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Thread: 3 week old refusing to clamp down- stumping me!

  1. #1

    Default 3 week old refusing to clamp down- stumping me!

    I can't figure out what's going on. My daughter is 3.5 weeks old. She's been a great nurser at the start: powerful suck from the first minute of life (my poor nipples), eating a ton, lots of poopy/wet diapers (still has them).

    Last week she started doing this thing where she will open her mouth to receive the nipple but won't clamp down. If i try to force the breast in she freaks out. Sometimes she'll push me away or shake her head to avoid the breast. When she does take the breast finally she often will pull off and cry at a couple points during the feeding (I've considered thrush on and off but she and I don't have the symptoms).
    She started this last week and now does it almost every feeding. It often takes me a while for her to accept the breast. I have not ever given her a bottle. She does take a binky when she's fussy, but she doesn't usually keep it on for long.
    My two instincts are this:
    1. Maybe she's not hungry. I keep on going back and forth on this. She does do this more often on the second breast, when she's already nursed on the first. But she also does it on the first as well even when it's been a few hours and she's clearly hungry. Often she'll be so upset that I give up and give her a binky until she falls asleep. My husband things she's just not hungry enough. But I'm not convinced of this.
    2. Nipple confusion with the pacifier ? The binky we use is one of those soother ones with a huge nipple which is huge compared to my nipple. could it be she's developed nipple confusion?

    Other specifics: She's only been doing this a week so I'm not sure if it's affected her weight/amt of milk she's taking in. But she has lots of wet/poopy diapers. OTherwise very healthy, feeds every 2-3 hours. Goes for longer stretched at night usually.

    I have a great milk supply but suffer from clogged ducts and mastitis often, as with my first son. So breast feeding isn't so fun for me. I'm almost ready to give up. Help, any ideas what's going on here???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,207

    Default Re: 3 week old refusing to clamp down- stumping me!

    Do you think you might have fast flow/forceful letdown? See if the description in this link sounds familiar: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

    If it is fast flow, a laid-back nursing position is the most helpful. There are pictures and information in these links:
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf - this is a starting point, you can play around with it
    http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/...stfeeding.html

    Another tip is if baby pulls off, let the fast flow spray into a cloth, then put baby back on.

    Over time, babies become more adept at dealing with fast flow, and supply regulates, so usually this gets better with time.

    If you think the pacifier might be the issue, you might try not using it for a few days, and see if that helps.

    The key to dealing with plugged ducts is to nurse very frequently. There are additional helpful tips here:
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,259

    Default Re: 3 week old refusing to clamp down- stumping me!

    I agree w/bfwmomof3. It may be that your baby is not hungry, but at 3 weeks old you can expect a baby to nurse 10-15 times per 24 hour day, not on any particular schedule (extremely frequent part of the day and less so other parts of the day) and not always for hunger. It is normal, healthy and important for breastfeeding in many ways if baby comforts at the breast. So I would suggest putting the pacifier away for now (or keep it only for emergency use, such as in the car.)

    Is nursing comfortable for you now? Although nipple pain early on is common, a good latch should not cause you pain or injury.

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