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Thread: Constant Nursing and Crying - Help Appreciated!

  1. #1

    Angry Constant Nursing and Crying - Help Appreciated!

    Hello,

    My almost 7 week old will go a maximum of 2 hours between feedings during the morning (which is fine by me). She nurses for approximately 15 minutes on each side. I can hear and see her sucking and swallowing and she has a good latch. However, by lunchtime she wants to nurse almost continuously with very few exceptions. Occasionally (if I'm lucky), she will go an hour between feedings. This continues until bedtime (which varies each night). She has been doing this since birth so I don't think it's just a growth spurt. She is gaining weight and makes plenty of wet and dirty diapers. I have tried comforting her other ways (pacifier, swinging, going for walks outside, etc.) She will be distracted for a minute or two before fussing and crying. The only thing that consoles her is nursing. I have a hard time believing that she is that hungry all the time and I realize that she is mostly likely nursing for comfort.

    Each day during these nursing marathons she gets frustrated after hours of on and off nursing and begins screaming and thrashing her head around after few minutes of nursing. I try to switch sides, massage the breast to express more milk, comfort her in other ways, but she continues to fuss and scream. She acts like she is starving. One night at 3AM during one of her screaming/nursing marathons, I gave her three ounces of formula. She drank the formula very vigorously (like she was starving) and then fell asleep for 4 hours.

    Naturally, I assumed there was something wrong with my milk supply so I have been drinking Mother's Milk tea, plenty of water, and taking Fenugreek. I have not noticed any change.

    My biggest problem is that I can't seem to satisfy her with my breast milk alone and have been giving her one bottle of formula daily (I try to pump when she has the formula to make sure I don't affect my supply). Also, because she wants to nurse and fuss constantly from lunchtime-bedtime, I can't go anywhere! I have resorted to giving her a bottle of formula before I take her in the car anywhere. People keep saying that things get better and there will be more a routine by 2-3 months. Is that true? Any advice? Please and thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,103

    Default Re: Constant Nursing and Crying - Help Appreciated!

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby and on making it through the first 7 weeks of nursing!

    Everything you describe is pretty typical for a 7 week-old, though definitely on the demanding end of the spectrum! Let's start with feeding intervals shortening as the day goes on. That's normal. Most kids go a little longer in the morning and then start cluster-feeding as they get into the afternoon-evening. Not only is nursing very comforting, but it's also how babies tank up for a longer stretch of sleep at night- which your child probably isn't giving you (yet).

    Now, let's move on to the baby's extreme fussiness. Also normal, particularly as the day wears on. Most babies wake up pretty happy, but as the day wears on they get more and more fussy. Some of them- and I think your baby is likely among them- demonstrate fussiness which is so severe that it is referred to as "evenings-only" colic, something which can last for several hours per day. If you have one of these babies, and I've had 2, you know that nothing works for long when it comes to keeping your baby happy. You have to keep changing your comforting strategy, swapping in a new technique every time the one you're using stops working. Some things to try:
    - Calm house. Rely on natural light as much as possible- this will help set your baby's circadian rhythms. Keep the lights, TV, and stereo down or off.
    - White noise. Radio static, the sound of tires on pavement, running water, heartbeat and breathing sounds.
    - Closeness. Wear baby in a sling or cuddle her close to bare skin.
    - Motion. Swing, sling, stroller, exercise ball, etc.
    - Warm water- give baby a soap-free bath in the sink. This worked like magic for my kids! They would go from screaming to happy for the duration of the bath.
    - Change of scene. Take baby outside for some fresh air.
    - Nurse. Nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse- if baby is willing!
    - Bottle. For some babies- and my firstborn was one- a few oz of easily-available milk or formula will defuse the cycle of fussiness and transition baby into a period of calm. The bottle does not have to contain formula. Breastmilk will do just as well and has the added benefit of being much less likely to upset your baby's tummy.

    Things will get better, I promise!!! The fact that your baby is giving you plenty of wets and poops is an excellent sign that you have plenty of milk and the problem is not in any way related to supply, but rather to your baby being a baby. Maybe a colicky one. The best thing I can say about colic is that it passes- it generally starts at around 3 weeks, peaks at around 6 weeks, and is noticeably diminished by 3 months, and gone by 6 months.
    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

    Default Re: Constant Nursing and Crying - Help Appreciated!

    Very reassuring! Thank you so much!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Constant Nursing and Crying - Help Appreciated!

    Remember that breastfeeding is more than just getting calories from one human being to another. It's also about comforting and caring for your baby ... at the breast. This is wonderful in so many ways for your little one, including that her heart rate, breathing, body temperature, and sleeping are all better regulated when she is close to you.

    During the first part of life, a child's need to be close to her mother is as important as her need for food! So great you can provide both in one place

    Also, be aware that drinking from a bottle is much harder on a baby's system than drinking from the breast. That might be why your baby slept so hard after that large bottle; she was worn out! (Also, the fact that she took so much from a bottle is NOT a reflection on your milk supply; babies typically eat more from a bottle than they normally would from the breast.)

    Many moms with babies that like to be close to them, like yours, have success with baby slings. Wrap slings and ring slings are what many first-time sling wearers choose.

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