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Thread: Frustrated 8 wk old

  1. #1

    Default Frustrated 8 wk old

    My DD is usually a great feeder, on the breast about 8 mins for a feed every hour and a half or so, but inevitably at least a few times a day, and mostly starting around 5 pm and mostly when my breasts are fairly soft after nursing all day, she gets frustrated after the initial let down and starts grunting, then pulling on and trying to latch on again...but she will not relatch. She seems to want to latch but can' or won't (the nipple is fairly soft at that point if that matters?) and she wags her head, puts her lips around the nipple, but doesn't does not latch again for more than a second before releasing. This increases her frustration level over the few mins I keep trying to get her back on, but ultimately she ends up really screaming crying and I have to stop. In can usually calm her to the point where she isn't asking for food anymore, but sometimes she "shuts down" and sleeps out of frustration. I have read other posts about similar situations and have tried compressions, switch nursing, and skin to skin. None of it works. If I wait a few hours and let my breasts really fill up, she usually is back to nursing just fine.

    Am I misreading her cues and trying to feed her when she isn't really hungry? Is there any other way to encourage her to stay on and get more out of the feed? Is it the pressure of a full breast of milk that is making it easier for her to feed, and when it is softer she has to work harder and thus gives up? Any thoughts are welcome...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Frustrated 8 wk old

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! It sounds like you're doing really well, if some evening fussiness is the worst problem you're having. . And I do think that evening fussiness is what is going on- your baby is just the right age for it and her behavior is kind of classic.

    If the issue is simply fussy evenings (a.k.a. evenings-only colic or the witching hour(s)), then the issue is likely developmental and has absolutely nothing to do with breast fullness or the ease of getting a letdown. Please don't worry about misreading a very confusing set of cues, or about trying to feed the baby when she may not be hungry. Nursing is a great way to deal with a cranky baby, and if it works, YAY! If not, here are some other tricks you can try:
    - White noise- radio static, vacuum cleaner or dryer sounds, the sound of your heartbeat and breathing
    - Calm house- keep the lights, TV, and stereo down or off
    - Motion- rock in a rocking chair, put baby in a swing, cuddle her in a sling and take her for a walk, put her in a stroller and take her for a ride, etc.
    - Swaddle
    - Wear baby in a sling or cuddle her skin-to-skin
    - Take baby outside for some fresh air
    - Give her a warm bath
    Coping with this fussy stage is all about changing the baby's sensory input and distracting her from her fussiness. It's rare that any of the above tricks will last for more than a few minutes. But your baby will grow out of this, I promise!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: Frustrated 8 wk old

    Hi, my LO does this! He is 5 weeks old tomorrow... I takes me ages to soothe him though and it's so tiring.. He literally pulls on and off, and the nipple starts getting really slobbery and then he cries when I keep trying to nurse him and his arms are rooting like crazy and his legs are flailing around its a nightmare for us both :-(


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Frustrated 8 wk old

    This is all very normal behavior. Many moms mistake this for not having enough milk and give baby a supplemental bottle. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE.

    Assuming baby is getting enough milk overall (which you tell by baby having appropriate weight gain) then your milk production is fine.

    It never hurts to offer to nurse, as babies nurse for comfort as well as hunger...the two things are no different to baby. But if nursing is not calming baby, try other calming techniques as mommal suggets, and just try the breast again later.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Re: Frustrated 8 wk old

    From my experience with two kids, the 8 week - 16 week period of breastfeeding is an all around challenge. My now 5 month son did what you described - pulling, unlatching, head bobbing, fussing, etc. I made the mistake of assuming he was hungry and there wasn't enough milk. Turns out, at least 75% of the time, he was tired. His cues for tired and hungry were very close so I would first offer the breast, and when the fussing started, I would move to soothing him to sleep. Took me longer to figure this out than I care to admit. If he was both tired and hungry, I would soothe to sleep and then dream feed. Less of a fight for both of us.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Salt Lake City

    Default Re: Frustrated 8 wk old

    My 9-week-old twins do this when they're tired and fussing. Sometimes they'll latch back on and power through to comfort nurse to sleep. Other times they'll need to be rocked or fall asleep without help a minute or so later. I figure if they fall asleep, then they aren't actually hungry. Like the previous poster, I also can't always tell whether they are hungry or tired, and just have to try different things to find out. I think they're not sure half the time what they need, either. So we figure it out together.

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