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Thread: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

  1. #1

    Exclamation Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    My son is 5 weeks old and from the beginning bf has been a struggle. I have never really been able to get him to latch properly. I can't seem to get him to open wide enough and he squirms and pushes away. I was also switching breasts every time he came off thinking he was done with that side. I think this just over stimulated production because a couple of weeks ago he started getting really fussy at feedings. He would unlatch and cry, so I would relatch and we would do this for hours sometimes. So I have been really making an effort to finish one side by bf on one breast for sometimes up to four hour blocks. He still only seems to want to stay on for short periods of times and constantly wakes up to feed. I literally got zero sleep last night because when I wasn't trying to get him to stay latched he was either crying or squirming. I've tried lying down and nursing so maybe I could sleep while he eats but he wont stay latched and he doesn't seem to really like that position. He sometimes fall asleep at the breast, in cradle hold, but as soon as I lay him down he wakes up and starts squirming again. I tried swaddling and walking around to get him to sleep but nothing is working anymore. I feel like I'm about to lose my mind! I don't know what he wants!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    How is weight gain and output (poops)?

    Does nursing hurt (any nipple or breast pain) and/or is it uncomfortable for you? (back, neck shoulders strain etc.)?

    If baby is not gaining well or nursing is painful or uncomfortable, something probably needs adjusting. If gain is fine and nursing is comfortable, probably nothing is wrong. So we can advise better once we know those two things.

    Generally speaking- imo it is very premature to block nurse for 4 hours or any other set time. Block nursing reduces production and is meant to be done in cases of severe overproduction, or it may unduly harm production. You are right, making baby take each side each feeding may have overly increased production, but all you have to do to fix that is stop doing that. I am not saying you have low production, I am saying, stop worrying about block nursing and stop worrying about baby 'finishing' one side, getting hind milk, or whatever else you have been told about that. These are non-issues.

    Newborn babies normally nurse or bottle feed around the clock and mothers of 5 week old babies do not get much sleep. So that is normal. It is also temporary.

    Most babies want to be held most of the time. Most babies typically sleep great cuddled safe and warm on mom or on another trusted adult. 'Laying a baby down to sleep' in the early months is pretty much a fairy tale.

    I suggest- Nurse when baby wants as long as baby wants. If baby pulls off one side, or stops nursing vigorously, you may offer the other side if you want. If seems to be falling asleep, I would suggest, don’t try switching and let baby nurse to sleep. If baby is done, give baby to someone else to hold if that is possible, and take a nap.

    try laid back positioning (different than sidelying)- let me know if you need more info

    Consider co-sleeping. Most babies worldwide sleep with their mothers. There are guidelines and possible risks (& they may not be what you think) you should be aware of, let us know if you want more info.

    Sleep when baby sleeps.

    Get help with everything else so you can concentrate most of your energy on caring for yourself and your dear baby.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    He has gained at least three pounds, although his is an approximate because he hasn't been weighed since two weeks. It's not painful necessarily but it's not always comfortable to nurse.

    The reason why I started to block feed was because I didn't know any other way I could slow down production. Even now there are times when I try to nurse him and he just unlatches and is in hysterics. But he still roots so I know he isn't done feeding. It gets to the point where he is totally inconsolable and won't even relatch. It is the most frustrating thing to try and feed your baby and he seems to be hating it as much as you are. I do feed him in a reclined position, I sit up in bed and lean back on a bunch of pillows for a reclined cradle hold. The first couple weeks we were laying down and nursing just fine, which was great because I actually got some sleep, but now it's much more difficult.

    I try to pick him up every time he cries and we are already co sleeping. When I said lay him down I meant next to me. It is too uncomfortable to try and sleep myself with a sleeping baby in a reclined cradle hold. I can't give him to my husband because I don't trust that he won't take him and 'let him cry it out' (we are from two different schools of thought). I also have 3 stepchildren and a husband who works so I don't always have the luxury of just focusing on the baby.

    I feel like I can't read his signals. Just now I was trying to feed him but he came off and started screaming. Switched sides and fine for a moment. Then same thing so switched back. Again came off so I burped and he was fine, for a moment then started screaming out of the blue. So I tried to put back on, wouldn't even take it. Now he is hysterical and I don't know what to do??

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    Ok, I am sorry this is so frustrating. But I still do not understand why you think you are doing something wrong. You are not doing anything wrong, you have a very fussy baby. It happens, quite a lot. This sounds like colic. Mommal is so good with colic tips I will leave those suggestions to her.

    Severe overproduction and/or forceful letdown can certainly lead to a fussy baby. And yes block nursing reduces production. But probably best to keep trying techniques for helping baby handle the flow first, or while, you are block nursing. This is because block nursing can actually exacerbate the issues before it works well enough to slow down production.
    I am going to link an article about block nursing that you can look at when you have a chance. It may well be you should block nurse, you just want to understand the process.

    I am sorry you cannot trust your husband to get you if baby needs you, but don't you think you would wake up if your baby was screaming? I think you would. You need some sleep. When your husband comes home, give him baby and try to sleep.

