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Thread: Forceful letdown or colic

  1. #1
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Forceful letdown or colic

    I have a 5 week who is colicky in the evenings. He nurses well all day but in the evening he fitfully nurses on and off for a few min and then comes off the breast screaming. I feel it is because of forceful letdown because sometimes he coughs and chokes. Although he seems to handle that force during the he just wont nurse in the evening. I have tried pumping before nursing, I hold him higher than the breast but nothing works. Is it colic that is causing the problem or my letdown?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    Does it seem worse if it has been a while since baby nursed? That would indicate ffld, because the longer the milk builds up in the breast, the more forceful the flow is likely to be.

    The fact it only happens in the evening suggests more of a colic (or a more mild, “fussy nursing time”) to me. 'Colic' is kind of a catch all but typically is defined as sustained crying of a couple hours or more, with baby unable to be calmed by any (or most) measures, the crying is around the same time of day, typically evening-ish, and it usually is temporary-lasting from a few weeks to several weeks.

    Of course, both issues could be going on. When my daughter was about the same age, we definitely had both colic and ffld going on. The simple things that work for ffld like nursing frequently, nursing up hill, and taking baby off the breast briefly when the milk first gets flowing & letting baby nurse one side at a time (if baby prefers) are not going to do any harm and may well help even if the issue is not specifically ffld. I think pumping prior to nursing is (for many moms) kind of a hassle and might increase milk production, which you probably do not want.

    Mommal has a great list of tips for colic. Personally I found I just had to keep changing baby's stimuli (take baby outside, hold baby near the sound of the turned on oven fan, play pass the baby with my husband, rocking, jiggling, dancing etc. etc. and what worked one night might not work the next. I would keep offering to nurse and eventually she would calm down just enough to do so, but it could take a couple hours.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    Tips for colic:
    - Nurse. Nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse- if baby is willing!
    - Calm house. Lights, TV, and stereo down or off.
    - White noise. Radio static, dryer sounds, the sound the car makes as it goes down the road, the sound of breathing and heartbeat
    - Motion. Rock in a rocker, bounce on an exercise ball, swing, stroller ride, put baby in sling and go for a walk, etc.
    - Closeness. Cuddle baby close in a sling or skin-to-skin on your bare chest.
    - Warm water. Give baby a soap-free bath in the sink or get into the tub with him.
    - Trip outside. Bundle baby up and get him out in the fresh air, or take him over to a window if the weather is too nasty. Sometimes a simple change in the quality of the light will work.

    As LLLMeg said, it's all about changing the incoming stimuli, distracting baby from his fussiness for a few minutes. Nothing is likely to work for long, so you just keep changing what you're doing. As soon as one thing stops working, you try 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!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Does it seem worse if it has been a while since baby nursed?.
    No, the problem is always there. I dont think I have an over supply either because I hardly ever have an engorgement. I pump when I have to take the baby out I have a hard time pumping enough milk for him and few hours later I have engorgement.

    The baby seems to deal with the flow fine when he in sleep, but when he is awake he chokes and coughs. It's the worst during his colicky episodes, I know nursing would calm him down but this ffld only makes things worse.

    The baby does not like it when I hold him upright, I hand express before I nurse that does not help either. Even tried clamping the aereola with my index and middle fingers while nursing- does not work.

    Please help.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Tips for Colic
    Thank you.
    I will try these. I have the patience to try and calm the baby by doing whatever it takes, but the family insists on giving gripe water. Apparently I am not a good mom if I let the baby cry and do nothing but rock him

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    It's rough when your family is right on top of you, insisting that they know best how to help your baby. People forget that the maternal in maternal instincts belongs to the mom, not the grandma or the dad or the great-aunt or the cousin-in-law.

    If the gripe water thing is really bugging you, just ban discussion of it. Throw the nosy/bossy family members out of the house, if necessary, or retire to your own space if you can't toss them out the door. It's hard for a nosy granny to come in and "help" you when you're behind a closed door.

    That being said, I wouldn't make gripe water the line in the sand. It's pretty harmless. You can either give baby some, or just take him into the bathroom, put a dropperful down the sink, and then honestly answer "Yes, I did use some."
    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!"

