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Thread: Whats going wrong?

  1. #1

    Default Help please- baby refusing to breastfeed

    My baby has just turned 5 months old. She feeds from both sides at each feed and at last weigh-in was in the 93rd percentile for weight and 81st for height.

    For approximately the last 2 weeks she has started having issues at the breast on the last feed before bedtime. She sucks a few times and then pulls away, arching and screaming. I'll swap sides, walk and rock her while feeding (moderate success) but overall she is hating it. I though that I could hear her gulping but I am showing no other signs of a fast letdown ie spraying, leaking etc and I have never had an oversupply issue. It gets to the point where she won't even go near my breast by the end of the feed.

    Also, this behaviour continues throughout the feed not just at the beginning. It has started to affect putting her down to sleep as well and she crys and crys when I put her to bed but if I sit her forward she'll stop. It was so bad the other night that the whole ordeal ended up being 2 hours of hysteria over the feed and bed until she passed out cold crying in my arms as I walked her up and down.

    This is not normal behaviour for her. She's usually happy to go to bed with her bunny after her feed. She has been on a proton pump inhibitor for 3 months and has only shown signs of getting better so I don't think its that. Also, any other feeds during the night she is happy to take without objection.

    Other changes are that for the last 3 weeks she has moved back from 6 hourly night feeds to 3 hourly. Her daytime routine is consistently 3 hours (on demand). However she is starting to fuss during the day also, but not to the same degree and not every feed .

    Last night I thought I'd pump and see if she'd accept a bottle but I had no success pumping. I've just got a spectra S1 pump to replace my Medela Symphony and thought that might be the problem but perhaps I just have no milk and am imagining her gulping? I don't understand why she isn't trying at least to get a let down if that's the case, rather than not wanting to come near me? I gave her a formula bottle and she took it happily and fell straight to sleep.

    I'm really finding this very hard as she is so miserable and am worried that this is the beginning of the end for BF? We had a rocky start with health issues and feeding, and I worked so hard to get here. I would be very sad to have to stop when I had hoped to get her to a year especially because of the health benefits she was getting from it, but I can't torture her like this.

    Does anyone have any insight on this? Thank you in advance for any help.
    Last edited by @llli*trifides; April 9th, 2017 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    Perhaps she has pain in her ears or teeth? Often when that it the case it can be corrected with positioning? Try feeding her in a position that is as close to sitting and as far away from flat or laying down as you can and see if that makes a difference. Both ear and teething pain can be affected when laying on their backs.

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3

    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    Unfortunately being upright (or any other position) is not working. I just don't know what's going wrong? It's really upsetting.

    It's now happening through the day and I'm being forced to pump which is not going well with my new pump (spectra S1). I only got 2oz (60ml) on the last pump between both sides and I didn't get a let-down for the first 15 minutes. She will feed from me during the night every 3 hours but that's it- even if I take her to bed during the day and replicate 'night' conditions she won't feed. I've been forced to give her formula which she'll happily take and when I gave her the 60mls of breast milk in a bottle she seemed happy too.

    If I can't get this sorted quickly I won't have any supply as I can't rely on the pump either. Can anyone make any other suggestions/help? I'm willing to try anything. I've been taking fenugreek and not sure that's making any difference. TIA

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    II would agree with djs.mom it is important to rule out a physical cause. Earache, teething, allergies (seasonal) or a cold etc. But if you have done that, here are some thoughts.

    Isn't baby nursing more often at night than before? This is actually pretty common at this age, and might result in baby nursing less often during the day. Also at this age, many babies get all they need at short sessions, they may drop sessions, etc. Weight gain slows down normally after about 3 months, and the months after can bring all kinds of nursing changes.

    How much or what baby will "happily" take in a bottle probably does not mean anything. You have a 5 month old baby who has always nursed, right? She knows where the milk is and how to get it out. If she does not nurse like she did before maybe she does not need to or want to right now.

    Here is a good article with ideas for gently getting baby to nurse: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/nb-...ack-to-breast/

  5. #5

    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    Hi Maddieb and djs.mom
    Thank you very much for getting back to me, I really appreciate it.

