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Thread: 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

  1. #1
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    Question 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

    So objectively breastfeeding has gone very well for both of us: baby has been more than amply nourished (6 lbs 12 oz at birth, 18+ lbs by 6 months!) and I have never had any pain or infection issues at all. I am so grateful! But I am a first-time mom and have some serious insecurity about the way my baby has never seemed to comfort nurse---on the contrary, she regularly goes through phases of outright refusing to nurse except while asleep.

    In the beginning I could blame it on bad oversupply/overactive letdown, then reflux (due almost entirely, as it turns out, to cow's milk intolerance---no reflux at all since I cut out all dairy from my diet). Later on it was distractibility, which is still a problem for sure, but clearly not always the culprit. And now I am just hoping this latest difficult streak is more teething (she has two, and I *think* the first two caused less feeding and more night waking). When she wakes at night lately, besides the normal 2-3 wakings to nurse, she will sometimes refuse to nurse in no uncertain terms and scream until I find another way to comfort her back to sleep.

    Maybe this is also relevant: baby is a BIG thumb sucker. It makes me wonder why, if teething is to blame for the refusal to nurse, it doesn't bother her to suck her thumb so much. I try to discourage it when awake, or offer to nurse whenever it seems to be vigorous/an indicator of hunger. The number of times I offer during the day is WAY more than the number of actual feedings we get in. (The norm these days is five minutes or less, one side, every 3-4 hours. With at least a couple solid nighttime feedings this is enough to keep enough diapers wet that I'm not worried about her overall intake.)

    I read *one* LLL article (written by a leader, I think) where the author had oversupply and felt like her daughter never really enjoyed nursing, throughout the first year, and then she weaned herself around 12 months. Everything else I read or hear is completely the opposite--babies love to nurse and will rarely self-wean before 18 months. So at least there is that one example, but I can't help feeling insecure, being in the apparent minority. I'm just wondering if anyone else has had this kind of experience?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

    I can definitely relate, and my baby (second) is only 4 months.

    There have been weeks where I have felt just like you, very insecure thinking that she just plain doesn't like to nurse and only does it because she has to, but then there are weeks when she seems to really enjoy it. I wouldn't say she "loves" it. That was a huge surprise, because like you, it seems like all the descriptions I hear are about "baby loves to nurse". Mine definitely nurses to sleep at night and through the night, but not in the day. My baby will only nurse side-lying with me, and until very recently only in the bed! Until I figured out that was her favorite spot, nursing did not go very well most days (except at night). About 2 months ago I started nursing her on my bed and then things started to go much better. I had oversupply as well, and I think it really bothered her. She is still very sensitive if I try to nurse her when there is still a lot of milk and she was just looking to be comforted, she hates that! And also if she is overtired she refuses to nurse, which I don't think is all that strange, makes sense to me.

    So, this is what I was thinking about your situation:

    1. Maybe stop trying to offer so often, if you are offering much much more than she is actually nursing? I have stopped trying to offer nursing at every possible moment, because like yours, my baby isn't in love with nursing in general. She does like it, but ever since I stopped offering so much she seems a lot more eager to nurse! I think by not offering so much I actually learned her cues and now I only offer when she cues. As long as I do that I feel more confident in the whole experience.

    2. Maybe your baby just likes her thumb for comfort? Mine likes her fingers, but I think lots of BF babies like thumbs and fingers, doesn't necessarily mean they don't like nursing. Also, if you still have oversupply even a little bit, maybe baby knows that and knows that if she turns to the breast for comfort it will likely be full of food and she just doesn't want food. When I offer in the morning for comfort, I always get rejected because I'm pretty full. Later in the day is a different story.

    You said your baby is nursing about 5 min on one side every 3-4 hours and she has plenty of diaper output, that would indicate to me that you have lots of milk...I'm new at this so hopefully someone would chime in to correct me. My baby fed exactly like that (8 times per day) when I had oversupply. She actually feeds more often and for longer than she did as a newborn, which is kind of the opposite of what most people say will happen.

    I can totally relate to feeling insecure and a bit rejected. However, I did check out this site and it helped me so, so much to understand her body language, and I'm guessing that lack of comfort nursing may have to do with milk flow, but then again maybe not. It certainly was the case for me until my supply calmed down. http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/article-milkflow.aspx This is by far the best info I have ever found, cleared up so much for me and I joined their support group (had a very bad first experience with nursing my oldest).
    Last edited by @llli*karrieperry; April 9th, 2013 at 04:56 PM.
    and Mama to two little girls

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

    Oh man, thanks so much for your post. I recognize my baby in a lot of what you wrote, including the mystifying 4-6-month side-lying only phase! Now she won't do that at all--she thinks I'm trying to roll her over or play or something. Oh well. And as you said, nights are a different story. I so don't even mind the night-waking (okay maybe just a tad the next day...): it's almost always peaceful, I can be sure she's had a good feeding for once, and she nurses right back to sleep---the only time I get to take advantage of that trick! So at least there's that.

