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Thread: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

  1. #1

    Default Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    I'm a first time poster, but have been doing plenty of late-night lurking here since my son was born almost 5 weeks ago.

    Baby and I had a rough start to breastfeeding while we were still in the hospital, leaving me with gnarly looking nipples and weeks of painful nursing. Then at 4 weeks, I was mostly healed, and we were becoming a good team. We had a few consecutive good days of nursing this week! And then out of nowhere, baby started this tugging thing. Sometimes he'll only nurse for a few minutes and then start thrashing his head around, still attached to me. Most of the time he isn't adjusting his latch when he does this. I don't know what is causing it, but it sure hurts! (Especially on the occasions when he ends up pulling his head all the way back, stretching my nipple to the max, before forcefully sliding off.) He even does this during nighttime nursing when there are no distractions. What's causing this change in behavior, and how can I stop it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,813

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    The tugging/thrashing/sliding off the breast thing... That's one of those mysterious nursing quirks that some babies pick up. Sometimes it's the baby's way of coping with a fast flow, and trying to control it. Sometimes it's his way of encouraging a slow flow to speed up. And sometimes it's just a baby being a baby.

    Have you tried nursing in a reclined position? It's often harder for a baby to do the thrashing thing when gravity is helping hold him on the breast. And if fast flow is a problem, reclined positions will help with it.
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    My son did this too around the same age. After nursing for 10-15 minutes he'd pop on and off, thrash/shake his head and seemed uncomfortable. It took me a couple days and several nursing sessions of this occurring for 1-1.5 hours to realize it was his way of saying "I'm painfully full but I still need the comfort of nursing to help me sleep". Now when he does this I use my large exercise ball to bounce him to sleep.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    I do want to add, I was not concerned with DS's weight gain (he was packing on the pounds very quickly) or about stimulating the breast frequently enough (we'd nurse 18+ times a day) so I was comfortable helping him sleep without always nursing him to sleep. Your situation might be different.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    739

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    I think my baby does that when he doesn't think he is getting enough out of the breast. Or he will do the thing where he spits out and slurps the nipple back in which is very painful too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,259

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    I think all ideas above are good ones. This is a common behavior, but it seems to have a different 'cause' baby to baby. I think trying positioning as mommal describes is a good idea, also, changing up position in any way you like.

    Also, If it appears related to a slow flow, maybe try breast compressions? Or switching sides?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    Thanks for the replies.

    I've tried reclined nursing, but find it really awkward. Sometimes I can scooch down a little once he is latched, but if I am too reclined I feel like he is going to suffocate in my breast as it softens (and they aren't all that big). I should also mention that along with the tugging, he has also started to get really fussy. He'll often cry within a couple minutes of pulling away. He's also frequently doing many of the things that go along with bad gas: arching back, crying out suddenly, drawing legs up into body. Weight gain is good, over an ounce per day.

    And now, in the past day or so I have become engorged for the first time since my milk initially came in. One breast leaked all over as I slept last night, and they just keep refilling very quickly and fully. I don't know what I've done differently to cause this! I typically pump once every day or two after our first morning feeding, so that dad can give a bottle when I am out (I usually get 2-2.5 oz). Now I'm afraid to pump because I don't want to get even more milk on top of this. What to do?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    wow. My baby JUST started doing this with middle of the night feeds! I figured she wasn't really hungry and she just wanted to comfort nurse back to sleep. She latches ferociously and then thrashes around while attached, like trying to get away from the milk while still sucking.... It's super confusing behavior. tried giving her a paci instead and she spit it out and gave me this look like "You're got to be kidding..."

    Glad I read this post! I can't do the reclined nursing either, she hates that position. And she gets fussy like your baby after pulling away, too ethansmomma. Let me know if you figure out anything.

    As for the engorgement issue, I would only pump to comfort. Don't pump to empty the breast, but just enough to relieve engorgement. You won't be telling your breast to make more milk if you are only removing a small amount. It should help to even out things. If you don't want to pump, you can just hand express into the sink- that's what I do when I get engorged and don't want to empty the breasts. It's less stimulating than the pump, too.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tugging at Breast in Week 4

    my baby was doing this and my lc told me it might be an air bubble during feeding and to unlatch him, sway/burp him. i did when he did it again and sure enough, as soon as i put him on my knee he let out a huge belch!

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