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Thread: Finicky Baby

  1. #1

    Question Finicky Baby

    Hi everyone.

    This is my first post on the site so bare with me. My baby, PJ, will be 3 months this week so I'm kind of on the cusp between this section and the 3-6 month section. I'm a FTM so breastfeeding was a totally new experience for me but it turned out very well once PJ and I found our groove. But, in the last several weeks we've been running into some problems. I'm just gonna list them here and would appreciate advise on any or all issues.
    1) In the last month or so PJ has started getting very "thrashy" while nursing. What I mean is that he'll latch on just fine, nurse for anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes and then will start thrashing and fussing. He'll break away, then latch back on, suck for a few seconds, break away again, and so on. I thought initially that it might be something I ate but, when I pump the same milk and give it to him in a bottle, he would take it just fine. So I thought that I may have a forceful let-down so I tested it by hand expressing and it only ever dripped, never shot out. Just to see if it made a difference, I tried pumping for a couple minutes before letting him latch on - still no improvement. I've also tried multiple positions. He does tend to have a pretty strong oral-colic reflex so I'm thinking that may be a contributing factor but, again, it doesn't happen with bottles. It's also important to note that this doesn't happen EVERY time either. It seems to only be when he's nursing while wide awake....when I nurse him while he's sleepy (like first thing in the morning or before nap time), he's absolutely fine.
    2) Sometimes the above occurs with the addition of him becoming very fussy and crying/screaming. He has reflux but is on an adequate medication as evidenced by his improved spitting up and lack of arching. I think this is his way of telling me he's done because if I just back off and put my breast away, he immediately stops fussing. The problem here is that 98% of the time, he immediately starts chewing on his fists and I have to "top him off" with a bottle, which he takes eagerly.
    3) In the last week he's started becoming very distracted. I'll put the nipple/bottle in his mouth and he'll take that time to start flirting and will smile and giggle rather than latching on and sucking. We've never made feeding time a playful time and I play with him constantly so I'm not sure why he feels this is the time to play but it ends up taking several minutes to get him to focus and, even when he finally does, he sucks, then plays, then sucks, then plays. It's gotten to where an adequate feeding, either by breast or bottle is taking upwards of 45 minutes when it usually takes no more than 20 mintues.
    4) He's suddenly taking much smaller feedings than before. He was up to 4oz from the bottle & 20-25 min total nursing time....now he's only taking 2-3 oz from the bottle and will only nurse effectively for about 10-12 minutes total. He's still eating every 2 hours (sometimes every 1.5 hrs) just like always but, EVERY time he takes these mini feeds, he spends the time until his next feeding sucking on his fists but won't take any more. Again, this doesn't happen every time...maybe 85-90%.
    5) I just went back to work last week. My milk supply has dropped drastically. I work 10 hr shifts & generally nurse PJ in the morning before I leave & then pump at work. I find that I can really only pump once, MAYBE twice, while at work. My employer is great & even has a room set aside for me to pump. I'm just really busy all day & end up using 1/2 my lunch break to pump. Then I nurse PJ when I get home & every feedig until bed. He pretty much sleeps through the night so I rarely nurse at night. Anyway, between my returning to work & the other issues, I'm afraid my supply is gonna dry up. I'm only geting 3-4 oz when I pump now when I used to get 6-8 oz. I'm drinking Mother's Milk tea & adding Brewers Yeast to everything but it's not helping.

    So, those are my issues. I think that's probably enough!! Ready ladies?? GO!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    Here are a few thoughts to get things started:
    First, I'm wondering whether baby is developing some bottle preference - explaining why he fusses at the breast, then happily takes a bottle. Are you using paced feeding techniques? You want the bottle-feeding experience to be similar to the breastfeeding experience. Here are a couple links:
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/

    That said, chewing on fists is very normal behavior. Baby is discovering the parts of his body, his hands are fascinating to him, and everything is going to be going into his mouth for quite a while to come. Just because he takes a bottle, does not mean that he is hungry. If he's chewing on his fists, first offer the breast. If he's not interested, let him go back to the fists for a little while, then try the breast again.

