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Thread: Breast Aversion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Salem, MO

    Default Breast Aversion

    Hello All,

    My daughter is 1 month old today, and has NEVER nursed successfully on the bare breast. I have tried everything, but at this point we are exclusively pumping and bottle feeding. She refuses to nurse.

    She did not have a traumatic birth. She was out in 3 pushes. We immediately did skin-to-skin and offered her the breast. She tried to latch like a champ.
    However, the rest of our time spent in the hospital was very stressful for her. I was having trouble getting her to nurse, and she was getting frustrated. She was small, 6lbs, and I have large breasts, so I attributed our struggles to that.
    The nurses in the hospital tried to force her to nurse, and they kept me in the hospital an extra day because she still wasn't nursing. The stress of the nurses being so forceful with her caused her to give up trying to latch at all.
    24hrs after birth, I started pumping and syringe feeding her my colostrum, just to get food in her.
    At 6 days old, my chiropractor noticed she had a tongue and lip tie. She had a revision at 2 weeks old.
    She has had regular tongue stretches around the clock and her tongue is healing nicely. She has had regular CST adjustments by a licensed chiro who specializes in infants. I have been seeing a lactation consultant regularly.
    At this point, it has been established that she is physically capable of nursing. However, as soon as my breast makes contact with her mouth, she starts screaming. She is fine snuggling her face into my breasts, and will effectively root, but as soon as my nipple enters her mouth she screams. I believe she has developed an aversion to the breast.
    The best we have been able to achieve is two sucks between screams.
    I have tried it all.
    -every size nipple shield
    -finger feeding
    -tube feeding at the breast
    -every nursing position
    -movement while attempting nursing
    -reward system with alternating bottle and breast
    -attempting nursing while bathing
    -no more pacifiers
    -various bottles, bottles designed to minic breast
    -occluding the nipple on the bottle to limit flow

    We have established that this is not a flow preference. My milk flow is equal to if not slightly faster than the bottle. Aslo, my output is adequate, 3-4oz per side each feeding. At this time, she drinks 3oz per feeding from the bottle.

    I've tried everything listed on the LLL article regarding breast aversion.

    I refuse to give up, but I am running out of ideas. I cannot fathom having to exclusively pump the next 1.5 years of her life.

    Has anybody experienced this? Does anybody have any ideas I haven't tried?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Breast Aversion

    It sounds to me as if you are saying you have good milk production and there is no longer any physical barrier to baby being able to latch and nurse normally. The idea a one month old would never nurse given that scenario is very unlikely. In other words I think you have every hope of solving this problem.

    Is it necessary to continue to do the tongue stretches? I know these were probably recommended to avoid reattachment, but maybe these are worsening how baby feels about their mouth and things going into the mouth?

    You have obviously tried many things in the last month. I would suggest, concentrate on doing the things that are more likely to make a difference and give them time to do so. Generally speaking, here are the things most likely to help. This is assuming baby is indeed capable of nursing normally.

    1) Skin to skin and/or just holding baby most of the time with easy access to the breasts so baby continues to only need to root to get to the breast fast. I call this offering the breast without making a big deal of it. Actually offering the breast more obviously is fine too unless baby reacts negatively. Also, hold baby this way when baby is sleeping or falling asleep etc. to encourage baby to just nurse without overthinking it.
    2) With supplementing, maybe encourage baby to eat more frequently some of the day, but maybe a little less at a time. 3 ounces for every feeding is a lot. A typical one month old nurses at least 10-12 times in 24 hours. They are not typically taking in 3 ounces every time they nurse, nor is it normal for them to eat on an every such and such hours schedule.
    3) Try to ease back on supplements. Yes, on the one hand, not a good idea to try to make a baby so hungry they become desperate. On the other hand, a mostly full baby cannot be expected to have much interest in nursing. Finding the line between too much supplement and enough is not easy, but it is important to try.
    4) consider if baby is reacting to a fast milk flow, or to the fact no milk is coming immediately. If it is the former, then there are a few things to try. If it is the later, instant reward (dribbling a little milk on your nipple is the easiest way) until milk begins to flow may help.
    5) unless specifically being used to suck train or "transfer" baby to the breast, continue to avoid pacifier. However a pinky or knuckle make excellent pacifiers when needed, and will feel more like your nipple.
    6) troubleshoot your nipples. Are they firm and long enough to protrude into baby's mouth to trigger sucking? If not, this is where certain latch techniques can help, as well as nipple shields might help in some situations. Are they perhaps too large? Unusual at this age but you never know. If you are regularly very full, it may be that baby is not able to get a good mouthful, think of biting a very full balloon as opposed to one that is more deflated. Other possible issues...Are you using any nipple creams? Other scents, soaps, etc, that might be off putting to baby?
    7) finding the positions that work best for you and baby
    8) Working on latch techniques as needed.

