Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: 8 week old refuses to nurse

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    4

    Default 8 week old refuses to nurse

    Long story up to my current situation, but I feel like all the facts are needed to get a clear picture:

    My breastfeeding experience has been nothing but painful and frustrating. My DS had a poor latch in the beginning due to a posterior tongue tie that went undiagnosed for a month because I didn't see a LC until then (I was being stubborn, which I now regret). My nipples were cracked and bleeding, I was dealing with thrush and vasospasm due to the injury to my nipples. I finally went to see a LC, and the first time there she had me try the reclined position. Baby latched PERFECTLY. I was so excited to go home and nurse him... except it didn't work out that way. The first feeding at home was a bit uncomfortable, but the second time he hurt me so badly it jolted my entire body when he latched. So my LC told me to give my nipples a few days to heal, and try again. I ended up coming down with a case of mastitis shortly after, and experienced an extreme dip in supply - I was getting almost 6oz every two hours at 4 weeks (I pumped mainly because of the pain), and after the infection it dropped to barely 3oz. I have not been able to get it back up, since.

    DS is now 8 weeks old, and my nipples are healed to where I can finally tolerate him latching... but now he refuses the breast 9 times out of 10! No matter how I position him, he won't nurse. I can get him to do a little while he is still half asleep, but he wakes up quickly and begins to twist and pull at my nipple and even shoves himself away from me with his hand. He will start to cry if I persist, so I usually just get him a bottle. I am at my rope's end, here. I feel like as soon as I fix one issue, something else happens. It is affecting my relationship with my baby because I know he senses my frustration and stress, though I do try my best to stay relaxed, sometimes it is too much. There have been times when I have just sat there and cried with him, because we were both so frustrated.

    My husband has been hinting that I should just throw in the towel. Even my closest girlfriend tells me that I should just stop, that for whatever reason some babies just refuse to breastfeed. Is this true? Should I just give up and go to feeding him pumped milk from a bottle? I am so reluctant to give up because I feel like this shouldn't be so hard, isn't my body made for this? I guess I am looking for advice and also reassurance from other moms who value breastfeeding as highly as I do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,417

    Default Re: 8 week old refuses to nurse

    Whether to 'throw in the towel' or not is a very personal decision. You have worked very hard with very difficult issues and if you are ready to move past trying to nurse, I believe you will know this in your heart. In my experience, moms who feel they have gotten good help and done all they could, are able to allow themselves to feel proud for what they have done and move on with little regret. Mothers who think they could have done more and/or wish they had more support or better help are more likely to be unhappy with their choice later.

    For what it is worth, many mothers struggle with nursing for months until baby 'gets it.' So it is certainly possible your baby will be able to nurse comfortably and for nursing to someday become easy and second nature for both of you. I disagree with your friend, of course some babies never nurse for many complicated reasons. But aside from physical barriers, virtually all babies CAN nurse. But there are never any guarantees. So you would want to understand that you may keep trying and your baby still may not not return to the breast.

    It you want to keep trying, at least for today, here are some thought.

    I don’t know if this will help at all, but I do not see your story as one of many different issues. Everything that happened very possibly came directly from what happened before it.

    First, baby had/has tt. Painful latch, nipple damage the result (was the tt corrected btw? Frenotomy?)

    Then you started pumping instead of nursing to heal the nipples damaged by the poor latch. Pumping perhaps led to less frequent or less effective milk removal and that, plus exhaustion, led to mastitis.

    I don't know what happened while you were treated for mastitis, mastitis on its own should not do much harm milk production. But the continuing of pumping instead of nursing, or not pumping often enough while you were ill or weak, and related engorgement, plugs etc, may have contributed to that pump output drop off you see.

    Meanwhile, baby started getting all his nutrition and sucking needs met with the bottle. He no longer identifies the breast as the place for food and comfort. So bottle feedings will, in some cases, lead to what you are seeing now-breast refusal.

