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Thread: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    21

    Default 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    Hi everyone. my daughter is 8.5 months old and we are running into some challenges with evening breastfeeding and I could use your advice. My daughter receives 3 bottles while I am at work and breastfeeds 3 times a day. On the weekends she breastfeeds 6 times a day. We still use the slow flow newborn nipple, and I have a very fast letdown in one breast and almost none in the other breast. I always offer both during each feeding.

    During the evening and bedtime feeding she has progressively gotten more and more fussy over the last month or so. She's always been a little fussy during these feedings, but it's gotten worse and worse as time passes. To the point I dread these feedings and am practically in tears aftewards. First, she will latch, only suck for a couple of seconds then pull off crying. Repeat for 2-3 minutes until letdown occurs. Then, she will nurse while the letdown is strong, and then about 3-4 minutes in when the letdown slows she will pop off and start crying. Latch back on, try to suck, realize the milk isn't coming out easily and pop back off and cry. Repeat, repeat, repeat until we give up. She's getting plenty of milk through the day, weight gain is good. I'm not concerned about her nutrition. Just that she (and I) are on the path to giving up breastfeeding if this continues (we're almost there). I have very good supply early in the day, but (and I see this when I pump at work) it gets less and less as the day goes on so by the end of the day there is less "bulk" and I think it's frustrating her. Or maybe she is getting frustrated because she isn't that hungry (she doesn't do this in the mornings when she's hungry)? We are still doing 6 feedings a day. I don't normally wait for hunger ques, I usually just feed when I suspect she's due to eat. Here is what her schedule looks like:

    (bottles on weekdays, nurse on weekends)
    7am Nurse - no fussiness, waits for letdown, stays latched
    8:30am - fruit
    10am Bottle or Nurse - no fussiness, waits for letdown, stays latched
    12pm Bottle or Nurse - no fussiness (short session), on/of a little while waiting for letdown
    2:30pm Bottle or Nurse - little fussiness, on/off during letdown with fusiness
    5pm Nurse - Pretty fussy; doesn't want to wait for letdown and fusses when milk slows
    6pm - Veggies
    7:30pm Nurse - VERY fussy; letdown takes forever and she won't stay latched while she waits - crying within 3-4 minutes, but keeps trying to latch


    I think I am going to pay a LC to come to the house next week to help us. But, if you have any advice in the meantime I am open to ideas!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    I understand how frustrating it can be when they fuss and you try over ad over again to get her to feed. I only have a few suggestions that I was given when going though a stage where everything else was more interesting than feeding.

    Before feeding warm the breast up with warm water in a bowl or a face washer to help the letdown quicken. Gentle massage can also help.

    A scarf, necklace or toy that she can play with while feeding to keep her interested. Being in a quiet room might reduce the distractions while waiting for the letdown.

    Maybe expressing after the fussy feeds might increase your supply, especially if she didn't have a big or full feed.

    Hang in there and you can always have a break if a feed isn't going well and try again in 15 mins.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    I think you might be onto something with the idea that she just isn't always hungry when you attempt. Perhaps she just isn't as hungry in the evenings. Mine are 3 months and I'm still offering the breast really frequently. If they aren't hungry they exhibit the same behavior you've mentioned: suck for a minute, pop off, cry, try again, then get mad. When that happens, I stop and try rocking them or playing with them. Often I realize they were just tired, instead. Since weight gain is good, I'm sure it would be fine to try going back to feeding on cue for a few days. Let her get hungry enough to ask for it. If you're still having the same problems at that point, then it might be something else.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    Great tips from lilsmum. Welcome lilsmum!

    Here are some reasons an 8 month old might be getting fussy at the breast.

    Distraction-baby has better things to do. It's a phase, in this case. The kellymom article "Help my baby won’t nurse" is another source for tips on this type of thing.

    or, Baby is not hungry. How MUCH milk overall is baby taking each day while you are at work? Is baby being spoon fed solids while you are at work as well, given water, anything else? A baby with a full tummy is not going to be very interested in nursing.

    or, "triple nipple syndrome" This is also sometimes called nipple confusion. a baby who is bottle fed and/or, given a pacifier, stops identifying the breast as the place for all things good- for comfort AND satiety. Obviously baby must be fed while you are at work. But there is no harm at all and it may help to gently encourage more nursing when you get home or on your days off. Baby certainly may be getting enough to eat, that is not the issue. It is where and how she gets it.

    I don't normally wait for hunger ques, I usually just feed when I suspect she's due to eat.
    What happens if you do wait for her to cue?

