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Thread: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

  1. #1

    Default Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    Hi, I am a first time mom to an almost 4 week old daughter (will be 4 weeks this sunday). The first probably 2 and a half weeks breastfeeding was no issue. I did start pumping when she was 4 days old to get a freezer stash built up, I go back to work when she is 7 weeks old. I was pumping probably 4 days a week for the first 2 weeks, but ended up with way too much milk, I have over 250 oz's in the freezer now. I am now only pumping 2 times a day, not sure if I should cut back but I want to make sure I have enough milk when I'm at work. I work night shift, she will be away from me from 7am-4:30 pm so I can sleep, all night 7p-7a while I work, and half of the next day while I sleep. Anyways that was the background info.

    Ever since she was about 2.5 weeks old she does this thing were she pushes me away when she is nursing, or she will just come unlatched and start screaming while she's nursing. Sometimes it's during my letdown. If that's the case I hand express and she will latch back on. She will suck for a couple seconds but start screaming again. When she starts doing this she won't stop, there is no point in me continuing to try to feed her because she will never calm down. Even when my letdown is well over, 30 minutes later she will still be doing this if I let it go on that long. I have tried feeding her in a reclined position, different holds, nothing works. I will try nursing on the other side. Sometimes that works but usually it doesn't. She's clearly still hungry, rooting around. I don't know what to do. Breastfeeding is supposed to be a bonding and enjoyable experience and it's not. She hates it. I hate seeing her so upset. I don't know why I force her to continue to do this when she hates it so bad- I just really don't want to give up. I will give in and give her a bottle but that's only happened twice in the middle of the night when I'm having an emotional breakdown and 2 hours of trying off and on and she's still doing it. But I feel like every time I give her the bottle it's one step closer to not breastfeeding anymore. I have called the hospital, her ped, my OB, I am a nicu nurse and I teach moms how to breastfeed, I have contacted my coworkers to see it they have any suggestions. I don't know what else to do and desperately don't want to give up. Help!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! The fact that you're a NICU nurse is proof that no matter how experienced and how knowledgeable you are with breastfeeding, a baby can still throw you for a loop! What's awesome is that you haven't given up.

    My guess is that the early pumping you did created a pretty large oversupply. By 4 weeks you had 250 oz in the freezer- that's a massive amount of milk! Anyway, when you have a big supply the milk tends to come out really fast, and that can be really distressing for the baby. Imagine drinking from a hose when someone turns it on full blast- unpleasant, right? Often when a baby is being blasted by a forceful letdown, the baby will pull off the breast and scream. The baby may also get used to a fast flow and become impatient when the breast doesn't immediately deliver a lot of milk, so the baby may scream even when the milk isn't letting down. Basically, the baby ends up being a Goldilocks nurser: if the milk flow isn't "just right", she's going to fuss. Here are some things which may help your baby cope with fast flow:
    - Keep trying the reclined nursing positions- mom leaning back or even lying down.
    - If your baby pulls off the breast and your letdown is spraying, just catch the letdown in a towel and then put the baby back to the breast when it slows.
    - "Finish the first breast first"- instead of offering both breasts for an equal amount of time, allow baby to spend as much time as she likes on breast A, offering breast B only when she comes off the first side.
    - Cut down or cut out the pumping. You have a really large amount of milk in the fridge and I think you can afford to rely on that instead of trying to add to it. Remember, you will likely be bringing home fresh milk each day, and your baby is going to need just 1.5 oz per hour of separation once you're back at work. You may have a pretty big milk backlog once you're back on the job!
    - Aim for frequent feedings. The more often your baby takes small amounts of milk, the less full your breast will be at each feeding and that should mean less fuss.
    - If baby gets so fussy that she will not relatch, offer a clean pinky finger for her to suck. A few seconds of sucking on mom's finger may calm her enough to enable a repeat latch attempt.

    4 weeks is a fussy time of life even for babies who don't have to put up with oversupply and fast flow. Here are some things whichay help cope with general fussiness:
    - White noise- fan sounds, radio static
    - Motion- rock in a rocker, stroller ride, swing, car ride
    - Warm water- give baby a nightly bath in the sink or get in the tub with her
    - Snuggle- carry baby in a sling, hold her close to your bare chest
    - Calm house- babies can get very overstimulated by noise and light, so turn off the TV and stereo and rely on natural light as much as possible
    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
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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    Babies fuss a lot. And because they nurse a lot, they fuss when nursing.
    If the issue is forceful letdown, and I think it's a good chance, nursing very often usually helps and short feedings are typical. If the issue is also overproduction, and I think it's a good chance, block nursing may be in order. Block nursing is not to be taken lightly, as it WILL decrease milk production. But if you have such bad overproduction that it is causing your baby to hate breastfeeding, then that is certainly something to be considered.

