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Thread: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

  1. #1

    Default Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    Hello, I am looking for some advice and perhaps to hear from some other mums who have gone through a similar situation!

    My son is almost 5 months old, and for the last 5 weeks I have been in a constant battle trying to get him to feed. He suffered with colic for his first 3 months - so we've only had about a week and a half of calm, happy breastfeeding! Despite this I have loved breastfeeding him and find the thought of stopping very sad.

    He has been EBF since birth - however for the last 5 weeks he has been increasingly frustrated at the breast. He will latch on fine at first, and feed for maybe 1 or 2 minutes before popping off and angrily crying and flapping his arms around. I saw a lactation consultant last week who told me that the problem was likely that he is frustrated by the slower flowing milk after the initial let down. I had a huge oversupply when he was younger which has now levelled out - and she thought this had probably led to him expecting fast flowing milk. I don't have supply issues now - there's plenty of milk there, he just doesn't have the patience to remove it.

    For these 5 weeks (and more so in the last week on the advice of the LC), I have been trying to deal with the issue by switching things up each time he complains. I change positions, move around, minimise distractions and do compressions. I've tried all kinds of positions - and each time I switch he will usually feed for about 15 more seconds before popping back off again. He starts signalling hunger straight away afterwards, so I know he's not just very efficient and full. As all this goes on he gets more and more upset and frustrated, until he ends up hysterically crying. At this point I usually give up and have to spend some time calming him down. I offer again any time he shows the slightest bit of interest - and we will then have the same performance. In between times he is usually fussy because he is hungry. I also try feeding him in the sling before and after naps (he naps in the sling) - which gets a bit more milk into him.

    At night he will feed absolutely fine, although he often falls asleep during. Since he has been having these problems during the day he has gone from waking up to feed once or twice or at most 3 times, to waking up 5, 6 or even 7 times during the night - I presume to make up for lost calories.


    I feel like I spend pretty much his entire awake time trying to get him to feed, and for the majority of this time he is very upset and crying. If I try just leaving it and not pushing the issue, he then ends up crying with hunger. I have persisted this long in the hope that he will grow out of it - but I am finding it hard to continue as I feel it is benefitting neither of us. I know EP is hard work and time consuming - but I'm already spending all day long trying to feed him. I know breastfeeding is more than just feeding - but at present it is neither a comforting nor a bonding experience - in fact quite the opposite. He's spent over a month of his life being horribly upset over this now. He already spent his first 3 months crying - I couldn't do anything about that but I can do something about this. He's only started to take a few bottles a week in the last month (introduced after this issue started to give me a little break when I can't face the battle) - but he drinks them very happily and is very contented afterwards. I feel selfish denying him that contentment just because of my own personal breastfeeding goals, and I feel sad for the happy times we are missing out on because we're constantly in a feeding battle.

    I would love to continue breastfeeding him at night for as long as he continues to enjoy it. I know EPing in the day won't necessarily stop him from waking so much at night - but it would be great to give him the chance to sleep longer by getting more calories during the day.

    Any advice or thoughts are welcome! If anyone else has been through this - did your LO grow out of it? How long did it take? What would you do in my position?

    So sorry for the massively overlong post! TIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    I don't think he's upset because your letdown is slower now than it was. Babies learn to accept the change and stop fighting after a while. My baby was extremely fussy 4-5 months and it was like I dreaded a lot of daytime feedings. Mornings were the hardest. He would nurse for a few seconds and that's it, skipping breakfast all the time. At 5.5 months we had his tongue tie taken care of and since then feedings are much smoother. Have you had your baby checked for any physical impediment that would cause feedings to be hard for him? My baby didn't enjoy eating because it was straining for him, but when it got resolved, he was able to relax and just enjoy.

    What did help was just pretending I didn't care. I told myself that he won't starve - he'll just make up for it at night. I would try to nurse him and relatch him up to 3 times before giving up and trying again like an hour later. This way he didn't associate eating with fighting. Also pitch quiet room, semi-darkened if possible (my baby is also a very distracted eater) helps to keep things calm and more night-like.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    Hi thank you so much for your reply. A tongue tie had occurred to me - he doesn't have an obvious one, but he definitely has an upper lip tie and I've heard they can often have both. The LC didn't think this was likely as he has gained weight well since birth, she didn't look in his mouth at all. Perhaps I can get this looked at by his GP - I can't afford to pay for another LC! Was your sons tongue tie able to be fixed without a general anaesthetic?

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    21,149

    Default Re: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    If you suspect a lip or tongue tie, do see the GP or perhaps a pediatric otolaryngologist or pediatric dentist. The latter types of professional often have more experience with and knowledge about ties than GPs or pediatricians.

    I think moms who are contemplating moving to EP for reasons like yours often feel very guilty. The baby seems so happy after a bottle! So content! Aren't they being selfish for wanting to keep on with breastfeeding?

