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Thread: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

  1. #1

    Default Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    Hello. This past week has been terrible with feedings. My son is 3.5 months old, ebf, and diagnosed with reflux for which he takes Nexium.

    It all started about a week ago when he didn't want to latch on my left breast. Using a pacifier and pulling it out and offering the breast quickly seemed to work a few times. Then it stopped working so I tried the football hold which also stopped working. Then he started refusing my right breast. The only way I can get him to latch on his by walking around bouncing him and I'm afraid that is going to stop working soon too.

    Now he screams bloody murder as soon as he is placed in the cradle or football hold. (I even tried the straddle/upright hold which he seemed to hate as well) Also, he wants to be fed every 2 hours and seems to be in more pain after feedings (arching, etc.)

    I'm so torn as to what to try. I hate that he is on Nexium but should I consider asking the doctor to increase the dosage? Can reflux cause pain BEFORE feeds? Could this just be a growth spurt? Although if he was hungry you would think he would latch? I really don't know what to do I feel terrible for him and I am so scared he is going to associate breastfeeding with pain/discomfort/upset and develop a breastfeeding aversion if this continues much longer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    Have you tried pumping and offering a bottle? This might help determine if the aversion is to nursing on the breast of consuming milk at all. If the aversion is just to nursing I would continue to offer the breast and don't fret if he doesn't accept it. (However, I wouldn't offer him bottles in exchange or he may develop a preference for the bottle) If the aversion is to consuming milk in any fashion then I would follow up with your ped to see if he meds need to be increased or if he has an ear infection or teething (yes, it can happen that early).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Colorado
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    9

    Default Re: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    My baby was doing the same thing when she was about 2mo old. I would try to nurse and she would go CRAZY! Screaming at me, swatting, arching away, you name it. It was so frustrating I didn't know what to do. What helped her get over it was when I tried nursing her in a random place that I hadn't before. For instance, I usually nursed in my living room in a rocking chair. Instead of trying to get her on there I would bring her into the kitchen or some other place. This helped as well as leading her on with the pacifier. Have you tried the side-lying position? This worked well for my daughter when she was anti-nursing. I would turn the lights of and lay side by side with her quietly.
    Just hang in there. I thought I was going to have to start exclusively pumping but she eventually got over it and we worked it out

  4. #4

    Default Re: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    Thank you both for your responses. I will try pumping and seeing how he takes the bottle. I've been kind of scared to do that specifically because I didn't want him to develop a preference for bottle but I guess one time won't hurt. Colomom - do you remember how long it took to get back to normal? Were you able to go back to your regular nursing spaces? I tried the side lying position a few minutes ago he didn't seem to like it. It just breaks my heart every time he does this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,406

    Default Re: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    In my experience a baby gets fussy like this around nursing due to

    1) Some pain (teething, ear ache, headache, reflux. more rarely, some allergy)
    2) Unhappiness with the rate of milk flow (too fast or too slow.) This is very common at this age. IN fact, 3-4 months is a very common time for all kinds of wonky nursing behavior.

    It sounds as if baby is requesting to nurse with high-normal regularity. Baby may be in some discomfort, wanting to comfort nurse, and then finding it is not all that comforting after all? As long as baby is nursing enough to get enough milk, baby refusing some of the time is ok. Does this crying and refusal happen each time? Have you tried offering the breast between cues as well? the kellymom article help my baby won't nurse has many good tips for encouraging the reluctant nurser.

    Reflux pain can come and go, so I am not sure one bottle would prove or disprove reflux. If baby DOES take the bottle, mom is perhaps left feeling as if baby is rejecting the breast, or worse, her. This is one way how one bottle can sometimes hurt. It undermines a mothers confidence. And we already know baby is refusing to nurse. I understand the idea, I am just saying I have seen these kind of tests backfire in practice.

    A bottle may be helpful if baby is very frantic due to hunger, and you give baby a little milk in the bottle to calm baby so baby can latch and nurse. Kind of like what you were doing with the pacifier. I am not saying there is no use to them. If you (Jensmith) think it will give you useful information to give baby a bottle, then of course do so. But I suggest, be careful about what conclusions you draw from the outcome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    I think that mine was fussing at the breast for at least a solid month and probably more like two. It got to the point where she would only eat from a bottle but now I'm able to nurse anywhere I want with her without using a pacifier to get her on.
    One thing that worked for me was that I would hold her in the cradle position with my breast out and give her the paci. Once she was calm and content I would take the paci away and then try to get her to nurse. If she started to fuss I just quickly gave her the paci back and didn't push it. Then, I would try again in a minute or two.
    I took a lot of patience and I remember times where I would be pumping her a bottle and sobbing at the same time.
    Does your baby still nurse well at night? If so you could try getting him on right when he wakes up from naps. That also worked to get mine back on.

    If you have a moby wrap or other baby sling you could try placing him in that and nursing on the go. Some babies nurse better upright and with some movement.
    mom to one beautiful 10/31/13

  7. #7

    Default Re: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    My little one started doing this around 3 months. It was also around the time I returned to work full time. I knew it wasn't because she was unsatisfied with the flow of my milk versus the bottle because she wouldn't even attempt to latch. The second I even tried to place her in a nursing position she would arch and scream. I researched it and spoke to a couple lactation consultants and was basically told this happens, especially with working moms and it was something I would just have to deal with and just become an exclusively pumping mom. I refused to take that!

    I tried multiple methods including some mentioned above such as using the pacifier and swapping out quickly when possible. I also tried walking around to soothe her and try to offer at the same time. Another method was to try and nurse in the middle of the night when they are still sleepy and may nurse subconsciously. Those have worked for others, but I was unsuccessful.

    After two whole weeks (it seemed like a lifetime) I finally found a method that worked! The suggestion came as a last resort tip from a lactation consultant. Nurse while in the bathtub! She told me this with not much faith and said it sounds weird but it may work. Well it did. After two weeks of battling a screaming, arching baby when trying to nurse she latched right on like she's been doing it all along with no issues. I made sure we were both relaxed and no outlying distractions and it so worked. I took things slow and only attempted to nurse while in the bathtub each night. After a few nights of that, I then attempted to nurse outside of that scenario and was successful. Things were finally back to normal and 5 months later we are still doing great with no issues at all.

    Good luck Mama!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Baby screaming before feeds doesn't want to latch on

    Thank you all so so much for your suggestions and stories. I love hearing that you were able to get back to normal. I'm not sure why I didn't try before but the past 3 times he's screamed at the breast I have turned my white noise app on my phone and he calmed right down and latched on!! Here's to hoping this method keeps working! If not we may try the tub - especially since he always calms down at bath time : )

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