bottle preference?

    Is he starving himself in the evenings, or will he become dehydrated? Is there something else I should be doing to get him to eat better?

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,923

    Default Re: Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

    How much is in the bottles? Is he perhaps eating so much from them that he's not hungry before bed?
    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!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

    I generally put 3 1/2 oz in the bottles. Sometimes he drinks it all, sometimes he leaves some.

    Is that too much?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,923

    Default Re: Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

    I think that it's a little on the high side for a "training" bottle- remember, breastfed babies generally only take between 20 and 30 oz of milk per day, usually around 1.5 oz per hour of separation for mom, so 7 oz is between a third and a quarter of his daily intake (approximately). I think I'd stick to offering 1-2 oz in those daily bottles. So that baby learns of to take a bottle, but doesn't fill up too much. Does that make sense?

    All that being said, I am thinking that the evening fussiness is more about your baby being a baby, and less about how much he's getting in a bottle. Have you tried nursing him in a dark, quiet room, or in a warm bath? Sometimes a change in sensory input can short-circuit the fussiness.
    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
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

    Could he be teething? It's definitely not unheard of that baby could get teeth this early (some babies are born with a few teeth!). My LO developed some general fussiness in the afternoons about 2 weeks before he got his first tooth--this started when he was 3.5 months, just slightly older than your LO. He would fuss, refuse the breast, and we would battle to get in a good feed. After a few days of talking to people and trying to figure out what was up, I threw on a string of plastic, non-painted marti gras beads, draping them over whatever shoulder corresponded to the side on which he was feeding. He immediately became fascinated with the beads, and instead of fussing and pushing away, he accepted the breast in his mouth and busied his hands with touching the beads. Maybe you could try something similar?

    Props to you for your determination despite a TT and continued pain. I was in a similar situation, but stuck it out and am now at 9.5 months of a good breastfeeding relationship!
    Andie

    born 6/13/2012

    ~First-time Mama~
    and now finished with

  6. #6

    Default Re: Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

    Thank you, ladies. He seems to have good evenings and bad evenings, so I think you're right, Mommal, it's just him being a baby. And maybe he was sometimes filling up too much on the bottles, even though they were replacing skipped nursing sessions.

    I just worry that he's fussy because there isn't a lot if milk there. Sometimes I notice that now it takes him a long time to get a letdown late in the day. Is that strange?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,923

    Default Re: Baby fussy & refuses to nurse in late afternoons (long)

    It's very common for letdowns to be slower in the later part of the day. You're tired and stressed, and baby is tired and cranky and maybe not nursing as well as usual... Best thing you can do is to relax as much as possible, and allow baby to take the time he needs to get a meal. I think a lot of moms fall into this trap of trying to make things easy on the baby. For example, if the baby doesn't like slow letdowns, the mom will try pumping or speeding up the letdowns in order to get him fed quickly and with a minimum of fussing. But if she does that, then baby never learns how to nurse when things aren't absolutely perfect, and mom is in a perennial state of needing to tweak her supply in order to keep baby happy... Which is why I think it makes sense to engage all your patience and let baby learn how to manage your letdowns and your supply all by himself.
    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!"

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