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Thread: Rejecting the breast

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    55

    Unhappy Rejecting the breast

    Hi- the last post I made was entitled "meltdown while eating" and I think that it was over a month ago. I have a ten week old son and I'm struggling to breastfeed him. It seems like we have never had a "good" breastfeeding relationship. I had a fairly traumatic birth with lots of drugs ending in a c-section. He was suctioned vigorously at birth because of meconium staining. He latched on okay in the hospital, but soon we had an incorrect latch which caused me to have bleeding nipples,and pain like I've never known. We corrected it but still the problems continued- he would break off and start crying while eating. I used a pacifier sparingly, but I did so in the beginning because I couldn't comfort him with my breast and he needed to calm down. Now we use the pacifier much more liberally. I thought I had the solution when we treated him for reflux with Prilosec twice per day-approx 3 to 4 weeks ago. I felt hopeful. Ironically- I started to become engorged again after that and he started choking while eating. And I worked to regulate my supply- BF on one side for up to 5 to 10 hours at a time, feeding him in an upright position, expressing milk before feeding.
    And here we are- he still breaks off and screams when we start to breastfeed. He becomes so enraged that it can take an hour to calm him. I use the pacifier to calm him down and we BF in fits and spurts. He does okay BFing while he is asleep-until he fully wakes up. I read that babies who reject the breast do better while they are asleep because BF is a survival instict and we are in a primal state when we are asleep. I'm paralyzed now with indecision- I still want to BF but it is becoming a nightmare for me and my family. I didn't want to only express milk and bottlefeed but I am contemplating it. I offer my breast often- paranoid that he doesn't get enough but he has been gaining fairly well- 48th percentile.
    I must say- I don't often know what his cues are except he starts to "fuss" when he is hungry. I offer him the breast even when he doesn't fuss because I never know if he is hungry. I think he is getting most of his calories at night- we BF last night at 7:00 (screaming to sleep) 8:30 p.m. (used pacifier to calm him down) 12:30 (screaming- gave him a bottle of breast milk because he was too upset to BF) 4:30, 5:30. In the early morning I BF feed him because he keeps moving his head back and forth, and I read that is a sign of hunger in sleep. At 6:30 a.m. he did a little better- I breast fed him while lying down but he fussed a bit at the end and I gave him a pacifier and he fell asleep. Sometimes he is so tired he can't nurse, which I didn't think was possible. He also sleeps quite a bit more than what I thought would be normal- he can't stay awake for more than an hour and 15 minutes or so- he goes down with a huge struggle before he will sleep.
    He is a baby that needs to be slinged or swaddled to sleep- so it's hard to get skin to skin contact. Does anyone have a story of a baby who rejected breastfeeding? What can I do? How do I make time to pump when I can't even put him down to sleep? Can this get better?
    I've hounded lactation consultants- they acknowledged that his behavior isn't "normal" and advised me to contact his doctor who put him on the prilosec. Otherwise his exam was normal. I'm about to start a wheat free, egg free, soy free, nut free all allergen free diet today. I've already quit coffee and dairy.
    Any words of advice or encouragement would be appreciated. Im travelling with im this month to see my family ( I was a bottle baby- adopted) and I dread having this happen in front of friends and family. Especially my parents. confused: I dread it generally.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Rejecting the breast

    Hi,
    I know exactly how you feel b/c I thought my baby was rejecting the breast several times in the past few weeks. He was born small and we have had to supplement, so I've been scared to death that he would reject the breast since we started supplementing, and I think that I tend to anxiously look for signs of that constantly. I'm not trying to undermine your concern, but I wonder if this may be the case for you too. Maybe since you had a tough birth experience and you know that he had to be suctioned, you've had this underlying anxiety about breat rejection. It seems like he's gaining weight well, so he must be breastfeeding pretty well. My baby sleeps all the time too. I think that's why he didn't gain fast enough to begin with.
    I know how you feel about pumping to supplement- it's a real drag for so many reasons. I think it's worse for the two of you to have these agonizing breast feeding sessions-I know what thaty can be like. What I've started to do is let him happily breastfeed whenever he's up to it, even if it's just comfort nursing, and if he screams, he gets the bottle. This has really improved our relationship SO much. I just keep thinking positively, that it will improve. Holding him at the breast when he's screaming will not do any good for you. It just made me depressed.
    It's not the end of the world to bottle feed sometimes, and to me it sounds like he really hasn't rejected the breast since he still can nurse happily when he's asleep. I know a lot of people now that had small babies who had to bottle fed exclusively at first but later breastfeed successfully (some babies started to breastfeed as late as 3 months) so I think the breast rejection idea is sometimes overblown and causes us a lot of anxiety. The fact that your baby is breastfeeding now bodes well for the future.
    I'm not an expert, but I hope this helps. I really sympathize and know how you feel. Just try to enjoy your baby, and try not to freak out about the bottle. You have not failed just b/c you have to give a bottle sometimes. As far as pumping goes, can someone else hold the baby (maybe feed him) while you pump? I try to get my husband to do it whenever possible.
    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    55

    Red face Re: Rejecting the breast

    Thank you for your story- I just try to keep remembering that it doesn't have to be perfect- it just has to be good enough. Last night was particularly bad, and I get depressed that I don't have this peaceful BFing baby- we stuggle to get it done. I had a better BF session about an hour ago so I have some hope. You are right- I pay alot of attention to what isn't going right out of all this anxiety. But also because of his screams- they are so intense, and he gets so mad and loses it- it's hard.
    I hope you and your baby are well today. I just need to talk to or write to people about this so I don't feel so alone. The LLL meeting here is once a month at 7:30 at night- hard for me to make it that late.
    Suzie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    284

    Default Re: Rejecting the breast

    Hi-my son Luke had a 1 day nursing strike-it turned out to be a reaction to my diet (he has reflux). I also wanted to add that he has been supplemented since birth -mostly 2 oz formula a day, but sometimes as much as 10 oz and I would get so upset-well last Friday he went a whole day w/o formula for the first time-and he was 11 1/2 weeks old!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Rejecting the breast

    It makes me feel better to know that it doesn't have to be all bf or nothing. I do want to drop the supplement if possible, but in the meantime, I feel so much anxiety whenever people have the terrible reaction to supplementation. When I 1st found out I had to do it, my supply dropped to nothing. I guess I could have ignored the dr, but that would have stressed me out too, since the baby's so little. I worry about breast rejection every day, but I'd worry even more if my baby didn't grow.

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