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Thread: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    Hi all, I'm a first-time mom and could use some help. My son is 8 weeks old, and has been breastfeeding pretty well--I feed on demand, usually 8-12 times a day. He gained 3 pounds in under a month, so weight gain is great. I have loved being able to nurse him to sleep at night and for naps, and don't mind at all when he just comfort nurses. The problem I'm running into is that recently he's started to get more aware of things and fights sleep all day long and gets extremely overtired (to the point of screaming and taking an hour or two to settle for a nap), and he often refuses to nurse so my all-purpose weapon doesn't work! This has been happening for about three weeks. He doesn't have a fever. Sometimes he will nurse for a few minutes when I try to get him to sleep, then he'll pull off and start wailing and refuse to go anywhere near the boob again until he's extremely drowsy. I wish I could use my breast to calm him. The past two days he's also shortened up his nursing sessions a lot, and he's sleeping badly at night too and waking up extremely early in addition to sleeping badly during the day. Is this normal as they get more aware of things? Could it be a growth spurt? Any creative ideas on calming him when the boob won't do? We already have tried dark room, swaddle, shushing, etc. Even a paci, because he likes sucking even when he screams at the boob. I'm also worried that the paci might screw up his latch, which already feels a tiny bit bitey sometimes. Has anyone had trouble with pacis and latch? Is using one a really bad idea? Thank you!!
    Last edited by @llli*reading.mom; June 25th, 2013 at 08:18 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    Oh momma I hear you. I also find it so frustrating when I am not able to use my secret weapon with a fussy baby!

    Often this type of thing is a just a developmental stage and thus, temporary. Another thing you could consider is if you have forceful letdown/overproduction, which can sometimes cause excess fussiness and baby not being able to comfort nurse at the breast. I am thinking this partly due to the excellent weight gain. Does that fit your situation at all?
    Read this and see if some of this fits maybe. There are other things that can cause super fussy baby and sleep disturbance but I always start with this as it's relatively common http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    Thanks lllmeg! I do think I have a bit of over active letdown, because occasionally if he pulls off right after letdown, one of my ducts will be shooting out milk like a sprinkler! Ha. He sometimes splutters and coughs a bit too. Because of this, I fairly early on started nursing him in a more laid back position, with his head on top of my boob and his body down mine instead of across it, so he could handle the flow. He's done pretty well with it overall, and never screamed before about it... could that suddenly start at 5/6 weeks?

    I may have had a bit of oversupply earlier, but recently I think it's leveled off because my breasts are pretty soft most of the time.

    It just kills me when I know my baby is SO tired but I have such a hard time helping him sleep. I've tried to stay ahead of the game and help him nap before he gets overtired and screams, but he still fights sleep so I spend forever in our dark bedroom and my wrists hurt from bouncing and patting him! (Rocking chair won't fit in here.)

    This was easier to deal with when he would nurse solidly to sleep at night at least, then give me a 4-5 hour stretch. But now he's waking every two hours, and deciding to be up for the day at 4.30 or 5am!! So this mama is too tired to put so much effort into helping him sleep during the day. Another reason why I miss the boob being a sure winner.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    Do babies ever pull off the breast because they're upset that it makes them sleepy? This screaming started the very same day he also started being more smiley and alert. I wonder if feeling relaxed at the breast makes him upset because he wants to see things. Is 5-8 weeks too young for that?

  5. #5
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    Jun 2012
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    Austin, TX
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    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*reading.mom View Post
    It just kills me when I know my baby is SO tired but I have such a hard time helping him sleep. I've tried to stay ahead of the game and help him nap before he gets overtired and screams, but he still fights sleep so I spend forever in our dark bedroom and my wrists hurt from bouncing and patting him! (Rocking chair won't fit in here.)
    Magic boobs are the best. It's such a drag when baby resists the milk coma! Mine has gone through phases of this, so I think they do outgrow it, but it's frustrating when you're in the thick of it for sure.

    Have you tried wearing baby in a soft carrier, sling or wrap? That lets you bounce and rock baby hands free I used to stick mine in the Moby when he was tiny (or the Ergo once he was 4+ mos) and just pace around the living room while I watched TV, put on some calming music and danced a little with him, or just wore him while doing light housework, and he'd usually fall asleep.