    Of course the slower letdown may be frustrating baby. But then the question is-WHY? It is biologically normal for mom to have lower production part of the day and for let downs to be slower some of the time. So it is a biologically normal for baby to simply deal with this (by switching sides, nursing vigorously, kneading the breast etc.) If baby is not doing that, I suggest the underlying issue is not the less production or slower letdown but something else.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    21

    Default Re: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    Thank you for the replies and tips. We cut out a nursing session today (from 6 to 5) and she didn't fuss or pop on and off at all until the last feeding of the day. She even waited for the letdown without fussing except for the last feeding. For all other feedings she was hungry enough to want to nurse but didn't seem starving and nursed pleasantly. I think maybe we are still seeing the behavior the last nurse of the day because we are giving too much purée too close to that session (about an hour or hour and half before last nurse session). So we will switch dinner time to BLW finger foods instead of purees and see if that helps. Wish us luck because her latest trick is to bite when frustrated at the breast. Last night for the last feeding I had to use my pump to initiate letdown because she kept popping on and off crying during that last feeding and I was too scared of getting bitten again. She nursed fine once the milk was there. But obviously I prefer not to interfere and would rather this just work like its supposed to.

    And on the hunger cues, honestly she is so curious about the world around her if I waited on them I am afraid she would never nurse. She knows how to point and has only pointed at my breasts once when she was wanting to nurse when she was sick.

    And I worry that she doesn't see the breast as comfort, just food. I don't know how to fix that. She only gets her pacifier for sleeping and the car. She almost never gets it outside those two circumstances. She never gets a bottle in mornings, evenings or on weekends. Only when I am at work. Honestly, I feel like I am doing something wrong because shouldn't this be biological and natural?

    Anyway, I think we will try skipping the purée at dinner tonight and see if the reason that last feeding I so fussy is because she just isn't all that hungry. That seemed to be the issue with the other evening feed because spreading out her feedings a bit helped that one tremendously.
    Last edited by @llli*kadiebug12; June 25th, 2013 at 03:42 AM. Reason: Answering question I missed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    531

    Default Re: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    Also, I don't know if this would help, but have you tried nursing in a different position when baby is fussy/popping off/distracted? Sometimes my girl really wants to kick her legs a bit, and nursing just goes much better if I lie down on the floor with her. Sometimes this way she can even play with a toy while eating!

  7. #7

    Default Re: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    There is no reason to wait for hunger cues, of course. Perfectly fine to offer to nurse as much as you want. I mostly wondered if you were 'sceduling' nursing sessions. Babies tend to nurse best if they nurse when they want, not on a scedule. But yes they do need to be reminded of what they want sometimes! Another tip is to nurse before solid meals (and/or, right after, as you wish, so avoid baby filling up on solids. Solids are 'just for fun' (and learning) at this age.

    And I worry that she doesn't see the breast as comfort, just food. I don't know how to fix that. She only gets her pacifier for sleeping and the car. She almost never gets it outside those two circumstances. She never gets a bottle in mornings, evenings or on weekends. Only when I am at work. Honestly, I feel like I am doing something wrong because shouldn't this be biological and natural?
    You are not doing anything wrong! You are a modern mother and your baby is a cave baby. A cave momma would be with her baby every second, carrying her most of the time, or handing her off to another mom as needed (no place safe to put a 8 month old "down" -ever.) and baby is right there next to her momma's breast virtually all of the time, her mommas body and face are almost baby's whole world, no bright primary colored toys or fascinating images on a screen, baby even is eating 'solids' in moms arms, and solids are prechewed meat or a teeny bit of fruit or a bone to gnaw cave momma handed baby once in a while, well, THAT is biologically normal. That is what is biologically normal and natural. How many modern moms, working or not, can or even want to live that scenario? I am pretty crunchy when it comes to baby raising, and my baby eats her meals in a high chair because I got tired of getting covered with pre chewed (by baby) food every time she ate and I am very grateful to have a baby proofed carpeted living room to put baby down in!

    So we modern moms who want our baby's to nurse until at least a year (or whatever your goal is) and nurse for comfort, etc, which ARE biologically normal things, just need to be aware of how the circumstances of baby raising have changed and sometimes that means having to think about how to lessen the impact of bottles and solids and separations etc. unlike cave momma who had none of our choices, but probably less of our problems when it comes to breastfeeding as well.

    I hope I am making sense....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: 8 month old fussy for afternoon and evening feedings

    Thanks everyone for all the great advice and encouragement. It really does make a difference. Well, we reduced nursings from 6 to 5 and cut back on solids at dinnertime. It made her stop the fussing on/off while nursing and she patiently waited for letdown! What a difference! But, she did wake up to nurse MOTN, something she hasn't done in months. So I think we'll go back to 6 sessions a day and stay reduced on the solids. That might be the key. She even asked to nurse today - pointing at my chest!!!!

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