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Thread: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*zaynethepain View Post
    When you say he wakes up screaming, are you still holding him or are you attempting to lay him down for a nap? If you've set him down, he may be scared and waking frantic at being alone. Have you or hubby tried a carrier for naptime?

    Usually when he wakes up screaming it's when I've tried to lay him down in his cradle or basinette. Lately I've been putting him in a sling when he's fussy and wearing him around the house for a bit while I do dishes or whatever, and he falls asleep in there and then I just lay him on the couch (if I'm sitting there pumping or folding laundry etc.) or his basinette. Once in a while he'll wake up with a scream when I'm holding him or he's laying right beside me (or on my legs etc.) and it's like he's startled but then when he realizes I'm right there he seems okay again. So I think some of that may be wanting to be held more than being hungry.

    Or if you're still holding him, could he be waking from pain rather than hunger? This is how my oldest was before we figured out his dairy allergy. He was constantly waking up screaming after a full feeding and was inconsolable by nursing or any other means for 10-20 minutes at least. This was day and night. Do you guys have any other signs of allergy: rash/eczema, bloody or mucousy stools, puffy/shadowed eyes, congestion etc?

    I have been wondering if he has GERD/reflux issues because especially at night he seems to be very fussy and in pain (and it happens during the day now too). He will arch his neck/back, spit up and/or hiccup and/or burp and/or fart/poop a lot, and seem to be very uncomfortable and almost like he's in pain. I don't know if this is because he has a tendency to gulp down his bottles (or milk from my breast-- at first he gulps very hard and fast and then he more "sleep-suckles"), or if he has some sort of physical issue. I've asked my midwife and she says it's normal for babies to act this way so I think I might just be over worried. I plan to ask the pediatrician at his next appointment unless it gets really bad and then I'll call sooner. He doesn't have many signs of an allergy that I can see, although he does sneeze a lot, he often coughs while trying to breastfeed and he does have congestion sometimes.


    Your problems may have nothing to do with food intolerances but it sounded similar enough that I'm sharing my experience. I do agree the baby scale is a smart idea.
    Have you made your bed safe for co sleeping and practiced side lying? That would help you get some extra rest if you aren't already doing so. My son would only nurse in his rocking chair at first so I know how tiring getting up every hour can be. Everyone got so much better sleep when we figured out how to nurse in bed.
    Co-sleeping really scares me because I have a sleep disorder (night terrors) and I'm afraid of involving him in them. So far the only ones I've had involving him have to do with thinking he's hurt and needing to check on him to make sure he's okay, but I just get paranoid. And even without the night terrors I'm so afraid of squishing him or rolling over on him or something. He sleeps in a cradle between the wall and my husband's side of the bed, so that my husband can pass him to me for breastfeeding and be a "barrier" in the event of a night terror. Sometimes my husband cuddles him to sleep and I get so paranoid that my husband will squish him in his sleep. It's like an irrational fear of mine, although occasionally I've fallen asleep while holding him and everything has been fine.

    When my baby is particularly fussy the only place I have success nursing him is on a glider with a bobby. Usually he is okay in bed or on the couch with a pillow and/or boppy. I have tried reclined nursing and nursing him laying down but he won't have it at all. In the hospital they showed me a side lying position that worked okay, but I didn't really get the hang of it enough to try it at home and so I just revert back to what works. The cradle/football position almost always works, especially on the glider, and then he also likes to be laid across the front of my breasts and I hold him onto the one he nurses from.

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    I just wanted to update everyone who has helped or in case anyone with similar issues reads this thread. In the past couple days my baby suddenly was able to latch onto my nipple without the shield, which makes me really happy. He almost always nurses right from my nipple now, although once in a while he seems to revert and need the shield. I think this is when he's impatient/very fussy and/or when my nipples are more flat than erect. I've found that it helps to pump a little bit first because that puts my nipples into the best shape for him to latch onto and it also helps with the oversupply issue.

    At night he still has problems latching and staying on but for the past few days he has been able to nurse for awhile and sometimes get full but other times not. Today he has been doing a weird thing where he takes a drink and then moves his head away, over and over and over again. It seems to me that he either doesn't get the milk he was expecting and then gets discouraged, OR he gets too much of it and his response is to back way off. I usually think it's the second option because there will be milk in his mouth and/or all over him/me so I think it's too much milk instead of not enough, but other times it's hard to tell. And then when my nipple isn't as erect as it was in the beginning he gets impatient and frustrated and doesn't want to latch back on. If he does stay on for awhile then he goes back to his "sleep sucking."

    Today my midwife came to check in on us and says that he may benefit from a pacifier because he seems to like to suck for comfort. And that could tell me how much of it is hunger and much is just comfort sucking. I was trying to wait until a month to use the pacifier because of nipple confusion but, heck, he uses a bottle and a nipple shield and he doesn't seem all that nipple-confused; he just seems to prefer the fastest way to get food, which makes sense. She watched him nurse and said he is doing a great job (even when he would pull away and then go back again until he started to reject the nipple all together but still seem hungry-- she said that some babies just get distracted more than others and he's very alert and likes to look around). The problem is that she was here for 10 or 15 minutes but then it goes on like this for an hour or so without end and he still always seems hungry. So it's hard to know if he's getting enough food or not. Or if my issues are "normal" or problematic and I just don't know since I've never nursed before.

    Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to not feel bad about the bottle. Overall I'm just happy that he is healthy and gaining weight. (At 19 days he is back up to his birth weight and is actually a couple ounces over it). I feel a lot better than in the beginning when I knew he wasn't eating enough and I was so worried. And I have to admit it's nice to be able to have my husband feed him sometimes so I can sleep. But of course if it is getting in the way of his breastfeeding I feel bad. I think for the most part we strike an okay balance but I would love to mostly breastfeed right at the breast and only give him an occasional/optional bottle. Right now I am still usually giving him the bottle after he feeds because he still seems hungry (although so far today I have not had to do that yet) and then at night too. As time passes I realize it's a learning curve and we're getting better with practice and at least he is only getting breastmilk and he is getting enough to gain weight and thrive. In fact the past couple days and nights he has been eating so much and being particularly fussy so I think he might be having a growth spurt.

    My scale and latch assist device are due to be delivered tomorrow and then I will have more to work with. We have another appointment at the lactation clinic at the hospital next week. I checked and the consultants there are definitely IBLCE certified. I also looked into other IBLCE consultants in my area and have been trying to make an appointment for one to come to my house but it keeps getting pushed back on her end and will now also be next week. I'm hoping we will have improved on our own with practice by next week but if I'm not totally confident with where we're at, I will continue to make use of all resources.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    Thanks for the update! I think it sounds like you're doing really well, and I hope things will continue to improve now that your baby is willing to nurse without the shield. I do, however, want to encourage you to follow your original plan and avoid the pacifier. Right now you want your baby to get as much of his sucking needs met at the breast as possible- it's good for weight gain, good for his latch, and good for supply.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Thanks for the update! I think it sounds like you're doing really well, and I hope things will continue to improve now that your baby is willing to nurse without the shield. I do, however, want to encourage you to follow your original plan and avoid the pacifier. Right now you want your baby to get as much of his sucking needs met at the breast as possible- it's good for weight gain, good for his latch, and good for supply.
    Yeah, I totally get that. I think my midwife's rationale was that a pacifier would make it so that he doesn't need a bottle, and that a pacifier is better than a bottle. I don't want it to take away from the breastfeeding progress though and I also don't want him to get dependent on it. I'm rather ignorant when it comes to pacifiers, except that the hospital said to wait 4 - 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion, and I've read that it's recommended to reduce the risk of SIDs. I think I will hold off for at least another week and see if the feeding without the shield continues and hopefully everything will keep improving. He does really like to suck (fingers, himself, anything), so I think he'd like it but I don't know if it's best, especially not yet.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    It is generally suggested that pacifiers are avoided or used only minimally while there are any breastfeeding issues, no matter what age. But on the other hand, sometimes pacifiers can be helpful in sub-optimal breastfeeding situations, such as for suck training, or for getting a baby to latch who is having difficulty. And sometimes pacifier use is OK even as breastfeeding issues are being worked on.

    "Nipple confusion" is a pretty vague term. It is important to understand what the most dangerous aspect of pacifier use is, and that is that they can be overused and lead to baby not nursing enough, not getting enough milk, and poor weight gain. There is a hormone released when a baby suckles that helps a baby feel sated, settle and sleep. It is important to understand that this hormone is released even if what baby is sucking on is giving baby no nutrition, as would be the case with a pacifier. This is why pacifier OVERUSE is potentially a big problem. BUT it does not mean NEVER use a pacifier. If baby is gaining ok at the breast (and thus, requires no supplements) and mom needs a little sleep, I would agree it makes more sense to have someone else give baby a pacifier rather than a bottle of milk so mom can sleep a little longer as long as this is done only as needed and not as a regular/frequent thing that interferes with normal nursing frequency. Of course, there are many other ways to try to comfort and calm a baby that avoid both pacifiers and bottles. see http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ybabyideas.pdf and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf

    But I think it is a little off the mark to look at "comfort nursing" as something separate and not "normal" nursing. It is normal for a baby to nurse for comfort and is a necessary part of breastfeeding, because it allows a baby to get enough to eat and mom's milk production to be where it needs to be. To a baby, all nursing is the way to get all they need- both food and comfort, simultaneously. Babies do not differentiate between the two, and I think it is confusing to call some nursing "comfort" nursing as if it is somehow less or different than nursing for food.

    Pacifiers and SIDS is a bit of a trickier subject. There are questions about the research and how or if it applies to breastfed or exclusively breastfed infants the same as primarily bottle fed babies.

    These articles may give you more information on pacifiers http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/new...erns/pacifier/ and http://www.normalfed.com/Continuing/pacifiers.html
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 20th, 2014 at 12:20 AM.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    Hello again everyone.

    I haven't introduced the pacifier; thanks for the resources on that.