    You have a newborn. Newborn takes precedence over older children. It is not a luxury to take care of an infant. It's a necessity, because an infant truly needs to be held by you, (or someone) no matter what else you might be doing. Luckily newborns are very portable and you can do other things while holding baby.

    Do you have a sling or wrap, some other baby carrier?
    Any other relatives that could be helping out?
    It can really help to get around other nursing moms. Any local breastfeeding support?

    I do not know why side lying is not working for you, I suggest, keep trying, making adjustments as make sense for you. As far as laid back, what if you lay back with baby vertical on you (see picture for example) or in some other position that is more comfortable than cradle?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; November 3rd, 2013 at 09:38 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    I'm definitely going to stop block feeding because I don't want to hurt my supply. I haven't associated his behavior with colic because he usually doesn't cry long or I can eventually distract him from his crying. I do have two carriers I can use but all he does is sleep in them and if I have him in one a lot during the day all he doesn't sleep at night at all. Also I'm not sleeping when he is sleeping if he is in the carrier. My husband likes to take him out of the house when he takes him for me so unfortunately I don't hear his cries in that case. Thanks for the advice, I will definitely try new positioning and start switching sides as I feel necessary. There is a support group that I haven't been able to attend yet but I do plan on joining within the next week.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    Tips for dealing with colicky crying or babies who are difficult to soothe:
    - Calm house. Lights, TV, and stereo turned down or preferably off.
    - White noise. Vacuum cleaner noises, radio static, breathing and heartbeat sounds.
    - Closeness. Cuddle baby up in a sling or close to bare skin.
    - Motion. Rock in a rocking chair, put baby in a swing, bounce gently on exercise ball, take baby for a stroller ride.
    - Nurse as much as possible, if baby is willing.
    - Warm water. Give baby a bath in the sink or get into the tub with him/her. This is especially good for babies who are struggling with gas or having difficulty pooping- the warm water can relax them enough to allow them to pass what is bothering them.
    - Trip outside. Take baby outside in sling or stroller, or simply move him close to a window so the light that is striking him changes.

    For my kids, coping with mysterious infant crying was all about changing their sensory inputs. Nothing worked for long, so I had to keep changing it up- when one technique failed, I moved on to another.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    What sounded like colic to me is the timing-things were fine for the first few weeks, then suddenly, there was this crying & fussing...

    If the crying is not sustained and/or painful crying, and baby can be soothed, and baby is gaining normally, that part of it is back to just sounding pretty normal to me. But since nursing is not comfortable, and you think there is a breastfeeding related issue, it may certainly be helpful to meet with an IBCLC (professional lactation consultant) or any breastfeeding support person as soon as you can.

    Hang in there. It sounds to me you are meeting your baby's needs and that is what it's all about.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    What about reflux? He seems to be displaying a lot of the symptoms. I think 'colic' is too generalized of a term. If babies are fussy there is usually a reason. The reason I point to reflux is because even though he doesn't spit up very often he does get hiccups a lot (especially after eating), he hates being on his back, he doesn't want to eat a lot in one sitting (overfull stomach causing more acid to build up). He acts like he is super hungry, latches on for about 5 minutes and then is 'done.' Sometimes he acts still interested in feeding but usually I will have to attempt to relatch over and over until I can't get him to open his mouth anymore. Sometime he will even unlatch and cry but continue to root. Him taking small meals constantly does not work for either of us because neither of us is getting sufficient sleep, which only exacerbates his feeding problems and my frustration. If it is reflux than what can I do? I am planning on meeting with a lactation consultant next week and I am buying a breast pump tomorrow so that I can see what is going on with my supply and perhaps also see if he might take more out of a bottle.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Help! I can't figure out what is going on

    Yes, all of that does sound like it could be reflux. It also sounds like a normal newborn-this is why reflux is way overdiagnosed. This is something you will want to talk to your baby's doctor about. I really like the article on www.askdrsears.com about reflux, unfortunately that website is not working for me these days. Maybe you will have better luck.

    "reflux" is also a general term, as all it really means is that some of the food that went down is coming back up, which is usually entirely normal in a baby. PAINFUL reflux is different, and is indicated by the following- painful spitup, painful burps, pain when laid flat, poor weight gain, refusal to nurse, constant nursing. If the problem IS reflux, medication should help. Other things that often help with reflux are breastfeeding, feeding baby very frequently, holding baby upright most of the time and certainly after feedings.

    Him taking small meals constantly does not work for either of us because neither of us is getting sufficient sleep, which only exacerbates his feeding problems and my frustration.
    How do you define small meals, sufficient sleep, and constantly? All of this can be normal in these early weeks, unless they are part of/indicators of a larger issue ( low milk production, poor latch, poor gain...) A lactation consultant can help you you figure out if there is a breastfeeding issue and what to do about it.

    Are you going to measure your milk production by how much you pump? This is not typically very accurate, just fyi.

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