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Thread: 5 week old fussing while nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default 5 week old fussing while nursing

    Please help! My 5 week old has recently started fussing when I try to nurse him. This begins even before he latches on, and I have to express some milk for him to taste before he will latch on. He then latches and sucks for a minute or 2 and them kicks his legs, grunts, yells and cries. I am so depressed idk what I am doing wrong! I go back to work in 2 weeks and he will be getting about 3 bottles a day while I'm at work, but I am terrified he will reject the breast when I'm home. I desperately want to keep feeding him from my breast, my 1st baby never latched on and this is bringing back horrible memories for me. I am against formula, it made my first son so constipated and sick. Any advice would be awesome! I am also having extreme anxiety about returning to work in 2 weeks, could he be feeling my emotions? I let his dad give him his 1st bottle ever today and he didn't cry/fuss at all...

  2. #2

    Default Re: 5 week old fussing while nursing

    Hi kdjzw and welcome!

    First, I would like to help you with the current breastfeeding issues. There are many things you can do to encourage baby to continue to happily nurse at the breast after the introduction of bottles and separation due to you going back to work, but I will leave that to other posters or just for later.

    To start, I hope you don’t mind some questions?

    Up until now, how many times a 24 hour day was baby nursing?
    Is baby gaining normally as far as you know?
    Does nursing hurt you at all?
    How often does baby poop?
    Have you given baby bottles at all and how often and how much is in them?
    Pacifier used at all and when?
    Do you have a favorite nursing position and what is it? have you tried many positions?
    Do you see any indications of a fast milk flow from your breasts?

    As far as your feelings about going back to work-these are entirely normal and basically universal. Biologically, stress hormones are released when a mother is separated (or contemplates separation) from her baby. Yet many, many moms continue to nurse up to and after going back to work. Yes trying to be as relaxed as possible is helpful for many reasons, but certainly is not a prerequisite for nursing success.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: 5 week old fussing while nursing

    Hi thank you for your response! He usually nurses every 2.5-3 hours during the day and will have a 4 hour stretch once during the night. He gained 3 pounds in 2 weeks so he is gaining weight, and nursing doesn't hurt at all. He poops at least 4-5 times a day and it is yellow and seedy. He gets a pacifier maybe three times a day if he is really fussy but he is not too keen on it, and he has only had one bottle since he was born. Usually we do the football hold on the left side and cross cradle on the right, it seems as though he is gulping and choking so I am positive I have an over active letdown. I have tried nursing with him laying on top of me to try and help this or letting it spray into a towel, sometimes it helps sometimes it doesn't.

    I am very frustrated with the fact that he fusses even before we latch on! He also has started only taking one breast at a time at night and only eating for ten mins max, sometimes less.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 5 week old fussing while nursing

    OK yes it does sound like forceful letdown! This is actually a pretty common thing for around this age, as this is typically when a mothers milk production is 'peaking," before leveling out to normal which means, what baby needs.

    Having had forceful letdown myself and talking to many moms and IBCLCs about this, I think the quickest, easiest way to deal with a too-fast flow is to nurse very frequently. If you are nursing about every 3 hours over the course of a 24 hour day, that is approximately 9 times a day. That is "enough" in the sense that your baby is obviously gaining fine, but it is NOT enough in that regularly taking 2-4 hours between nursing sessions may allow milk to "build up" in the breast and increases the flow rate when baby nurses.

    Instead, I I would suggest nursing baby at least approximately 12 times a 24 hour day, nurse whenever baby cues or you feel like it. (You cannot nurse a baby too often.)

    When a baby is gaining well, it is completely fine for baby to take one breast at a time. Regularly nursing on both sides is a technique for increasing milk production and may exacerbate forceful letdown. I suggest, Let baby nurse one side at a time (unless baby indicates baby wants to nurse on the other side,) nurse for as long or short as baby wants at a time, encourage baby to nurse more frequently, and keep doing the laid back or sidelying, tweaking the laid back position as needed to work for you and your baby. It is a very adjustable position, basically it simply means mom is in a relaxed, reclined posture (the rate of recline will vary according to what you like) and baby can be in any position "on" mom. Also try positioning baby so head is above tummy.

    Also, if you have been pumping to build a stash for work, I suggest backing off on that just for now while you experiment to see in the more frequent nursing helps. If you have been pumping due to feeling uncomfortably full between nursing sessions, see if nursing more frequently helps with that instead. You do not want to become engorged, but on the other hand, pumping above and beyond what baby eats at this point my make the forceful letdown worse.

    Try this and let us know how it goes. Also just let us know when you want more info on bottles/pumping/going back to work. If you do not have the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) I suggest get it! The book devotes one chapter entirely to pumping, and safe handling of expressed milk, and another chapter to handling separations.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; September 3rd, 2013 at 11:23 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: 5 week old fussing while nursing

    Thank you! I have actually been nursing today more frequently and he has stopped fussing at all! He latches on right away and has stopped gulping and screaming, so I think it is already helping!

    I have only been pumping one time a day after his 2nd morning feed, since I only have two weeks left until I return to work. Would I just feed him the already frozen breast milk? And save and freeze the milk I will be pumping at work? I know I need to use the oldest milk first, so I am assuming I will save the new one and freeze. Also, how long does breast milk stay good at room temp? Do I néed to put the expressed milk in the refrigerator at work? Or can I just continue to keep adding to the room temp milk?

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