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Thread: Difficulties Nursing

  1. #1

    Default Difficulties Nursing

    I'm a FTM and my son is one month old. We have been having a real hard time with nursing. Some of our sessions will be great (of course during my appointment with the LC it was perfect) and others will be horrible. They will go on for an hour and a half, he will latch and un-latch, start screaming, shake his head around my nipple with his mouth open like he forgot how to latch. I want to be successful so much, I really want this special bond with my son but I fear it is never going to get better. I want to attend a local support group meeting, but I am a little embarrassed about how much he screams when I try to feed him, it's like I am hurting him.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,595

    Default Re: Difficulties Nursing

    Hi and welcome. This sounds so much like my oldest baby! I do not have time to write much but I just wanted to jump on here and give you some quick support and ask several questions. I can post more later.
    First, try to relax and stay positive. It is early days. Many moms and babies are struggling at one month and go on to have happy, positive breastfeeding experience I promise.

    Go to the meeting! They have seen it all, I promise. Crying, screaming babies do not phase people who are used to working with/being around moms and babies.
    Just wanting to know if baby is being supplemented at all? Is weight gain ok? Please give details if needed, thanks.
    How many times will baby nurse/do you offer to nurse each 24 hours?
    Does baby seem to like nursing one side or both each session if there is a preference?
    Does the screaming/head shaking etc. happen more at any particular time? (After naps, in the evening, in the morning, etc.)
    Is nursing (latch) comfortable for you?
    Do your breasts seem very full between feedings, or not?
    Did your LC show you different latch techniques or positions? Do you have favorites you are using right now?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Difficulties Nursing

    Thank you for responding! Only sometimes I will have my husband give him an ounce or 1.5 ounces of my pumped milk at the end of one of our longer sessions if it gets really bad, no formula though. His weight gain is really good, he was 7lbs9oz at birth and 9lbs7oz at 3.5 weeks. I nurse all the time, at night he might go two hours but usually it's every hour to 1.5 hours. He usually nurses on one side per session but will sometimes go to the other as well. The latch is definitely comfortable and my breasts do feel full in between. I am not sure he empties them either, sometimes it will be like a one minute snack-like feed and he will act content and go to sleep for another hour. I usually do laid back because the let down is really heavy for him and makes him cough.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,595

    Default Re: Difficulties Nursing

    Ok that all sounds really great. You are already doing the main things that I would typically suggest- nursing frequently and laid back nursing.

    Do you think the fast flow is causing or worsening the latch issues, or is it that baby just cannot get a good latch at those times?

    shake his head around my nipple with his mouth open like he forgot how to latch.
    Ok what I did for this was hold baby against me, leaned back, between my breasts (or in whatever way makes sense to you, as long as you guys are pretty much front to front.) Skin to skin may help here as well. The reason you want baby in contact with your body is that this is what will orient him so he can find the nipple and figure out what to do. This includes letting him push himself to where he needs to go with his feet and maybe helping him hug the breast with his hands. If baby was frantic I petted and soothed baby, talked to him, sang to him, rocked him (by rocking my own body) etc. and maybe let him suck on my pinky or whatever, and when he calmed down a bit I would gently kind of nudging him toward the nipple. At the worst I would offer a little expressed milk in a syringe or dripped on my nipple to show baby the way. Of needed, I would try some breast shaping to help him get latched. It can be very frustrating, I know, but if baby can latch and nurse fine some of the time, he can do it all the time. It is just that they get frantic and really do forget how to latch, the way we might get anxious and forget a speech if that makes sense?

    Also when he just can't latch, it is not the end of the world as baby is gaining so well. If he will let you or your husband comfort him another way and try again in a bit that may help too.

    The latch is definitely comfortable and my breasts do feel full in between.
    Sometimes the breast being full makes it harder for baby to get onto the nipple/breast. This is one reason why nursing frequently is a good idea. Sometimes doing some breast shaping (breast sandwich) helps. Did LC show you how to do that? Another thing to try if you feel very full is to hand express just enough milk to soften the breasts just before trying to latch baby.

    Feeling full between sessions is normal at this point although how full varies a lot. Moms who are making more than enough milk will tend to feel fuller even if baby is nursing with good frequency. Over the next several weeks/few months, your breasts will probably start feeling less and less full between nursing sessions. This is also normal and does not mean anything is wrong. just an fyi in advance.

    I am not sure he empties them either, sometimes it will be like a one minute snack-like feed and he will act content and go to sleep for another hour.
    totally normal. There is no general need for a baby to "empty" the breasts. What is needed is for baby to get enough milk to gain normally. Being concerned about "emptying" the breasts is only needed if mom has low milk production and consequently, baby is not gaining ok, because emptying the breasts tells the body it needs to start producing more milk than it already is. That is not the message you need to send your body. Many- possibly most - moms actually make more than enough milk at this age and their milk production can calm down a little, which it does all on it's own over the next several weeks most of the time.

    Only sometimes I will have my husband give him an ounce or 1.5 ounces of my pumped milk at the end of one of our longer sessions if it gets really bad
    If baby is not relaxing and falling asleep nursing and instead is freaking out, can your husband take baby and comfort baby another way? Some babies resist falling asleep at the breast and prefer being comforted another way some of the time. This is common if the milk flow is very fast.

    Occasional bottles are not the worse thing in the world. If they are helping you cope, fine. But if fast letdown related over production is going on- as may be the case- then any extra milk removal by pumping is going to tend to give your body the wrong message (to make more milk.) So you just want to be aware how pumping and bottles might impact the situation.

    Hope that all makes sense.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; June 13th, 2017 at 03:55 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Ontario
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    722

    Default Re: Difficulties Nursing

    Hang in there! Definitely go to the meeting. No one will think anything bad about you because your baby cries, and you may very well get some really helpful suggestions from moms who have been there, done that. Sometimes too, in those early days when all the hormones are still all wonky and you're so sleep deprived, it just helps to have real life moms tell you that you're not crazy, and this will get better. With my oldest, I thought of her like a feral animal sometimes when she wanted to nurse -she would wave her head around and cry and I swear to god it sounded like she would growl sometimes. It really helped to have my husband take her and walk her around for a bit to calm her down when that would happen.

    I think you've got some real positives in your corner - it doesn't hurt to nurse, and baby is gaining really well. Breastfeeding is a learning curve for both baby and mom, and it does get better. I think Maddieb's covered a bunch of the stuff you can do - I just want to give you a little and encourage you to stick it out through these hard beginning days!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Difficulties Nursing

    I am definitely going to try your skin to skin method tonight that sounds really promising! The LC did show me the breast sandwich, I have to practice with the self expression, not sure why but I have a difficult time doing it.

    I am going to try to cut back on the bottles it might be confusing things a little bit. He doesn't usually fall asleep at the breast which also confused me because I feel like that's really common for babies to do. That always makes me feel like he isn't getting enough but I guess as long as he is gaining OK then he is fine. It's sort of like...he isn't sleeping so does he need more to eat?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Difficulties Nursing

    @carm3 thank you for your positive words, I am really looking forward to the meeting now! It does get pretty wild with my son, I'm feeling confident now that things will get better

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,595

    Default Re: Difficulties Nursing

    That always makes me feel like he isn't getting enough but I guess as long as he is gaining OK then he is fine. It's sort of like...he isn't sleeping so does he need more to eat?
    Yes if baby is gaining fine and nursing is comfortable for mom, then usually everything is fine! Most babies do nurse to sleep but many have periods of time when they do not. Also sometimes you get a baby who just prefers going to sleep another way.

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