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Thread: Acting like he doesnt want to breastfeed anymore

  1. #1

    Default Acting like he doesnt want to breastfeed anymore

    Hello, severely frustrated mama here. My baby boy is 10 weeks old and we have been struggling with breastfeeding lately. From the start, it has been a battle. The first couple days were extremely rough, and I had to go back to the hospital to see a lactation consultant. She gave me a nipple shield to use because she said my nipples were "too short" and he was having a difficult time latching on. He had to do weekly weight checks for the first month because of this. We are STILL on the shield (which is my next issue to resolve) and things were going decently until a week ago. Ive always felt like I had a slightly low milk supply, because I was never able to get much when I pumped, and it was impossible for me to pump and breastfeed, unless he slept for a good amount of time in between feedings (i.e. 4 plus hours). Recently, it seems like my milk supply has tanked, and is getting smaller with each passing day. It started out with him breastfeeding, then acting hungry 10 to 20 minutes later and returning to feed some more. Then, he could no longer return to feed because I basically had nothing left. Now, I can't even get him to sit though one full feeding. He gets about ten minutes in or so and starts acting hysterical, like he can't get enough to suffice him. He starts rooting like crazy and kicking and screaming, but when he calms down and latches on again, he just starts it all over because his hunger isn't being stifled. Because of this, I have had to start supplementing with formula. I've noticed, now that he's taking formula more, that I'm not even getting engorged after going long periods of time without feeding, as if I don't have enough milk. I'm not sure what the issue is here, or if it's an array of issues, but I'm getting really frustrated. I would love to keep breastfeeding, but at this point I'm more concerned about making sure he's getting enough nutrients and gaining weight properly. Does anyone have any advice on what may be going on or how to help him get back on breast milk?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Acting like he doesnt want to breastfeed anymore

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! I'm sorry breastfeeding hasn't gone smoothly- but don't worry! There's still every reason to think that you can get things back on track.

    The first thing I suggest you do is to see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, for some immediate, in-person help with nursing and pumping.

    Can you tell us some more about how much supplemental formula you are offering (per day and per serving) and how it's being delivered (bottle, finger-feeder, supplemental nursing system, etc.)? It would also be good to know what sort of pump you have, how often you are pumping, and how pumping feels.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Acting like he doesnt want to breastfeed anymore

    For the past few days, he's only been on formula. I hadn't been able to get him to take hardly anything from me, so I just started using formula. I got in contact with some local donors, and picked up some milk today so he could be back on breast milk, at least while I'm trying to figure out whats going on. He drinks from a bottle. He's never had an issue switching back and forth between breast and bottle. I starting using a bottle practically since he came home from the hospital. At that time, however, it was pumped milk, not formula. He eats 4oz about 8-10 times a day. More like 8 I think. I have an ameda purely yours pump. I know about having to change the different pieces frequently in order for it to work well, and that isn't the issue. I would pump a couple times a day and barely get 1 oz. And then he would go to feed and not be able to because everything I had was pumped out. I know I have some milk, because I can express it when I have tried to feed him, but he just freaks out and acts like he can't get anything. I haven't tried breastfeeding in a couple days, because I was convinced I was done with breastfeeding, but someone recommended I get on here and ask around.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,754

    Default Re: Acting like he doesnt want to breastfeed anymore

    Are you done because you feel as if you do not want to nurse your baby any longer, or because you think you cannot nurse anymore?

    Since baby has been supplemented from the start, and we know that is not good for milk production (especially if your pump is not extracting milk properly) then it is hard to know right now what is going on with your milk production. But it is clear your pump is, for whatever reason, not working correctly.

    Issues with "switching back and forth from breast to bottle" are issues that occur overtime. In other words the baby is fine switching back and forth for a while, and then, is not anymore, and that is the point you start seeing baby more or less refuse to nurse, be reluctant to nurse, or simply less interested in nursing. Before that time, baby may already be not nursing with normal frequency or vigor because baby is being fed with bottles, but this may be going unnoticed. Add that to the potential for milk production issues caused by baby not nursing as often or as vigorously as normal, and it can seem as if baby is suddenly done with nursing. BUt this is not what has happened. Instead, baby has inadvertently been trained to bottle feed instead of breastfeed, which are biologically two very different actions. Your baby has been getting bottles from the start, and it sounds like those bottles are unusually large for your baby's age at least at this point. So I think there is a very strong chance that at least one reason your baby has begun to refuse to nurse is due to baby being bottle fed. Whether there is some other issue or not is not clear, but there does seem to have been some problem from the start as you never thought baby was getting enough and were giving bottles for that reason.

    Can things be turned around in such a case? Yes, very much so, usually. But it would take some effort and only you can know if that is something you want to concentrate your energies on.
    First, you will want to immediately start pumping/hand expressing at least 8 times a 24 hour period. I would suggest trouble shooting your pump as well, or getting a different pump. Even if very little milk comes out each time, it is vital to start telling the body to make milk again, or your body will assume there is no need to make milk and stop doing so. And you tell the body to make milk by removing milk from the breasts with the same frequency and effectiveness as a normally nursing baby, and that would be 8-12 times per 24 hours.
    -At the same time, encourage baby to nurse as much as you can. It may help to hold baby either skin to skin or with easy access to the breasts most of the time, even when baby is sleeping. Baby has (I suspect) been trained to EAT with a bottle, but your baby's biological compulsion to seek the breast for comfort is probably still very much there. So keying into that will help get baby nursing again.
    -Feed baby supplements of formula or your milk or donor milk properly. 4 ounces 10 times a day or 40 ounces is a lot more than the typical baby requires daily to grow and thrive. One of the quickest ways to kill an infant's desire to nurse is to overfeed that infant. If you are not doing paced bottle feeding, try that. If you have been doing that, maybe re-look at your technique.
    -Call your local breastfeeding resources. LLL, Breastfeeding USA (if you are in the US) etc. and a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and get the help you need to figure out what has been going on with your milk production and baby's ability to nurse. You found donor milk, which is usually a much more difficult proposition than finding breastfeeding assistance. So I hope you can also find some in person assistance. If you cannot find local help, please let us know. Even if your baby continues to require supplements, that does not mean that you and your baby cannot enjoy a long and satisfying nursing relationship if that is your desire.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 29th, 2015 at 05:50 PM.

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