    I did get the scale I ordered and today I weighed him before and after nursing just now. He nursed for 20 minutes on one side but some of the time he was just kind of laying there not really sucking or he would get off the breast and just look around. This wasn't as bad as it sometimes is, so for *most* of the time he was pretty actively nursing, until at the end he dislodged from the breast and wouldn't take it back. Anyway during that time he took in half an ounce. That seems like such a little amount of milk for the amount of time he was nursing. I saw milk coming from my nipple and I saw him swallowing so I know that for at least some of the time he was actively getting milk.

    He was soon fussy again but would not latch onto my right nipple after several attempts (he seems to much prefer the left nipple, and it actually hurts a lot when he first latches onto it-- like he's biting it-- and not nearly as bad on the right nipple, although often he won't latch onto the right nipple). So I gave him bottled breastmilk and he drank 2.5 ounces before falling asleep, for a total of 3 ounces.

    So this is where I get confused and wonder if I'm supposed to try to keep nursing him for another hour and a half or so, so that he can get the additional milk (2.5 ounces) from my breast and not the bottle (at the rate of half an ounce in twenty minutes-- if he continues to cooperate, which he often doesn't)? Or is it that I accidentally overfeed him from the bottle? And I know people advise to take a break from the bottle but then he doesn't get enough to eat and he cries a lot.

    Overall I feel like we've made progress but I also don't understand why the milk transfer is so slow when nursing. Or maybe that's normal and I don't see it because I see the much faster transfer from the bottle.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    1/2 an oz is a small amount to get while nursing. Can you do several more weigh-feed-weigh measurements and report back?

    Has anyone suggested that you try an at-the-breast supplementer, e.g. Lact-Aid or Supplemental Nursing System?

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    1/2 an oz is a small amount to get while nursing. Can you do several more weigh-feed-weigh measurements and report back?

    Has anyone suggested that you try an at-the-breast supplementer, e.g. Lact-Aid or Supplemental Nursing System?
    Okay, here is the next weigh-feed-weigh measurement. It was 3 hours after the last feeding.

    He really didn't want to latch onto my right nipple but I used a nipple assist device ("nipple everter") that someone on this forum recommended and I bought on Amazon, and then he was a little more cooperative. He nursed for 20 minutes on the right breast (pretty actively, although whenever he got off he didn't really want to get back on and I would use the latch assist device again) and only got .3 oz!!! :-/ He was 9 lb 2.4 oz before I nursed and 9 lb 2.7 oz afterwards. (He is exactly 3 weeks old today and weighed 8 lb 11 oz at birth).

    He didn't seem completely "finished" on the right breast but he had started to fuss and I wanted to get a comparison with the left breast versus right because he really seems to dislike that right breast.

    So then I put him on the left breast and he was more cooperative. He nursed for 10 more minutes on the left breast and part of the time he was falling asleep but I kept waking him back up. Finally he got off and fell asleep and wouldn't take my breast again. So I weighed him again and he was at 9 oz 3.8 oz so he had gotten 1.1 oz out of the left breast. So 1.4 oz total during a total of 30 minutes of nursing.

    He was asleep for a bit but now, about 10 minutes later, he is awake and crying a lot as if very hungry. This really seems to be our pattern and I'm glad he is nursing some and not using the nipple shield but I'm frustrated that he's getting so little.

    Should I try to nurse him using the nipple shield and do a comparison?

    My midwife did mention a supplemental nursing system. My understanding is that it supplements him with breast milk at the breast instead of from a bottle?

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mylittleson View Post
    Should I try to nurse him using the nipple shield and do a comparison?

    My midwife did mention a supplemental nursing system. My understanding is that it supplements him with breast milk at the breast instead of from a bottle?
    If you feel that he might get more with the shield but if he is latching without, it is probably best to continue what nursing you do without the shield.

    the SNS (supplemental nursing system) can be filled with expressed breastmilk if you have it or formula. I used one for supplementing my LO for the past 4 1/2 months. With Formula at first and then with expressed milk as I was able to pump enough. Yesterday is the first day since he was 5 days old that I haven't supplemented and he is over 5 months now but we have only been supplementing in the afternoons most of that time.

    Hang in there.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Newborn baby nurses but doesn't get full

    Yeah, the supplemental system can hold breastmilk or formula. The advantage is that the baby gets all his nutrition at the breast, reducing the risk that he'll start rejecting the breast in order to get an easy bottle.

    I'm really glad you have that scale. I would keep on using it, because it's providing you with valuable information. First, if your baby is consistently taking less than 2 oz at the breast, you know that supplementing probably has to be part of your life right now. Second, the scale will help you know when you can start weaning off the supplements. Your baby's intake at the breast should creep up, and then you can reduce/eliminate bottles. Third, the scale is going to tell you how much to supplement with. If baby took 1.3 oz at the breast, a 1-2 oz supplement is probably sufficient. Fourth and finally, the scale will help you identify a good nursing session- eventually you'll get a feel for what nursing should feel/look/sound like when your baby is getting sufficient milk.

    I have to take back everything I said earlier about pumping. What are you doing with the pump at this point?

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