    I would also suggest to not worry about what breastfeeding is “supposed” to be. I don’t think it helps to romanticize breastfeeding¸ or motherhood, or anything, really. That sets a person up for feeling like a failure or as if something is “not working” if everything does not reach some specific rosy height. Breastfeeding is not supposed to be a bonding experience. It may be one, or it may not, but what breastfeeding is, is the biologically normal way a baby eats and is comforted. Consequently, infants are compelled by instinct to enjoy nursing and want to do it a lot.
    So when a baby is having difficulty with that, and appears to not like to nurse, that is a good indication something unusual is going on. It may be extreme overproduction, it may be something else. It may be more than one thing. But if you are at the point where you are no longer seeing a normally fussy baby, and instead see a baby who hates breastfeeding, I would suggest you might want to have a private consult with a board certified lactation consultant. I know you know a lot about breastfeeding, but it's different when it's you and your own child.
    ffld and oversupply: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

    block nursing do's and don'ts: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/tag/block-feeding

    More on block nursing cautions: http://cwgenna.com/blockfeeding.html

  4. #4

    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    Thanks for both of your replies. I have tried your suggestions and we are still having issues. I have cut out pumping completely. Prior to this, she would come unlatched and I would occasionally be spraying milk thinking that was due to a forceful letdown? I have not been having that issue any more. Sometimes she will be latched on to a side for 15 minutes and then out of nowhere starts freaking out and pushing me away, crying. After that there is no calming her down. Sometimes it's right at the start of her feed. I will usually feed her on one side, she starts falling asleep so I change her diaper and feed her on the other. Recently after I change her diaper is when she starts doing this so I am unable to feed her on the other side. She just cries and cries, so i hold her with her pacifier and she cries because she is still hungry. But she won't eat! I just don't know what to do anymore. When this happens I am so tempted to pump and give her a bottle. I just don't like doing that because I feel like that's avoiding the issue and she won't ever get used to breastfeeding. I don't know at what point I should decide to give her a bottle. I am worried she will start losing weight? She has so many full, wet and dirty diapers a day still. She is constantly going to the bathroom so I know that's a good sign. It's been really bad at night right before bed, I'm exhausted at this point during the day, she's frustrated, so the past few days I have been pumping and giving her a bottle at night. That's the only time of the day she gets a bottle. What are your thoughts on giving her a bottle instead of breastfeeding when she gets like this?

    Sometimes when she is like this and refuses the second side, I will go up to 6 hours with one side not being nursed from. Also since we give her a bottle she will sleep up to 4-5 hours at a time at night so I will go longer than usual not being nursed from at night. I'm worried about my milk supply.

    Also, I was looking in her mouth and saw what I think is a lip tie on her upper lip. I will try to attach a picture. What do you think- that's a lip tie, correct? Is this something we should get fixed now or is it something we can wait for? Her upper lip doesn't flare out when she breastfeeds but she gets the milk out good. She does click sometimes when she eats and she needs burped frequently and seems gassy. Do you think this could be the root of all of our problems? Is this something that needs fixed now?

    Sorry this is so long. Thanks for your help. image.jpg

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    Wow our stories are similar, right down to the lip tie. We actually nicknamed my six week old goldilocks because he does exactly what mommal described. Not happy with the fastest part of my let down but also not happy when it slows. If she freaks at the beginning, try compressions to speed up the let down. Is it always a dirty diaper or just wet? Can you just let her fall asleep? Diaper changes were the worst for my son until we helped his reflux. Laying him flat on his back after a big feeding caused him a lot of pain. Maybe she's not really hungry. Do you have a carrier? It took some practice but ds loves his ergo (especially outside).
    My phone's about to die. I'll have to come back later. I'll finish with don't give up! Ds cried for hours every day from day 3 until week 5 but we've turned the corner this week. He now spends his awake time cooing and mimicking our facial expressions. My oldest took twice as long to settle down and like nursing. Please give it more time before turning to bottles. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    If your baby is having plenty of wet/poopy diapers from nursing alone, there's no reason to think that she's going to lose weight.

    Pumping and giving a bottle is sometimes a great way to get through infant fussiness, and sometimes terrible. For my first daughter, an evening bottle was the best way to get us through her evening spell of colic. That was great. But I have a good friend who provides an example of a terrible bottle experience- her baby started rejecting the breast altogether after the introduction of bottles.

    The pic does look a lot like a tie. I'd get it fixed if you're having pain while nursing. Otherwise I might wait for it to stretch- at this point, with a fussy nurser, I don't think you want to cause any pain in her mouth. But see a pediatric dentist or ENT- they might have a good perspective on whether or not your child has a tie and if so, whether or not it should be fixed.
    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
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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    I am not a doctor so I do not feel comfortable commenting on the picture. But there is no doubt you are having some unusual issues with breastfeeding so I would again suggest seeing a board certified lactation consultant and, as mommal suggests, also have your baby seen by a doctor, ENT or pediatric dentist who is knowledgeable about lip and tongue tie and how they affect breastfeeding. This last is very important. If the doctor or dentist treats these issues but does not value breastfeeding, they may not treat at this age. Physical issues that restrict normal tongue and lip movement certainly make latch and nursing more difficult and may be part or most of the issue. But it is also possible that other things will help.