    The answer to that is no, no, and NO.

    Nursing is the most unselfish thing you can do and there are excellent reasons for trying to maintain the nursing relationship. First, EP is very hard and difficulties with supply and managing the pump-life balance are common. Second, there are benefits that come from nursing that cannot come from a bottle, which are (in no particular order):
    - Nursing promotes proper dental alignment and jaw development- bottles don't. Nursing may save you money on orthodontia in the future.
    - You cannot overfeed a baby using the breast. Bottlefed babies often end up overfed because of the way they deliver milk (constant flow even when baby is no longer hungry) and because even the most sensitive bottle-feeding parent will sometimes encourage a baby to finish a bottle by tipping it up so that the milk flows faster or replacing it in the baby's mouth after he spits it out.
    - Nursing isn't just about food. The breast can also provide comfort, and you can use it to soothe a sick, hurt, tired, quarrelsome, or teething baby. I know that night now this sort of use is not possible for you, but it might become possible in the future.
    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
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    Default Re: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*bubbles55 View Post
    Hi thank you so much for your reply. A tongue tie had occurred to me - he doesn't have an obvious one, but he definitely has an upper lip tie and I've heard they can often have both. The LC didn't think this was likely as he has gained weight well since birth, she didn't look in his mouth at all. Perhaps I can get this looked at by his GP - I can't afford to pay for another LC! Was your sons tongue tie able to be fixed without a general anaesthetic?
    Lip ties often go hand in hand with tongue ties (my baby has both - but we did not resolve the lip tie since it's not bothering him or us as of yet, though we will keep an eye on it when his teeth come in on top).

    I'm surprised your LC didn't look into the baby's mouth - what did you pay her for?

    My baby gained well perfectly fine even though it was difficult for him to eat with the tongue tie - it just took him longer to eat and he ate at night more than babies his age did. My LC suggested it when I called her down and told her how painful nursing was, and how he kept popping off and not eating normally. She examined his mouth with her finger and right away told me he's tongue tied (interestingly, she did not mention the lip tie - I discovered it on my own). Before doing anything drastic I took my baby to our pediatrician who said he definitely sees a posterior tongue tie (which is really far back) but it doesn't look that bad. He recommended we see a pediatric ENT. The ENT said it didn't look too severe but we can either gain nothing or gain a lot by doing the procedure, so we went ahead with it. It was totally fine! We did it when my baby was 5.5 months old (the ENT's cut-off time for doing it in the office was 6 months - after that she does it in the hospital with general anesthesia). In the office it took about 3 minutes, she numbed him first with a shot of something (he cried for a few seconds only), then she snipped it, held a gauze in place for a minute, and that was that. He was fine afterwards. No tylenol or anything. She compared it to a paper cut, actually.

    I'd really recommend you check out that option by either a pediatric dentist or ENT.

    About EPing? I would have to be VERRRRRY desperate to do that because I can't stand pumping - I just do it because I'm at work for 7-8 hours a day and want my baby to be EBF. But any chance I can get out of pumping and I'm there! Can't wait to pump-wean. My sister EPed for her twins for 18 months!! Despite us all telling her she was nuts

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    http://www.drghaheri.com/resources/
    This is a good resource to help you look into tongue tie.
    I do agree that 4 months is overall a very fussy, frustrating baby phase. I had to rock my son nearly all the way to sleep with a pacifier, then switch it out for the breast to get any daytime feedings at that age. After that he loved his boobies

  7. #7

    Default Re: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    Thank you all for your replies - it's great to hear that this stage has an end, it's been going on so long it is hard to imagine coming out the other side!

    I am going to get him checked for a tongue tie as soon as possible, I'm not finding feeding painful (although it can be a bit pinchy), but it makes sense to rule it out at least.

    I completely understand your point about the difficulties of EP. I don't mind pumping itself, but I can see that it is a logistical nightmare! Over the last few days I've been trying to pump enough so that I can give some bottles, and even this has been hugely difficult. My baby is not the type to amuse himself, and he takes all his naps attached to my front in a sling - so there's very little opportunity to pump! He has in fact been starting to turn down bottles after a few minutes for the last few days, and wanting to breastfeed instead. He's less angry at the breast after having been offered a bottle, but still popping off and not feeding well.

    I'm trying to be patient and play it by ear for now! I know he's not starving, I just want feeds to be a happy experience.

    Thanks again for all your help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,149

    Default Re: Moving to EP at 5 months as baby is so frustrated

    Logistical nightmare for sure! Especially when you have a high-needs or higher-needs baby, which is sounds like you might.

    Stay patient and keep on keeping on- I know it's really difficult and I really hope you'll get rewarded for your hard work, and soon!
    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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