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Thread: Gagging, choking, spitting up...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    118

    Default Gagging, choking, spitting up...

    Hello all. I'm having a couple of problems that I'm hoping to find some help with! I'm beginning to lose my patience and throw in the towel...something I really don't want to do!

    First problem is that my 3 week old daughter will not nurse for very long at each feeding...usually about 5 minutes (occasionally up to 10 minutes but rarely). She'll act like she's starving, and we'll get latched on (which we've never had any trouble with) and she'll gulp gulp gulp until my breast begins spraying so fast that she pulls herself off and chokes, which is my second problem. Oh, and she will also dose off without having eaten enough, and is hungry again within 30 minutes. I can't rouse her, even with a diaper change or removing clothing!

    I can't get her to stay on long enough at each feeding, and get full enough, to hold her over for the 2-3 hours I'm reading should be between feedings. For much of the day, I'm nursing her approximately every hour, and sometimes more like every 30 minutes. She gets so frustrated when my let-down produces so much milk so fast that she can't swallow it fast enough. She screams and chokes, gasps for air, etc. After all of this happens, and she eventually gets some milk in her, she frequently spits up a good amount of it.

    I should mention that she is definitely thriving with my milk. She was born weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces. She began nursing within the first 5 minutes after birth, and nursed for an entire hour before they took her to weigh her. When we left the hospital, she weighed 8 pounds. At four days old, she had already gained her weight back, and now at 3 weeks, she weighs 10 pounds, 4 ounces. Doctor says she's in the greater than 95% for her age. I know she's getting what she needs from me...it's just that the feedings are frequently so frustrating that I want to give up, and I feel like I'm nursing non-stop sometimes. I'm finding myself not enjoying breastfeeding sometimes, and I know it's not supposed to be that way. I feel like I'm doing her more harm than good with all the commotion with each feeding.

    Help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Gagging, choking, spitting up...

    Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!! How exciting!! It sounds like you are doing a really great job with her!

    It can be kind of challenging sometimes in the early weeks! It can be overwhelming at times if you're not sure of what is happening. It sounds like you have got plenty of milk, but it sounds like it is coming out really fast. This isn't an uncommon problem, you'll hear it called "overactive letdown". Moms who experience this will see milk spraying, and their babies will gulp, cough and sputter like you described. One simple thing that many moms have found helpful, is that when your milk starts to let down, unlatch her and let the extra milk spray into a burp cloth, towel or cloth diaper, whatever you have on hand. By letting some of the milk out, the rest of the feeding shouldn't be so hard for her to stay on top of.

    It can be difficult for a young infant to keep up with a fast milk flow, but the good news is that she will get better at it (and even come to expect it), and your body will eventually slow down so that your supply is more even with what she needs.

    The other concern you mentioned was frequent feeding. Babies do need to nurse often in the early weeks for several reasons. First, their tummies are VERY tiny and your milk is absorbed VERY fast. Second, they are hitting multiple growth spurts within the first couple of months. And lastly, all the frequent nursing is setting up your milk supply for the rest of the time you will nurse her. It sounds like you are already doing a fantastic job reading her cues and nursing her when she needs it, rather than watching the clock, and that's exactly what needs to happen now! It can be tiring, but again, it will not be this way forever. As your baby grows, she will be able to stretch out the time between feedings a bit, and will have a lot of other things she will want to do besides nurse. Many older infants can easily go 2-3 hours between feedings, but babies only weeks old often cannot. But, they do change quickly!

    I hope that helps a bit! If you need more ideas on how to help your overactive letdown, please let us know! There are a lot of wonderful and experienced moms here who I'm sure will chime in with some ideas!

  3. #3
    cmp12345 is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Gagging, choking, spitting up...

    You sound just like I did at 3 week old. I remember feeling so frustrated, and wondered what happened and why my baby isn't a calm, bf baby like you thought she should be. I had an oversupply and OALD, and was constantly full/engorged and in pain. But, I stuck through it and learned from other mothers on this forum and am happily bf at 8months old.

    Like the pp said, it'll get better! Your body is making more milk than your baby needs right now and so you probably have an OALD. Your baby is getting all the milk she needs in the first 5 minutes. Eventually, your body will learn how much your baby needs and won't make too much. For most ppl, that's around 6-8 weeks, but for me, it took about 14 weeks, mainly b/c I didn't have initial support and knowledge. Your baby will also learn to come off and let the milk spray onto a burp cloth, and then relatch (or you can show her).

    In the meantime, have you tried feeding your LO in an upright position, or in the side lying position, so that your milk will flow slower? You can also try letting her finish one breast (maybe requiring two feedings in a row), before switching. Oh, and another good advice I got in the beginning was don't watch the clock!

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by cmp12345; October 5th, 2007 at 10:06 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: Gagging, choking, spitting up...

    Thanks for the advice! You know, now that I think about it, things do go more smoothly when I lie down on my side with her to nurse. I do this usually only in the middle of the night, and I really don't remember it because I'm half asleep when I'm doing it...I'll start doing it during the day, too. I have tried feeding her in a more upright position, but that doesn't seem to help.

    I'm so happy to see other threads here regarding babies who eat quickly and those who don't. I was told to nurse for 10-15 minutes per side...I can't even get her to eat that long on one side, let alone switching her to the other side for seconds! I just need to stop watching the clock and start being thankful that I have a good milk supply, and that she's getting all that she needs from me.

    Thanks again for your words of encouragement!
    Last edited by shannon1976; October 5th, 2007 at 10:21 PM.

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