    A 2-3 oz feeding is perfectly normal for a breastfed baby. Also, babies get more efficient at nursing as they get older, so feedings often do become shorter (unless baby is distracted, discussed below). Also completely normal for baby to continue to nurse every 1.5 - 2 hours. Unlike formula-fed babies, breastfed babies don't really change their eating patterns (other than getting more efficient) as they get older - ie they don't start drinking more and more in less frequent sessions, but continue to have small, frequent meals.

    It's normal for baby to become more distracted as they get older. Why should nursing be serious? When he's nursing he's close to the most beloved person in his life and he wants to interact with her! I would go with the flow. Nurse, giggle, flirt, nurse - so what if it takes 45 minutes? It's 45 minutes of nursing AND playing - how is that different from 20 minutes of nursing and 25 minutes of playing? Sure, sometimes you are in a hurry getting ready for work, etc - if that's the case, try a darkened, boring space.

    Supply: Okay, this is a problem. It's wonderful that your employer is great, but if you want to maintain supply, USE that special pumping room! I know work can be busy. You need to schedule pumping sessions into your day, just like you would schedule a meeting into your day. Set your phone to alarm at pumping time. Or whatever it takes. I had a plan at the beginning of every day of how I was going to fit my pumping sessions into everything else I had to do. Of course it's fine to pump during lunch too, but a typical mom would need to pump at least three times in a 10 hour shift. And the sleeping through the night is a problem too, because since you're pumping very little, if you are also not nursing much when you are home, that is a recipe for supply tanking. How much is your baby drinking of expressed milk while you're at work? It's important not to overfeed - he should be getting 15 oz max for your 10 hour shift (and could be lower than that if you can get him to do lots of nursing when you're together). If he's drinking too much while you're at work, he's not going to be motivated to nurse when you are home. If he is swaddled at night or has a pacifier, you might want to stop doing those things to see if he'll wake up more to nurse. And/or do dream feeds - babies will instinctively nurse in their sleep. No amount of mother's milk tea or yeast or oatmeal can make up for not nursing and pumping enough.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    Hi Autumn.norton and welcome.

    Here is what I thought when reading your post-that it's too bad that a typical time for moms to go back to work is three months! This is because, ~ three months is classically a time when many things change in baby's feeding behavior, weight gain, AND the lactating breast, and these changes are almost always normal, but they very often alarm mom. Short feedings, distraction, fussiness at the breasts, softer breasts, lower than before (but still entirely normal and adequate) milk production, slower gain rate,...these are all normal at this age. But taken together, they could also indicate some issue. it's possible. And since you are also having or may have the typical challenges of adjusting to regular separations for work, pumping and bottles, and keeping up milk production when away from baby for many hours each day, it can get quite confusing as to what is going on.

    I agree with pp. It is vital you extract milk from your breasts more than once in a 10+ hour period! Really, pumping 3 times during the work day would probably be what you want to shoot for at this point. Pumping, hand expression, having baby brought to you to nurse, working shorter or more flexible hours-whatever option you choose. But something has to change there. Such infrequent milk removal WILL hurt your milk production. I doubt it did much harm in one week, but ongoing, this is going to be a big problem, as is a baby who 'sleeps through the night', depending on what you mean. Together, you have a serious issue here. If you are pumping this infrequently, and baby is not nursing for long periods at night, how many times is milk being extracted from your breasts in a 24 hour day? Most 3 month olds nurse a minimum of 8 times a 24 hour day. So that is the minimum times milk should be extracted via nursing or pumping each day. And for many moms and babies, more often is what is normal.