  7. #7

    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    You pump when you go out, so do you mean baby gets bottles when you are out rather than nursing? Is this a frequent occurrence? Because sometimes bottles and "nipple" or "flow" confusion can cause the behavior you are seeing.

    Also if you are not able to pump effectively and are thus getting engorged, that will reduce your milk production. Not once or very occasionally, but if it is regular. And of course, becoming engorged has other risks.

    If you would like info on nursing in public please let us know.

    For ffld, I think the most helpful remedy is to nurse laid back (mom reclined, baby on top) and to nurse frequently. FFLD is REALLY not a problem if it is only part of the day and baby is gaining fine and nurses fine most of the time. And it usually calms down over time.

    I am with you on the gripe water. I used it a lot with my oldest who was very very very fussy for months and I really do not think it did a thing. Now that I understand more about breastmilk and gut development, I am pretty opposed to a healthy, gaining baby being given anything but mama's milk. And the suggested amount is often so gigantic!
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; November 18th, 2013 at 05:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    Let me give you the whole story
    I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy. He nursed after an hour of his birth and went to sleep and I could not wake him up to feed for the next 4 hours. We were told that he was not waking up because his glucose levels were too low, which happens when mom has GD, and that mom's milk is not enough to bring the glucose levels up. So we had to give him formula and that continued because I had unbearable pain when I put him on my breast. For two weeks he got both formula and my pumped milk in bottle. During the third week I was pumping enough milk and we stopped the formula for good and he also started liking breastfeeding. It was such a relief to get him off the bottle I assumed it would take weeks. So at the end of third week he was completely breastfed although he did get the bottle once a week when we took him to the doctor's. He did not seem to have any nipple confusion.

    My question was why my baby is not nursing, I now know its my letdown and he screams as soon as I lift my shirt. I spoke to a local LLL leader who thinks he is crying because he wants the bottle as he doesn't have a problem with the strong letdown when he is asleep.

    The position you suggested is helping but it takes about half hour to calm the baby, get him to latch and suck. How can I make him like the breast again? I also need to do something about the letdown because it is a problem as the baby is awake for 4 hours early morning and 4 hours in the evening. He cries because he is hungry and doesn't want my breast.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown or colic

    I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy. He nursed after an hour of his birth and went to sleep and I could not wake him up to feed for the next 4 hours. We were told that he was not waking up because his glucose levels were too low, which happens when mom has GD, and that mom's milk is not enough to bring the glucose levels up.
    Did anyone ever check the baby's blood glucose, or was this a "you had GD and therefore he must have low blood sugar" situation? The reason I ask is that there is a huge amount of medical mismanagement when it comes to the babies of moms with GD. If your baby's blood sugar was checked, it's possible that some sort of supplement was necessary. If not, it's possible that your baby was just taking a long post-birth nap, which is quite common.

    My question was why my baby is not nursing, I now know its my letdown and he screams as soon as I lift my shirt. I spoke to a local LLL leader who thinks he is crying because he wants the bottle as he doesn't have a problem with the strong letdown when he is asleep.
    If there's some nipple confusion going on, the key is to gently and calmly lure baby back to more nursing. If he nurses well when asleep, embrace that opportunity to teach him just how nice nursing is. If you can avoid bottles altogether, that's ideal, even if the baby kicks up a fuss. The more opportunities he gets to learn to love the breast and forget the bottle, the better.

    If you do resort to a bottle, try to bottlefeed in a breastfeeding-friendly manner. Make sure the feeding takes place at your bare chest- baby should associate being at the breast with being fed. Wait until the baby has opened his mouth very wide before putting the bottle into his mouth- that way he won't learn sloppy latch habits. Pause the feeding frequently to get baby used to the ebb and flow rhythm of nursing. Switch him from side to side over the course of the feeding, as you would move him from one breast to the other. Make sure you keep the amounts in the bottles small- just a couple oz- and always try to nurse afterwards. The more often baby concludes the feeding with unlimited time at the breast, the more he will associate the breast with comfort, satiation, and relaxation.
    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!"

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