    There is lots a mom can do for breast refusal. Start with this article and see what you think. http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    Also, although your milk production went down, what is it now? Because pumping 3 ounces at a time is a normal amount to pump. 6 ounces per session indicates overproduction. So what is your pump output daily at this point and how much every day does baby eat?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: 8 week old refuses to nurse

    I think I'd like to keep trying for now, though maybe I will back off and only try a few times a week instead of every day. I have heard from a few mothers that their babies didn't nurse well until they were two or three months old, so hopefully he will get the hang of it again.

    He didn't need to get a frenotomy. My LC said that the tongue tie wasn't severe enough to warrant one, that he seemed to be working through it pretty well on his own at that point. She used a finger to see how strong his suck was and said it seemed fine. So I'm not sure if it was his tongue tie alone that caused the injury to my nipples early on.

    I get between three and four ounces of breastmilk per pumping session, from both breasts combined. The problem is that he takes down a 4oz bottle every two to three hours, and I didn't have enough time to get ahead of him before I went back to work. Maybe that's why I feel like I'm not getting enough when I pump -- I'm constantly scrambling to keep up with him, and we have had to give him formula on more than one occasion so I could get ahead of him again.

    Thank you for the advice! The article seems to have some really good tips, I'm going to try to work on it over the weekend.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,417

    Default Re: 8 week old refuses to nurse

    When baby nurses now, is it totally pain free? or are you still having latch issues?

    I think I'd like to keep trying for now, though maybe I will back off and only try a few times a week instead of every day.
    You know your baby best and your situation best, so if this plan makes the most sense for you then that is what you should do.

    However, there is a wide range between trying to make a baby nurse and letting baby have the opportunity to nurse. The first can backfire and cause stress for you both, the second does not (or need not.)

    You can offer to nurse as much as you like. It does not have to be a struggle or even an obvious "offering." Instead, you can cuddle baby skin to skin-skin to skin has recently been found to promote nursing in 'older’ babies, as well as brand newborns. If s2s is not comfortable, simply relax back, maybe in a 'laid back' position that YOU feel comfortable in, and snuggle baby lightly dressed with easy access. Hold baby while baby sleeps so you can catch him just when he wakes, or hold him as he is getting sleepy. These are often very good times to offer to nurse. In general, look for signs baby rooting and bring baby closer to the breast. No pressure. If baby never roots, fine. If baby roots but does not latch, fine. If baby latches but then pulls off and gets upset, fine. At any point, you can pull back, offer some instant reward (a little milk in a bottle or syringe, some milk dribbled on your nipple) and if that does not do the trick, bottle feed baby but only a small amount (an ounce or so) then back to cuddling. If that does not work (or you don’t have time) go ahead and bottle feed a 'full' feeding (more on meal amounts below) and try again later. No pressure, on you or on baby. But let baby have access. Let baby be close to you, on you, as much as you can. Let baby begin to connect your breasts with comfort again.

    I get between three and four ounces of breastmilk per pumping session, from both breasts combined. The problem is that he takes down a 4oz bottle every two to three hours, and I didn't have enough time to get ahead of him before I went back to work. Maybe that's why I feel like I'm not getting enough when I pump -- I'm constantly scrambling to keep up with him, and we have had to give him formula on more than one occasion so I could get ahead of him again.
    OK, so how many bottles is baby getting per day and how often do you pump a day? One of the hardest things when trying to get baby back on the breast is to ease off the bottles. Of course, you need to feed baby. BUT, a baby who is getting enough or possibly more than enough to eat with bottles is going to have a very hard time finding enthusiasm for nursing! No, you do not want to 'starve' a baby into nursing. That is counterproductive. But baby needs to be a little hungry.

    4 ounces is a bit much for EVERY feeding. Baby’s will often take more with a bottle that they would at the breast. This method of giving a bottle may help if this is the case with yor baby: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    But do you mean baby takes 4 ounces every 2-3 hours day and night? That would be 9-12 bottles per 24 hour day, or 36-48 ounces total? Average intake for a breastfed baby is less, more like approximately 25-30 ounces per day.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •