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Thread: Almost ready to wean due to my 7mo's nursing behavior!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    386

    Default Almost ready to wean due to my 7mo's nursing behavior!

    I am currently nursing my 3yr 9 month dd and my 7 month old son.
    I had many struggles in the very beginning with my dd, but after working hard on latch and giving time to heal I loved our nursing relationship and still do.
    My son on the other hand latched well from the beginning with no pain. I am lucky to produce an overabundance of milk. I wonder if this is associated with potential lip tie (uncorrected) in both my babies. Anyway, I never had mastitis with my firstborn as a baby but have had it twice since my son was born.
    All that and I'm finally getting to my current issue. Looking for advice and commiseration.
    My ds is the most annoying nurser. I sometimes wonder if I have nursing aversion, but wouldn't that be with the big kid not the baby? Anyway, he constantly pinches my breast and scratches me. He has been a distracted nurser since 3 months. He clamps down and looks up at me with a challenging or angry look. He acts like he needs to nurse but doesn't want to. He does not respond to holding a toy or necklace instead, gentle correction, being put down or any of the things I've tried. He will simply cry until I put him on again or get distracted by a toy, but his behavior persists. I have cuts on my areola and around my breast. I keep his fingernails very short and filed smooth and I try to hold his hands down but he acts frantic (for lack of better word) and keeps flailing his arms until he can sink his talons in to me.
    I feel strongly that breastfeeding is best should be a positive relationship. I think weaning should be child led and not before a year at least most likely 2 years, but every time I nurse him I want to run screaming or tie his hands down. I don't even think he likes nursing so I'm feeling like why should I push it.
    I know that often in nursing relationships the work is in the first year and the payoff is afer that, but I'm losing it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Almost ready to wean due to my 7mo's nursing behavior!

    I am not sure there is an age limit for nursing aversion, however it more typically occurs with an older nursling or if mom is pregnant or having some other hormonal change (period, ovulation.)

    I think you have an "aversion" to being scratched and pinched! Very understandably!

    I would also say that "shoulds" often have not met individual reality. In other words, if nursing your child is misery for both of you, then despite the known "general" benefits of nursing at the breast until baby weans naturally, weaning to a bottle or cup (and solids) may make sense in your unique situation with this baby. In that case you will want to think about what baby would eat. Would you be pumping, etc, and how that will fit into your life? How woukld this effect the nursing relationship with your older child? If you wanted to wean both entirely, how would you do so safely (for you) etc.

    But if you are not ready to stop baby nursing yet, here are a few troubleshooting ideas. These are not solutions just ideas for avenues to investigate, if that makes sense. It sounds like you have tried all the typical ideas for this kind of issue so perhaps it is time to start thinking way outside the box. We can try that troubleshooting here but I would also suggest talking about this at a LLL meeting or with a LLL Leader or IBCLC.

    How is your milk production? Could baby be reacting to an overly fast or overly slow flow?
    Does your baby react any differently if placed on the breast directly after your 3 year old has nursed? I remember that one of my tandem nurslings came to a point where he could not nurse on the same side right after his brother did. I forget if it was the younger or the older, but they would gag.
    How many different positions have you tried and do any of them make any difference?
    What if the 3 year old is on one side and baby on the other simultaneously? Does this make the situation worse or better?
    Are there any other behavior issues when your child is not nursing? Perhaps indicating a sensory processing issue, or some healthy issue? Sometimes allergies or some other discomfort can cause behavior issues.
    Could baby be in physical pain at all for any reason?
    Have you ever fed baby with a bottle or cup and how does that work?
    Have solids been introduced and how is that going?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    386

    Default Re: Almost ready to wean due to my 7mo's nursing behavior!