    I have been seeing a lactation consultant regularly.
    Have you seen anyone else recently? Sometimes a second opinion is helpful. Even if the LC you are seeing is excellent, no one knows everything

    When you say baby will not nurse on the bare breast, do you mean your baby will nurse any better with a nipple shield? Or are the issues the same with no improvement with the shield?

    it has been established that she is physically capable of nursing.
    How? If your baby has demonstrated this, what was different at those times?

    However, as soon as my breast makes contact with her mouth, she starts screaming. She is fine snuggling her face into my breasts, and will effectively root, but as soon as my nipple enters her mouth she screams.
    The best we have been able to achieve is two sucks between screams
    No one wants a screaming baby, but if it is true that baby will suck and intake milk this way, even if it is just two sucks at a time, then maybe doing so for a while will help baby learn to nurse and overcome whatever is bothering baby about nursing. An old adage is that babies learn to nurse by nursing and I think this is usually true. Another way to look at it is that if you lived at a time with no pumps and no formula, you would probably nurse baby even if baby screamed when doing so, nursed for very short periods, etc. because you would have no other choice. I am not suggesting this is how your baby will nurse for ever, live with it. Not at all...what I am saying is that maybe baby needs to be taught that they can nurse, and to do that, they have to nurse, even if those nursing sessions are unpleasant. I know everyone says this (making baby nurse) causes aversion, but to that I say.: 1) Few if any babies experience nothing but pleasant nursing times. Most babies have some unpleasantness going on when nursing at least some of the time, yet, actual breast aversion is very rare. and 2) What have you got to lose if baby is already refusing and nothing else is working?

    Also, I am not saying forcefully hold baby's face to the breast if they are struggling to get away! If baby is sucking, pulling away, crying, then sucking, pulling away, crying, etc. but is still willingly sucking between the bouts of crying, then they are not being forced to do anything. They are nursing and crying at the same time, which happens even when all is going entirely well with nursing.

    While of course these terms are not very precisely defined, what you are describing does not sound quite like breast aversion as your baby is happy at the breast and will root and latch. If it IS breast aversion, then you are on your way to solving that if baby is at the point baby will root and attempt to latch. True breast aversion is pretty unusual. What is usually happening when a baby will not nurse is baby literally can not nurse for some reason, or thinks they can't (baby is not sure what to do and unwilling or not being given the chance to figure it out) or baby has become habituated to bottles.

    Perhaps baby is used to what baby has to do with bottles, and most particularly, with the way a bottle puts milk into her mouth, which is different than what baby has to do at the breast or how a breast puts milk into baby's mouth. We try to explain these differences talking about flow, but in fact the differences are probably far to numerous and subtle to describe or even understand. But they matter to a baby.

    Also, and this is important... paced bottle feeding done correctly is all that is needed to avoid flow preference. A slow flow nipple may help the caregiver do paced feeding properly, but that is it. No evidence yet supports the idea that shape of bottle nipple makes any difference. Are you using paced bottle feeding technique for bottles? I can link info and vids should you like. Another alternative is cup feeding. Using a small open cup helps two ways. One, it forces the adult feeding baby to slow down and pace the feeding. Second, it is so different than the breast baby cannot come to prefer it, because it does not provide the opportunity for sucking baby needs instinctually. Let me know if you want more info on either paced or cup feeding.

    Is this the article you have tried everything from? This one about how to get baby nursing is better than any other. But the ideas may need to be tried again and again...what did not work today may work great in a few days, so it makes sense to keep trying. http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/nb-...ack-to-breast/
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 8th, 2017 at 07:11 PM.

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