    Well I've been to the doctor and she says that there is nothing wrong with her in terms of ears, chestiness etc so I am hoping that it's a phase. What I have noticed in the last day or two is that she almost certainly wants to feed during the day but as soon as she hits the breast the behaviour starts. I've no idea what that means? While she's refusing to nurse I've been trying to offer her expressed milk in a cup or by spoon but she gets hysterical and will only accept a bottle. I know that the bottle is not ideal and that it's a slippery slope but I really don't feel I have much of a choice now.
    Maddieb- if it is, as you think, a change in nursing behaviour, should I start trying to pump throughout the day to keep my supply up until she (hopefully) is happy to come back to the breast? Also, I noticed that I have blanched nipples after she has tried to feed- could this cause any problems? Many thanks

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    Blanching on the nipple is a sign of vasospasm. In that case, it would usually be accompanied by a burning pain for mom that usually responds to warmth. Is that happening?. Vasospasm is often linked to a poor latch and/or thrush. But again, there would then be oterh symptoms including pain for you.

    Blanching might indicate baby is clamping. Clamping is something babies do when the milk flow is too fast in order to stem the flow. Fast flow could also cause breast refusal. This would be kind of an odd issue for this age, however, all a 'too fast" flow means is it is too fast for that baby's preference at the time. Some babies love a fast flow, others no so much. So, I suppose baby not liking the flow could happen any age.

    More commonly, people seem to find that a slow flow is causes nursing issues at this age. Again, it does not mean that the flow is actually abnormally slow, but rather that baby prefers a faster flow. What you can do for that (and breast refusal in general that is not linked to a too fast flow) is give baby instant reward (expressed milk put on your nipple, or hand expressing until milk flows before latching baby) as suggested in the article I linked.

    So it would be interesting to know if baby is refusing after milk begins to flow or after.

    If baby is refusing to even try to latch, I would suggest look at all the suggestions in the kellymom article and try everything that might make sense. You might have to try these things repeatedly before you have results. I would also suggest research nursing strikes for other possible causes. These can vary from changes in mom's deodorant or lotion or soap to some new area of possible stress or distraction in baby's life.

    Bottles might be teaching baby that bottles are the new normal and no reason to keep trying to nurse. If you think about it, offering a baby bottles for some feedings is exactly how one goes about weaning a baby from the breast "to bottles" as used to be the common practice (and still occurs in some cultures or situations) after a few weeks or months of breastfeeding. (rather than nursing for at least a year so that one can gradually wean baby to solids, as is the universal recommendation now.) Yes baby has to be fed enough, but whether baby needs more depends on how much baby is nursing overall. Just as some babies of this age can get all they need during the day and sleep a longish stretch at night, some babies might get all they need overnight and not want more during the day. Of course it makes sense to encourage baby to nurse during the day, I am just saying it may be that baby does not actually need more milk overall. Anyway, since bottles are designed to be a breast replacement tool for weaning baby off the breast, I would suggest maybe try an open cup instead of bottles if you think baby needs to be given milk another way than what baby will take at the breast. There is a learning curve and I am not saying this is definitely going to help prevent further breast refusal but it might. Here is a video with a similarly aged child: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R95FUa7_s84

    If your baby is getting any supplemental feedings (anything, including expressed milk) then yes it is very important to pump for every time baby gets a supplement (or as close to that as possible.) It need not be at exactly the same time as baby gets the supplemental feeding but around the same time makes the most sense. If baby is not nursing during the day but NOT getting any supplemental feedings, you can certainly pump for your own comfort and just to be safe, but it is less vital that you pump. Pumping a little in that case is not going to hurt anything UNLESS the issue is that you are overproducing and that is causing a too fast flow.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; April 12th, 2017 at 10:00 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*trifides View Post
    Unfortunately being upright (or any other position) is not working. I just don't know what's going wrong? It's really upsetting.

    It's now happening through the day and I'm being forced to pump which is not going well with my new pump (spectra S1). I only got 2oz (60ml) on the last pump between both sides and I didn't get a let-down for the first 15 minutes. She will feed from me during the night every 3 hours but that's it- even if I take her to bed during the day and replicate 'night' conditions she won't feed. I've been forced to give her formula which she'll happily take and when I gave her the 60mls of breast milk in a bottle she seemed happy too.

