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Thread: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    My 12-week-old had trouble in the beginning with his latch due to a tethered tongue and subsequent thrush infections (which I think we still have). He's learned to suck his thumb, which I know I should be happy about. It's great that he can self-soothe when I can't help him, like when we're in the car. But we worked so hard to establish our nursing relationship and I feel rejected when he won't nurse himself to sleep or when he's upset. Is comfort nursing something that happens more with older babies? Or is my baby just not into it? I'm feeling really sad about this right now and need some words of encouragement.

    Linda

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    Not all babies are comfort nursers. Have you tried coaxing your baby into nursing instead of sucking his thumb? Some babies get upset when all they want to do is suck but end up getting milk.

    Try not to feel rejected -- your baby loves and needs you!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    All of my babies have gone through different stages in our nursing relationship. You're doing the best thing in the world for him by breastfeeding him........he will love your hugs and snuggles whether or not he is breastfeeding while he gets them. Who knows he may turn into a comfort nurser some day. I had a "drive through nurser" once. She just nursed when hungry until she had her first illness. Then she wanted to nurse to feel better. She is now a really cuddly 3 year old.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    Quote Originally Posted by LLLCarol
    Some babies get upset when all they want to do is suck but end up getting milk.
    Yeah, I have a pretty strong let-down (not enough to cause choking and spluttering, but a good amount of milk very quickly after latch) and he hates getting that much milk when he's not hungry...I'm just hoping he'll learn how to suck without causing let-down, or something. I posted when the baby had just had a bad crying episode because he was tired and kept rooting but didn't want it when I offered, and I just wanted him to feel better and go to sleep...plus I was waiting for my husband to get home from work and help out.

    Thank you both for your kind words. I know he is a happy baby and mostly he gets what he needs, it's just that the nursing has been so difficult from the start that I get discouraged when we have a hard day.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    I'm just hoping he'll learn how to suck without causing let-down, or something
    Unfortunately the odds of that happening are slim. Let down is a conditioned reflex in mom. It would be very difficult to reprogram your brain to not allow your milk to let down when baby is simply comfort nursing. The breast stimulation alone will trigger a let down, at some point.

    I'm sorry you have hard days but I promise you, we all have hard days no matter what age our babies are! You'll get through it all though. Mothering is a very tough job.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    With #1, he was what I lovingly call a 'milk drunk'. He loved to gorge on breast milk and pass out blissfully. I was in for a shock with #2 when she did not want to nurse for comfort. It was as if she wanted to suck, but didn't want milk. She sucked her thumb the day she was born, and here and there in the early weeks. By about 12 weeks, she figured out she liked sucking her two fingers (index and middle). It gave her a way to suck for comfort (which she still does at 17 months) without milk. I still don't know why it bothered her so much. I was only nursing her on one side per feeding from the time my milk changed to mature milk, so it must have been her personal preference.

    I remember thinking at times of frustration "why won't you just nurse?" especially having experienced that 'quick fix' nursing provided for my first. Hang in there...you'll find what he likes for comfort. For my dd, it was laying her head on my shoulder sucking her fingers. Now she's added in rubbing my hair with the other hand. Even in the middle of the night, she'll get her fingers and want my hair with the other hand.

    Now that I think about it more, I find it very odd that my milk drunk was a skinny baby and my non-comfort nurser was a roly poly, really fat baby.
    Last edited by LLLTanya; March 13th, 2006 at 11:45 PM.
    Tanya, LLL Leader and Mama to three wonderful kids

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    Dear Linda,
    Could it be oversupply? Or overactive letdown?
    Or the thrush?
    Beth B.
    Mom of 2

  8. #8
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Will my baby ever nurse for comfort?

    Quote Originally Posted by bethb
    Could it be oversupply? Or overactive letdown?
    Or the thrush?
    Yes, it could be the thrush. We're going to be treated, again, for the third time. It could be overactive letdown, but what can I do about that? I don't think it's oversupply. I'm hardly ever engorged, unless he sleeps more than 4 hours (and he usually doesn't). When I do get engorged it dosen't seem to bother him much since he's hungry by then.

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