    I would also suggest that use of ANY bottles may be contributing to the problem. The longer time between each nursing session makes forceful letdown worse, so that is one issue with bottles. And you are right, a baby learns to nurse by nursing. Bottlers do not help. It is normal for a baby this age to take one side at a time, but I don't understand why that means one breast goes 6 hours between being nursed. Is baby unwilling to nurse more often? Very frequent nursing is very helpful in alleviating the issues of forceful letdown.

    Spraying may or may not be part of forceful letdown, btw. It is entirely possible for letdown to be too much for baby to handle and mom not spray, especially if baby has other issues that prevent baby from getting a good latch.

    From what you are reporting, the issues sound like they include over production or at least, very good milk production, and it sounds as if baby is getting plenty of milk. So I don't understand why you are concerned your baby will start losing weight. How has gain been?

    I think you are facing an extremely challenging work schedule and perhaps thus feel that you need to have a super production and huge stash in order to handle that. But I would suggest that this only makes sense if it is working. And right now it looks like it is at least contributing to your issues.

    a 12 hour shift starting at 7 weeks is difficult enough for any new mom, and especially a breastfeeding mom. Difficult, but doable, assuming you will be able to pump during your shift. But looking at your op, and I am sorry if I have this wrong, but it looks as if you are also planning to be apart from your baby for long periods before and after your shift? I am afraid this may be unrealistic in practice. If your baby is not there, you will have to pump several times. Doesn't it make more sense to have baby there and just nurse? And so many bottles for baby is going to increase the risk of baby becoming trained to bottle feeding and away from the breast. Many working mothers who work day shifts find it is very important to nurse baby overnight, and of course, are not separated from their babies overnight, even though the mom works during the day and nights are the only time mom has for sleep. 24 hour eating schedules are normal for at least the first 6 months of a child's life. Perhaps if you work out a different arrangement for your baby's care so you can be together at least enough for your child to nurse normally during your sleep hours, you will feel less pressured to have a huge stash and such high production?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    Sometimes she will be latched on to a side for 15 minutes and then out of nowhere starts freaking out and pushing me away, crying. After that there is no calming her down. Sometimes it's right at the start of her feed. I will usually feed her on one side, she starts falling asleep so I change her diaper and feed her on the other.
    Why not just let her nurse to sleep? Are you changing the diaper because it needs to be changed or in order to wake baby?

    Especially if it has been a short time since baby last nursed, and baby is acting like they want to nurse again, you can offer the same side again instead of the other if you like. What happens if you do that?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    the advice to change baby between breasts to wake baby is kinda geared to very newborn babies who are still very sleepy and not yet gaining weight. This is important not only for baby but for helping mom's milk come in and getting started on a good supply.
    I don't think it necessarily applies with older babies who are gaining well and mothers with ample supply.

    I would check into the lip tie as well as for tongue tie (especially if nursing is painful but with your over supply and active letdown baby may not need to work very hard for the milk so pain might not be as evident or likely for you.)
    If tongue/lip ties are not the cause or not the ONLY cause,
    Have you checked into things like reflux and food sensitivities?

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    Default Re: Baby screaming and pushing me away during BF'ing?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    But looking at your op, and I am sorry if I have this wrong, but it looks as if you are also planning to be apart from your baby for long periods before and after your shift? I am afraid this may be unrealistic in practice. If your baby is not there, you will have to pump several times. Doesn't it make more sense to have baby there and just nurse? And so many bottles for baby is going to increase the risk of baby becoming trained to bottle feeding and away from the breast. Many working mothers who work day shifts find it is very important to nurse baby overnight, and of course, are not separated from their babies overnight, even though the mom works during the day and nights are the only time mom has for sleep. 24 hour eating schedules are normal for at least the first 6 months of a child's life. Perhaps if you work out a different arrangement for your baby's care so you can be together at least enough for your child to nurse normally during your sleep hours, you will feel less pressured to have a huge stash and such high production?
    I would agree with this. There's another poster here who likes to say that nighttime nursing is a working mom's best friend--I think in your case, you just have to shift the perspective to "daytime nursing is a working mom's best friend." As a fellow working mom also in healthcare, I do think it's possible and really, probably necessary to nurse during your sleeping stretch. I know that probably sounds like no fun, but many of us have survived it, and I can't imagine that most folks would be able to maintain their breastfeeding relationships with their babies without it. (In my case, I survived the first year with a baby who nursed about 12-15 times a night!)

    I understand that it's a little different to work this out when baby is going to likely be awake during your sleeping stretch, but I think I would push to have childcare in my own home during those sleeping hours, and instruct that the baby be brought to you to nurse when she wants. Otherwise, yes, like mentioned, you're going to have to wake up to pump anyway, and that is going to require far more effort than just lying there while the baby feeds!
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

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