    Thank you for responding. I would really like to find a solution to this. I did write the above post when I was in the heat of frustration. I sometimes do feel like I just want to wean, but I would much rather figure out a way to improve our nursing relationship.
    To answer your questions:
    -My older child and I are not ready to wean yet. She has come down back to a few times a day following an increase right after her brother was born. It really seemed to help her with the transition to a bigger family. We continue to benefit from our nursing relationship.
    -Pumping would be difficult to fit in to my life. I always admire people who are able to exclusively pump. I pumped at work for my daughter, but am no longer working. I have left them with my mil a few times and my son loves frozen breastmilk. He never took a bottle, but has been fed milk from a spoon and recently from a sippy cup. He gets excited seeing the bags of frozen milk and my mil reports that he sucks it down so fast that she couldn't spoon feed fast enough.
    - We do bls/blw so he is given a portion of our meals. I'm a bit uptight with it compared to others I've heard about so he hasn't had complex foods (i.e., pizza, soup, spaghetti bolognese) yet. We mostly eat whole foods. He sits with us for meals and typically is offered food once or twice a day depending on how busy our day is. I don't know how much he typically ingests since we think food before 1 is just for fun. However, he gobbles down sweet potato, squash, ground turkey etc.
    -He is generally a happy baby though he does like to be on the move and seems to have periods (probably when overtired) of hyperactive type behavior. He does engage in some repetitive motions to soothe, but I think it is within normal range for a typically developing baby his age. I do not see anything to indicate that he is in pain or has allergies.
    -I have tried every position I know and have most success with cross cradle, laid back and in the ergo during the day and side lying or laid back at night. He scratches and pinches in every position except when he dreamfeeds. I do notice that he pauses in his scratching sometimes right at let down. I have strong let down so he seems to be focusing so as not to choke. He resumes scratching quickly though even while actively drinking (as noted by chin pauses). The scratching and pinching seems worse when tandeming, but I think it is just because my other hand is occupied so I can't block as effectively. Often his sister is a distraction so tandeming doesn't really happen often. He stops to stare at her and giggle. It's quite cute actually.
    At times it appears that he tries to use his hands to clamp to slow the flow if I am particularly full, but this seems to be separate from his pinching/scratching behaviors.
    So, given all that to think about, what's next? If it is something to do with flow, how can I address that? If it is a sensory issue, how would I find out? How would I address that? Any other thoughts?
    I have spoken with an IBCLC and since he's gaining well and I've nursed a baby successfully in the past I was told to just keep at it. I will check in with my LLL leader. Our leader recently retired so we just got a new leader. I will check in with her.
    Thanks! And I'm so grateful for this forum as a place to discuss this type of thing and feel supported even when I'm at my wits end.
    Last edited by @llli*m11612; October 10th, 2015 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Typos

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    California, USA
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    460

    Default Re: Almost ready to wean due to my 7mo's nursing behavior!

    My 9 month old still pinches my arm pit when he's nursing to sleep. He'll roll the skin between his fingers and it made me cringe. If I make it so he can't get to my arm pit, he'll pinch the fabric of my shirt or whatever instead. Inyerestingly, he'll only do it when he's on his right side, my left, which is my underproducing side. It doesn't matter if I've just shaved my under arm area or if it's been 5 days. It definitely is motivation to keep his nails as short as I can without hurting him.

    I don't have any tips other than things you've tried already, just comiseration haha. Sometimes I don't mind it. I know it's soothing to him and he enjoys it, but other times it hurts so bad and I just want his darn fingers out of there!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Almost ready to wean due to my 7mo's nursing behavior!

    Ok, thank you for answering my questions. Hopefully that info will help others help you brainstorm as well. What jumps out at me right now is that when he is concentrating, as at letdown, the behavior is lessened.
    When you nurse, what else do you do? Do you usually watch baby passively, engage baby, or is your focus elsewhere? I am wondering if actively engaging baby while he nurses would give him something to concentrate on? I have personally found that it is when I am focusing elsewhere (talking to someone, on the phone, working on computer etc.) is when "poor nursing manners" start. It is particularly challenging right now as I homeschool, and my 3 year old can get pretty wild on the breast when I am trying to work with my sons on their school work.

    So what if you tried engaging baby while baby is nursing- singing, telling nursery rhymes, making up stories, just talking about things, etc? I long ago was taught that singing to babies and kids can stop them in their tracks, bring their focus to you and allow you to redirect behavior. It does not even have to be an actual song, you can sing their name or sing what is happening like "please do not do that, ow that really hurts!" or just sing nonsense.

    Now my oldest would get distracted right off the breast at this age if I talked or sang much to him while he nursed. So I am not sure this will work it is just a thought. I guess the flip side would be, if you are already usually engaging your child when he does this, to try ignoring him when he nurses.

    Also, if letdown seems to temporarily curb the behavior, have you tried breast compressions? Some of this may be particularly intense/annoying kneading behavior. Babies knead to get the milk to flow more.

    I have no idea how to diagnose sensory issues but I bet there is plenty of info online. There does not appear to be other "symptoms" - I agree, what you describe sounds developmentally normal to me. But since nursing is "designed" to be a comforting experience for a child (in general although of course not always) , I always wonder if some underlying issue baby may be having if baby is not usually acting calmed by or happy with nursing.

    Are you able to actually attend an LLL meeting? Some of the best ideas I have gotten on all kinds of things came from moms at meetings. Also, if you like the Leader who retired, I think you can also call her as well as the new one. As long as it is in the capacity of "fellow mom asking another mom for ideas" she should be able to talk to you about this no problem.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Almost ready to wean due to my 7mo's nursing behavior!

    I wonder if some little mittens might not improve the situation?

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