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Thread: My baby doesn't seem to like nursing

  1. #1

    Default My baby doesn't seem to like nursing

    My 5-week-old doesn't seem to like nursing. He's got plenty of wet & dirty diapers and seems to be gaining weight well but he nurses for extremely short periods of time, often fussing after only around 3 or 4 minutes of nursing and during the day 10 minutes is the most he'd ever nurse on one side. At feedings he pulls away a lot, and seems to nurse strictly for food. He especially doesn't like the left side, getting very fussy and continually pulling off after only a few minutes during the day. Then he cries yet still seems to desperately be rooting around. If I give him a pacifier, he calms down and happily sucks. Is it possible that he really is satisfied after such a short nursing session?
    My first son was a struggle to get to nurse well (after a rough start in the nicu, nipple confusion with bottles and a five month long use of nipple shields), but he was always a long nurser and a comfort nurser. He would nurse for a hour sometimes happily. We nursed until 22 months, when I got pregnant with baby #2. This time my son was nursing right in the delivery room and I was so happy that we might actually have a more smooth and easy breastfeeding journey. So now I'm feeling both very doubtful my son can be satisfied so quickly and a bit resentful about the pacifier. I feel quite rejected every time he'd rather have it than the breast. I've read about overactive letdown but there's never a spray of milk when he pulls off so I don't think that's it.

    So my questions are (sorry for the longwindedness)
    Could my son really nurse so quickly?
    Has anyone experienced a baby who preferred a pacifier to comfort nursing?
    Is there hope he might enjoy nursing someday?
    My first son never had a pacifier and I'm honestly not at all a fan but this one seems to absolutely be desperate for it- I just don't know if the pacifier is creating a breastfeeding issue or if it's just a personality issue...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: My baby doesn't seem to like nursing

    This sounds like classic fast letdown. When a mom has a fast letdown, baby gains well but many babies will nurse very quickly, get fussy a the breast, and tends to not comfort nurse. This is a TEMPORARY problem that lasts the first 4-8 weeks typically.

    There are two very effective measures you can take right away. One is, ditch (or greatly reduce) the pacifier and nurse baby as frequently as baby possibly will. The longer milk builds in the breast, the faster the letdown is. So you want to greatly shorten time between nursing sessions. You may need to encourage baby to nurse more than baby would otherwise. It's ok. You want to encourage baby to seek the breast for everything. I am not saying never use the paci, but be really mindful of it's use, because paci overuse can really mess up breastfeeding. Try a finger or knuckle instead if baby will not nurse.

    The other is to adopt a nursing position that helps baby handle the flow better. Two effective ones are laid back and sidelying. see: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/...-breastfeeding

  3. #3

    Default Re: My baby doesn't seem to like nursing

    I am having this exact same problem, but in my case I'm pretty sure it is overactive letdown. I too don't see a spray of milk when my daughter cries and pops off the breast, but she does it right after letdown, and if I hand express right after letdown -- or even just press lightly on my breast above the areola -- then the milk comes out in a strong jet.

    When your son fusses during feeding, are you able to calm him down again with anything but the paci? That's what I'm struggling with the most. My daughter is doing the same thing where she cries so we take her off the breast and soothe her, but then she starts rooting so aggressively and yet cries as soon as she's offered the breast again. This will go on for hours until she's calm enough to nurse normally again. I'm at my wits end, and my daughter won't even take a pacifier. Did your son take right to the paci or did he reject it at first?

  4. #4

    Default Re: My baby doesn't seem to like nursing

    Thanks so much for your input. I tried some laid back nursing today and it went much more smoothly. I'm still surprised that it's a fast letdown though, doesn't that usually indicate oversupply? I never see any milk spray or flow when he pulls off or tugs, and I have none of the problems with leaking or engorgement that I had with my first son. Is it just because my body has been through this before?
    Very very glad to know this is temporary. Newborns are so tricky!

  5. #5

    Default Re: My baby doesn't seem to like nursing

    Sometimes if I put him up and burp him he calms a little, but usually the pacifier is the best bet. The first time he got one was actually when he was being examined by the doctor before the hospital and yes, he took to it right away. I'm having so much resistance to the pacifier and hate that he likes it, but I have to admit that sometimes it really is helpful. Sometimes after he pulls off the breast and fusses, I give him the pacifier just so he can calm down and regroup and remember what he's meant to be doing. Then I quick pull it out and switch with my breast and often he'll take it that way again. I still wish we could do without it but sometimes it really comes in handy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: My baby doesn't seem to like nursing

    All a "too fast" or forceful letdown means is that it is too fast for this particular baby. Also, it may not be related to over production.

    Some babies love a fast flow, and others, not so much, and it will depend on baby what is "too fast" for them. Glad the laid back positioning seems to be helping a bit.

    The biggest problem with the paci in the case of fast flow is if it prevents baby from nursing frequently, thus, worsening the fast flow. So judicial use of a pacifier is usually fine as long as overall, baby is nursing lots and being encouraged to seek the breast for all needs including comfort.

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