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Thread: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

  1. #1

    Default My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

    Hi,
    My 6 and half month old baby started having issues with the breast about 2 months ago. When he was 4,5 months and started teething and biting , consecutively, and I don't know if because the tooth made his sucking less effective, or due to my fear to being bitten again, my let down started to take forever, making my LO go bananas waiting for his milk. The combination of this, plus a strong reaction to a bite that ended up with him crying, seemed to have ruined our nursing relationship since then. Oh and I forgot to mention that a vaccine and fever were part of the mix at the same time of all these happening as well.
    After this he refused to being nursed , he didn't want to latch, screamed, cry, didn't want to be hold in cradle position etc ... All signs of nursing strike, of which I've read nearly all info on the net. I tried everything and things did get a bit better, : he would latch fine after I've pumped to my let down, so basically when the milk was sprying out. He also started nursing without me pumping to let down during the night and even the first feed of he morning. The rest of the day we kept refusing , besides few times we were out in public and he probably felt he needed to be closer and would nurse normally waiting for the let down even. We did this for about a month and then I started dream feeding him instead, so I would rock him to sleep and before he would be fast asleep I would breastfeed him and we would calmly wait for the let down .
    I'm so frustrated and tired of him not wanting to nurse during the day that I started to offer formula once a day so see how it goes, but he doesn't seem to like it at all. I tried giving him the formula with a spoon and he swallowed it, so probably is not the formula itself, but more the sucking or the bottle , or after so much research I've done, could it be silent reflux? Or breastfeeding and bottle aversion? He loves his pacifier so that makes me doubt is an aversion though. What can it be? And what can I do? Is there hope?
    Anyone having the same experience?

    I started him on solids a month ago and he eats solids at lunch and cereal evening.
    I now breast feed him around 5-6 times a day.

    Any help will be appreciated. Best!

  2. #2

    Default Re: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

    Hi. It sounds like the issues began at around 4 months. This is consistent with something called the 'four month fussies" when some babies start to nurse very differently than before, and in general seem more distracted or less interested in nursing. This is usually normal and temporary. What can make it more problematic is baby being offered supplements or a pacifier if baby won't nurse. Of course, sometimes supplements are needed, but that would be rare.

    Additionally, early solid introduction (prior to 6 months) is something that may lead to breast refusal/reluctance to nurse in some cases. This is more likely to happen if solids are 'overly' encouraged, baby starts with mainly or only spoon fed cereals and purees, rather than food they can put in their mouth, bite and chew more or less for themselves. This is because these practices can in some cases lead to overfeeding, filling baby up with the less caloric solids and causing baby to nurse less. Also, if water or any other liquid has been introduced, that can certainly cause less nursing.

    I am I wonder if your stress over the issue is stressing baby out. How is weight gain? Maybe baby is eating enough overall, even if it is mostly at night. Nursing 5-6 times a day is on the low side of course, but assuming baby is gaining normally it might be normal for this baby.

    Pressuring a child to eat almost never works. Assuming your child is healthy and gaining, then he is not going to let himself starve. He knows milk is in the breasts and how to get it out. Of course it is fine to offer during the day as much as you like. But it sounds like this is causing you a lot of stress and that may not be helping.

    I would also suggest, either get rid of or cut back on the pacifier use. When a baby is refusing to nurse, comfort nursing often comes first. Also, when comforting at the breast is encouraged, there are usually much fewer breastfeeding problems. Babies nurse for comfort, hunger, and thirst. If any one of these needs is met with something aside from nursing, that can lead to breastfeeding problems.

    I tried giving him the formula with a spoon and he swallowed it, so probably is not the formula itself, but more the sucking or the bottle , or after so much research I've done, could it be silent reflux?
    Based on this and this only? No, I would not suspect silent or any other kind of reflux. Some babies just don't like bottles. Breastmilk is a very soothing food. I would find it odd that a baby who is happy eating solids but not breastfeeding is suffering from painful reflux. Also, it sounds like baby preferred the faster letdown- right? Again, not consistent with a baby who has painful reflux.

    Have you seen this article? Lots of good ideas. Sometimes the same things needs to be tried many times to find what helps. http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; April 23rd, 2015 at 09:43 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

    Hi, thank you so much for your feedback.
    Regarding offering supplements, i just started doing that two weeks ago, when i saw that our nursing relationship, regables all i've tried, was not improving. He just had a check up with the doctor two days ago and he is gaining weight nicely, no problem there, he is actually big for his age, still within normal. I guess he has not lose any weight because i keep nursing him while asleep. I asked the doctor what can i do, and he basically said that some babies do not want milk anymore, even if rare, and that i could give him water instead.... so milk is not a must. That kind of freaked me out as i always understood that before 1 year old babies had to either nurse or drink formula.

    I've been of course stressed, at some points, specially when he doesnt seem hungry and doesnt want to even after 5 hrs. How long can he go without eating? Is it better to nurse him while asleep if more than 4 hrs pass by? Sometimes i can tell he is hungry but he still won't nurse while awake...then i rock him to sleep and he nurses fine.

    regarding the article it was one of the first things i read, and tried almost everything, even cutting down on the pacifier for couple of days, but after a while as i saw it didnt make any difference i gave it back to him. It's been two months already..... Is it possible he has an aversión? Or that he is weaning himself?