    Another thing that sometimes worked for us was going for a short walk outside. If he seemed tired but was fighting it and nursing wasn't the answer, I would put him in the stroller and walk around the block for 15 minutes, then come back home and try for a nurse-nap again, usually successful. The stroller ride would calm/lull him, and the change of scenery and the sensory stimulation would tire him out a little.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    Thanks mercystreet! I do have a ring sling that I use sometimes, but he always wakes up after a half hour or so, so it doesn't seem like the best option when he really needs to conk out for an hour or two. We live in a big city and our apartment is a mere 400 square feet, so I don't have much pacing room inside anyways. it does help sometimes though!

    Sometimes he will sleep for an hour or so in the carrier if I go for a walk outside, but it's so noisy here I'm never sure if he gets good rest or is just zoned out from being overwhelmed by all the honking and talking! I heard once that babies sometimes "shut down" from overstimulation, and while I don't know if that's actually true, I'm always afraid the noise outside means he's not sleeping really well. We'll be moving to the suburbs in a month though!
    Last edited by @llli*reading.mom; June 25th, 2013 at 11:13 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    There were periods early on with my LO where this sometimes happened, and it was so shocking because breastfeeding was otherwise the magic sleep ticket. We often declared it Daddy walk break time when that occurred, and after a few minutes, baby came back to breast again. Repeat as necessary!

  8. #8

    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    Do babies ever pull off the breast because they're upset that it makes them sleepy?
    I do think some baby's fight sleep, and that might be what your seeing. My oldest son would fight sleep at the breast for a time so my husband or I walked him around and he 'fussed' himself to sleep on our shoulder.

    overproduction/fast letdown could start to be an issue or more of an issue at any age. However, since you were already taking steps to deal with yours and the op seems less to you, I doubt it is that. Unless you have started doing something to overstimulate production (pumping, taking a galactagogue) or nursing sessions have become less frequent (longer time between nursing sessions can make the flow more powerful.)

    Sometimes the issue is baby is used to the fast flow and when production is more normal baby is upset that the flow is too slow! This is usually temporary but could be helped by doing breast compressions, maybe?

    No signs of thrush? (nipple pain, white splotches or spots in baby's mouth (not just tongue)
    no painful burping or spitting up or pained screaming if laid flat on back? that would indicate reflux

    Here are some more fussy baby ideas http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ybabyideas.pdf

    This was easier to deal with when he would nurse solidly to sleep at night at least, then give me a 4-5 hour stretch. But now he's waking every two hours, and deciding to be up for the day at 4.30 or 5am!! So this mama is too tired to put so much effort into helping him sleep during the day. Another reason why I miss the boob being a sure winner
    What are the sleeping arrangements?

  9. #9

    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    hold on, you are moving house in a month>? Have you started packing, cleaning, stressing, new routines of any kind?>

    Babies pick up on this stuff. Just a thought!

    I would not worry about the 'quality' of your baby's sleep. If he likes to sleep during walks past construction sites and honking traffic jams that is still sleep, in my book. And short cat naps can be normal to. I'm more worried about you, tired mama, getting a little down time!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: What to do when secret weapon isn't working??

    We haven't started packing yet, but I am dreading it. My current measure of success is getting a shower and maybe one or two other little things done in a whole day! I suspect hubby or some friends will have to do most of it.

    We have a cosleeper next to our bed, and he's usually in there until the first wake up of the night, at which point I nurse him in bed and sometimes he stays with me and other times he goes back to the cosleeper, but still right next to me. Sometimes I fall asleep while nursing him side lying, but often I stay awake until he's done and settled because I'm a pretty deep sleeper so I want to make sure he's safe and his breathing is unobstructed before I conk out. When we bed share I usually put my arm under his head so it's impossible for me to roll that direction. But unfortunately the angle isn't quite right for nursing that way, so I have to nurse him then put my arm under him and settle down to sleep. Takes away some of the benefits of nursing in bed, but I'm scared of accidentally smothering him if I don't do it that way.
    Last edited by @llli*reading.mom; June 25th, 2013 at 12:28 PM.

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