    If I can't get this sorted quickly I won't have any supply as I can't rely on the pump either. Can anyone make any other suggestions/help? I'm willing to try anything. I've been taking fenugreek and not sure that's making any difference. TIA
    What about at naptime? Will she feed when she goes down for her naps? What about when she wakes up?

    Way too lazy for formula

  8. #8

    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    Thanks again for replying ladies. It's great to have back up and help! Where I live most women who breastfeed have given up by month 2/3 so I'm somewhat unusual. A lot of people have suggested that I give up now that I'm encountering problems. Anyway.......
    -The tips of my nipples are very white after feeding but I've no pain.
    -I don't have any symptoms of thrush and neither does she but tbh I have been eating more sugary foods (from pure tiredness) so maybe its possible and I'm not obviously symptomatic?
    -The lactation consultants at the hospital said she had a very good latch but I have noticed that she has recently started to 'bomb-dive' onto my nipple at the outset of feeding. Maybe her latch could be off at that point but she re-adjusts herself quickly.
    -I deliberately don't use deodorant and only wash in scent free soap as I'm afraid it will turn her off - luckily the weather is cool here!

    She doesn't want to feed at nap-time, in fact the only time I can get her to feed is in the middle of the night and then I think its pretty much dream feeding.
    I'm not sure whether my let down is slow, she is only latching for 2-3 seconds and then stopping.
    I have thought that the bottles I have given her may have driven this 'whole problem' further.

    I'm just down from putting her to bed for the night- I tried to make it nice and relaxing, I gave her a bath which she loved and tried to get her into a calm happy place after. Everything was going really well until I tried to feed her and literally in a matter of 20 seconds from starting the feed she was hysterical. She kept going back to the breast and pulling away after 2-3 seconds. It definitely ended up being one of the worst nights I've had. I had to give her a bottle ultimately and she started to fall asleep on it from exhaustion, so I got a little sneaky and offered her my breast and she happily took it. It doesn't seem like my letdown at that point was either fast or slow, she just sounded like she was drinking normally. I think I got very lucky pulling that manoeuvre tonight because she was so tired ie I think it will be hard to replicate again.

    I'm going to go and read the article and youtube you recommended Maddieb. Thanks again for the help, it's really helpful.
    Last edited by @llli*trifides; April 12th, 2017 at 04:49 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    Well this is so puzzling. It sounds like a nursing strike, but those are much more common in second half of first year- like 8 months.

    Do you know if you are having any letdown in those few seconds? You may not feel it, but if baby pulls off is there any milk on or coming out of the nipple or evident in baby's mouth?

    It sounds like there is not a lot of breastfeeding support where you live.
    Are you able to see a lactation consultant now? I wonder if there is something going on that might be more clear when someone else with experience has a looksee.
    Any LLL meetings or similar anywhere around? Or just a way you could hang out with another nursing mom or two? I have seen several times a 'striking" baby start nursing again because they see other babies doing it!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Whats going wrong?

    It sounds like a nursing strike to me too and I don't think it will be hard to replicate. I actually pulled my words from another thread to drop here. So let me do that.
    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    Even if your baby will only eat while sleepy or asleep, at 4.5 months there should be enough of that time in a 24hr period for feed her without any problems. 1st thing in the morning before she wakes completely, up and down from naps (thats 4x if she still takes two and 6 times if she still takes 3) and then down at night and if whenever she wakes at night. If she wakes at least twice at night and it still taking at least 2 naps that's 8 times in a day 10 if she still takes 3 naps. Don't fret. If it's a struggle, there should be plenty of oppotunities to nurse her while sleepy!
    So it sounds like your child WILL nurse while sleepy. So the 1st thing I want you to do is not panic about supply and do the math. If you need to go in and nurse your baby WHILE she is napping to get more dream feeds in, do it. She will always do a better job extracting than the pump. And if you continue nurse her 8-10 times a day the only pumping that will need to be done is to relieve pressure. If you do the math and can only figure out 6times in a 24hour period where you can feed her while drowsy or dream feed, the DO pump 2-4 more times in a 24hour period to keep your supply up. But even then, work to supplement with your own milk so that you don't lose your supply. Even if those sessions don't yield much your body is getting the cues to make milk. And also if you are having trouble yielding milk, try pumping 1st thing in the morning when you get up to pee. Good luck!

    Way too lazy for formula

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