    Yes, the oversupply is nowhere near what it used to be most days, but maybe I am still making too much, and so she continues to be put off by that. Offering less is certainly a good idea, and I've been trying to. It's hard to just relax and distract her when she seems so unsettled and like she really wants to nurse, but won't....I got a lot of advice to offer lots of "small meals," too, to help with the OS and reflux initially, so it took me a while to realize that I don't think on a good day she's ready to eat before it's been 3 hours. But yeah, my continually bothering her about it on the bad days isn't going to help.

    Sometimes it just comes down to wanting so badly to have some semblance of a routine---not even a schedule, by-the-clock or otherwise, just some idea that baby will eat more or less x amount of time every x-hours, and between feedings can be soothed by nursing if the need arises. I know this is a pretty insignificant problem to have. I'd take oversupply and the most frustrating of the accompanying behaviors over low supply issues ANY day, of course. It's just nice to know I'm not alone, my baby's not abnormal, I'm not doing something wrong to make her this way, etc... Thanks also for the link. That is a great article. That LC really seems to know her stuff and I learned quite a bit reading it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

    You are seriously the first person I've ever talked to that seems to have a similar experience as we do, so if you ever need to vent, let me know! I totally agree about the "schedule" (more like a rhythm is as you described). It would be fantastic. One thing my baby likes a lot when she seems unsettled and sort of like she wants to nurse (but won't) like you described, I put on the toddler station on pandora and get out some bells and little musical instruments. She turns from cranky to giggling in about 5 minutes!

    Same here with the OS, mine is much better like yours but the letdown is still too much for her sitting up. Tried to feed her in the car at TJ Maxx today and she kept pulling back like it was too much for her. I sure hope the side-lying phase ends like yours did at some point, my plan for a long car ride trip we have to take next month is to feed her on pillows lying in my trunk! Oh well, whatever works, right?

    Also, I'm pretty sure I saw some posts on here discussing how after the first year their babies really started to enjoy nursing vs just getting the food and moving on. For us that would also makes sense because I'm guessing that after they are 1 year old the supply would gradually decrease as they eat more and more solids and if they switch to other milks eventually. It seems more likely that a young toddler would nurse for comfort.

    Take care,

    Karrie
    Last edited by @llli*karrieperry; April 10th, 2013 at 02:57 PM.
    and Mama to two little girls

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

    You know, I shouldn't complain, because really unless she's tired AND ravenous my baby is pretty distractible with things like you mentioned---music, change of scenery, etc. In fact I think her awesome ability to be distracted from anything is largely what's causing this latest phase of not nursing at all while awake. When it looks like she's finally going to give in and nurse, she'll latch and then suddenly remember there is a most fascinating WINDOW (never mind that it can be seen from her crib at all times....every day...) or even the light fixture, which also, naturally, is always there, above her crib, every day, every night...but these things are so much more interesting than nursing, nevertheless. Whatever! I'm realizing as I've written all this that I am the problem, letting this get to me. She doesn't have a problem at all, since she's getting enough to eat and doesn't seem to be affected by being awake a little bit more at night. It probably helps that we consistently keep bedtime pretty early. And again, my problem is not going to bed early enough so that I'm not dead tired after nights when she's nursing 2-3 times...i.e. every night...

    Yikes, good luck on the car trip. My LO won't eat on the road, no matter how creative I get, so on our couple of long trips I learned that she will be okay if she doesn't eat for a few hours. She just made up for it when we got to the hotel, and everybody got through it. Again, if I hadn't obsessed about it and had remembered a leader here saying that 1-2 really bad nursing days due to unusual circumstances is not going to kill your supply, we would have been perfectly fine.

    Thanks again for your empathy! As far as toddlers enjoying nursing more---maybe so. I've also read that this sort of behavior and/or oversupply is often associated with early weaning. But your reasoning makes sense. So who knows? I haven't got my heart set on nursing into the toddler years, honestly, so I'm open to whatever develops on that front, I guess.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

    Update...pretty much two days after I wrote that last post, out of the blue baby has been contentedly nursing every three hours, while fully awake, and sleeping 6+ hour stretches at night without needing to nurse. Just in case anybody needs reassurance that one day, even the most distractible baby will wake up and decide there is plenty of time to explore the world AFTER she's had her meal...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 7-mo has never liked nursing: can anyone relate?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*karrieperry View Post
    Also, I'm pretty sure I saw some posts on here discussing how after the first year their babies really started to enjoy nursing vs just getting the food and moving on. For us that would also makes sense because I'm guessing that after they are 1 year old the supply would gradually decrease as they eat more and more solids and if they switch to other milks eventually. It seems more likely that a young toddler would nurse for comfort.
    Glad to hear things are better for you tejana!
    Just wanted to add that I am experiencing exactly what Karrie mentioned. I never felt like my LO loved nursing but she actually seems a lot more enthusiastic about it at 13 months. My oversupply has calmed down a lot since I pump weaned a month ago so I think now she can just nurse contentedly and not get flooded with milk, you know? And maybe she does want it more for comfort now, who knows? Also she is definitely less distractible now too. I guess the one thing you can count on with babies is whatever they are doing now, it will likely change!

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