    I'm drinking Mother's Milk tea & adding Brewers Yeast to everything but it's not helping.
    I don't think you actually have low milk production-yet. I think you are trying to get/think you should get more from one pump session than is normal. So the answer there (aside from trouble shooting your pump, always a good idea) is to pump more often. The way you keep milk production in good shape is frequent removal of milk from the breasts. All the galactagogues in the world will not help if that is not happening.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; May 16th, 2014 at 11:26 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    Thank you both for the advice! I like the idea of setting an alarm to remind me to pump. The fact is that I just get busy seeing my patients and talking to families and - poof - before I know it, the day is gone and I've only pumped once. I'm sure my employer would be okay with me taking a couple fewer patients to allow some extra time in my day to pump...I'm so very blessed to work for a company that is very family focused!

    As for the "sleeping through the night" thing. Meg, you were wondering what that meant....PJ usually goes to bed around 8pm and then sleeps until around 3am. At that point I get up and nurse him and then he sleeps until about 6:30 or 7, unless it's a work day for me, in which case I get him up at around 5:30 to nurse before I leave.

    Okay so, new plan is to pump pump pump so I can keep feeding this baby with the boobie juice goodness!! It's truly overwhelming trying to find enough time for all this while also trying to jump back into my "old life" but I'm up for the challenge....anything for my sweet PJ!! Thanks again for the advice ladies!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    Perhaps you might also think about adding a dream feed right before you go to bed, you don't necessarily need to fully wake him up to eat. I know my LO will nurse in his sleep.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    Ok, so 8 pm-3 am is 7 hours between nursing sessions, and then baby nurses again 3-4 hours later? Thanks for clarifying. Some folks say 'sleeping through the night' and mean sleeping and no nursing for 5 hours, and some mean 8, and some mean 10, and some mean 12! Some mean that baby sleeps many hours, but nurses IN their sleep several times. So, it is good to know what is actually happening.

    It is only ~5 hours at once with no nursing that is relatively normal for a 3 month old, although of course many babies do not yet go that long, and some go longer and are completely fine. Also, it may change in the coming months and baby wake on their own more often. That is normal too.

    I agree with pp. 7 hours at once on a daily basis would probably be fine for a baby of three months who is gaining well and nursing lots the rest of the day. But it may be too long for when you are just back at work and still figuring out your pump schedule and also, figuring out how your milk production is going to respond to pumping instead of nursing almost half the day. While you are figuring all this out, best to lean to the side of caution in my opinion. Does that make sense to you? (Nursing more often never hurts, so I cannot say "err on the side of caution.)

    Another idea to add to increasing pumping frequency and adding a dream feed is to nurse LOTS on your days off.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    Do you have to chart at all between seeing patients? One idea is to set yourself up with a hands-free pumping setup - there are bras that you can use for this purpose, or you can fashion some on your own by taking a snug-fitting cami and cutting out holes in it. That way you can pump while sitting at the computer charting. Also, to make your pumping sessions as efficient as possible, realize that you don't need to wash all your parts after each session. You can stick them in the fridge, but even if that's not possible, it's okay to reuse your valves/flanges/membranes. Or, what I did was to get multiple sets of parts and assemble everything at home (ie, hook up the flanges and valves to the bottles), so I could just plug in and pump. And keep in mind a short pumping session is better than none at all - if you find you only have five minutes of pumping time because you've run over with a patient, go ahead and use those five minutes, maybe add in another short session a little later.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    WOW...you ladies are full of ideas!!!

    So, last night I did a dream feed around 10 before I went to bed, nursed him before going to work this morning, and I've pumped twice already at work and I'm only half way through my day...I should be good for at least one more and maybe two. I've already noticed a more abundant let-down after only a few extra pumping sessions. bfwmomof3...I do have a hands-free set up and it's very useful. I just take my laptop into the pumping room and chart while pumping....it works out great!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Finicky Baby



    I also did all of my charting and paperwork while pumping with a hands free set up. I was a 4x/day pumper, so I really needed to maximize my time management. Hands-free pumping while doing documentation was the best way for me to get everything done! I would actually specifically save up all of my charting FOR my pumping breaks.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Finicky Baby

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*autumn.norton View Post
    I've already noticed a more abundant let-down after only a few extra pumping sessions.
    That's great!

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