    Oh I forgot to clarify that he is acutally 6 months and 3 weeks, so i started him on solids at 5 and half and giving him very little, once a day couple of spots.

    Thanks for the support! I just want to make sure i try all before giving up
    Last edited by @llli*isamv; April 24th, 2015 at 05:31 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

    I asked the doctor what can i do, and he basically said that some babies do not want milk anymore, even if rare, and that i could give him water instead.... so milk is not a must. That kind of freaked me out as i always understood that before 1 year old babies had to either nurse or drink formula.
    Well, it would freak me out if my child's doctor said something so ridiculous too! The idea that WATER can be substituted for an important, calorie rich FOOD, like breastmilk or formula, is very odd, and I fear if taken seriously would lead to some very ill babies.

    On the other hand, is milk or formula always necessary until a child is a year? Well, there are certainly children who do not get those things all the way until a year and grow fine with getting their nutrition from solids. HOWEVER, for many very good reasons, the protocol from the AAP says children should be breastfed for AT LEAST a year. This is for the many benefits of breastmilk itself and breastfeeding, not exclusively nutrition. For example, the antibodies in milk etc. And the non- breastfed babies the protocol is formula for a year. So the doctor is wrong on both counts, in my opinion.

    As far as babies just not liking breastmilk, if there is one shed of evidence this has ever happened, I would like to know about it. Children stop nursing for many reasons, but this is not one of them. As far as an aversion, what do your think baby might be having an aversion to? If a baby is nursing this little and gaining that well, the only thing that comes to mind is a very fast milk flow. Is that possible? Have you troubleshot other things that cause strikes-- scents of perfumes or soaps, stuffy nose, earache/headache, teething?

    As far as weaning, no I do not think this is possible. A baby this age still needs your milk to grow and thrive and would not be spontaneously weaning starting at 4 months. Babies this young can go on nursing strikes, but that is different than weaning.

    Your baby is gaining very well, so here is my suggestion. Cut out the formula and cut the pacifier and see how it goes. I mean, reserve them for emergencies ONLY. (like riding in the car or separations.) Not for two days. For ever, or at least for longer than two days. Pacifiers are not necessary infant equipment. As you say, this has been happening for 2 months, so it may take some more drastic measures to change things.

    Other ideas: Baby nurses at night, but not naps? Or at naps to?
    Changing nursing positions?
    Going to a breastfeeding support meeting or other place where baby will see lots of babies nursing. Seriously, this works a lot.

    How long can baby go? This is going to vary quite a bit kid to kid, but some (not all) babies sleep a 5-8 hours stretch at this age, naturally. So I guess a normally gaining baby can go at least that long without eating. And a few babies this age who are still exclusively nursing (no supplements or solids) only nurse 6 times a 24 hour day. So, that can be ok too. As long as baby is gaining well and you are comfortable, there is probably not a problem as far as how often baby eats.

    Here is info on one reason why the amount of times a normally gaining baby wants to nurse might be less than others. http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/multimedia/ (scroll down to the breast storage capacity graphic.)

  6. #6

    Default Re: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

    Thank goodness I'm not the only one having this issue. I feel like I've been maintaining my nursing relationship with my little guy purely out of force of will. My LO seemed to be disinterested in nursing while awake and in the last couple of days, its become quite an aversion, with him arching away and crying when I put him in nursing position. Through the night when he wakes, he nurses just fine. My LO is also teething (he's got a tooth breaking through right now), and I'm hoping that's the cause. When he was 4 months he started to be distracted and I also did all the "back to breast" tricks, which got us back an "after work" meal and the bedtime nursing session (very reluctantly on the part of my LO - we're lucky if we get 5 minutes). I'm not so lucky to be able to stay home with my guy (I wish) so its really been a struggle.

    I was really starting to feel like my guy was rejecting me, so its good to know other people are experiencing similar things - hopefully we can both get out of this rut!

  7. #7

    Default Re: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

    Hi,
    I just wanted to write an update to my post. My baby is doing a lot better now, after 3 months of refusing to nurse. Yeiiii! It all changed back to normal after he got the two upper teeth out, so my guess is that when the first two bottom ones came out, he probably connected that pain with breastfeeding, leaving him with a negative association to it, but once he went through the same pain again, he probably realised it was not the breastfeeding itself but the teeth emerging.... who knows.

    Around the same time ,before he changed his attitude, I was so frustrated that I decided to stop nursing him while asleep, basically saying ' if he doesn't want it then he won't get it' ..... he was eating cereal and some food at the same time, so i was not letting him starve, but then after maybe 9 hrs that I kept offering , but he refused again and again, he eventually took the breast and waited long for the milk to come down. It could be that we was lazy somehow, and knew he would get the milk anyways, and that's why he was refusing, but once i stopped giving it to him that easily, he realised what his life would be without the breast...hehehe

    Btw, he is also taking the bottle a lot better....i offer it to him every now and then.
    I really don't know what crossed his mind all this time, 3 months, might have been the teeth , might have been a developmental state that he grew up on it ..... i think i would never know, but i´m happy (even if i'm exhausted) to have continued to breastfeed him during this difficult time. I'm glad we didn't quit, and that we overcame what was affecting our nursing relationship...but it was tough. So hang in there as much as you can...

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: My 6 month old nurses only (mostly) while asleep

    thank you for the update- I am glad things are going better now, that is a long time to have to deal with a strike!

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