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Thread: 5-mo.-old preemie rejecting breast

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    8

    Unhappy 5-mo.-old preemie rejecting breast

    Help! My son was born almost 2 months premature but other than having GERD (which is being treated with prescription meds), he's a perfectly healthy 5-month-old. He went from NG tube to bottle and then to breast since he was premature, and although he received Neosure supplements for a while, he has been fed breastmilk only (mostly from the breast with a bottle from his dad once a day or so) for almost 4 months now.

    The problem is this: Over the past 3 weeks, he has become extremely fussy, writhing, screaming, and pushing away from the breast when I try to feed him. He won't calm down until I finally thaw breastmilk and give it to him in a bottle. The strange thing is, he usually takes the breast again at subsequent feedings, so it's not like he's on a lasting nursing strike.

    He doesn't have an ear infection or other illness but does have a nasty case of heat rash under his chin. Could the rash be the problem? Maybe the nursing position I'm using (modified cradle with his bottom and legs stretched out on my lap) is less comfortable than the way he's held while bottle-fed? I used to use a Boppy but at 13.5 lbs. and 23 inches long, he seems to be outgrowing it.

    I've tried giving him Simethicone in case it's gas but haven't seen any improvement, and he doesn't appear to be teething yet. My husband and I used to think that he was just trying to work on a bowel movement and that drinking from a bottle helped move things through him more quickly, but he doesn't always make a diaper after getting the bottle.

    To make things more frustrating, my stored supply of frozen milk is about to run out. I've started pumping again after daytime feedings and right before bed (I had pretty much stopped pumping except for comfort) to try to increase my milk supply in case my baby's fussiness is due to his not getting enough milk at feedings, but that hasn't decreased his crying. He used to wake up crying before but then seemed content once I started to feed him. Now, he regularly cries and refuses the breast altogether, nurses for 3-10 minutes and then stops and cries inconsolably, or falls asleep while nursing and then wakes up crying. He used to be a much happier baby!

    If ANY of you can shed ANY light on my situation (even my baby's pediatrician was dumbfounded), I would GREATLY appreciate it! And even if you don't have answers or explanations, some words of comfort and encouragement would be wonderful. I intend to breastfeed my son for at least a year, but when each feeding becomes a wrestling match I usually lose, that seems like a goal I'm unlikely to reach. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: 5-mo.-old preemie rejecting breast

    It sounds like he has some "nipple confusion" and is frustrated with the relatively slow flow of your milk as compared to the bottles. This happens to my son sometimes, but luckily if I just wait it out long enough, try not to get stressed, let him pull on and off, let him hit at the breast etc... another let-down occurs and he calms down. Breast compressions also help.

    I've found this article to be very useful:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...e-nursing.html
    Last edited by Sara; June 23rd, 2006 at 08:21 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: 5-mo.-old preemie rejecting breast

    Have you looked into OALD or oversupply issues? My son was also 2 months preemie - 3 months old now. Well, during the month in NICU, I pumped both sides every three hours without fail. When DS came home he was only 35 weeks gestation and weighed under 6 lbs. I could pump 3-4 ounces on EACH side easily. Waaaay too much milk for him! Once he was home and I was bf'ing all the time, I started having very painful letdowns and DS was choking at the breast a lot, would also pull off and get fussy. I worked on switching sides less frequently and it has seemed to help. Not sure if this is your issue but I've found that a good LC can spot these things when a pediatrician just stares back and you and shrugs.

    I don't think one bottle a day from dad would really lead to true nipple confusion. My preemie was gavage-fed, bottle-feed and bf before coming home from the NICU, and then was exclusively BF for about a month before DH started helping with one bottle of EBM a day. If anything, DS learned to really be open to taking milk however it might be offered. But you also mentioned you now give your baby the bottles of EBM. I'd worry that whatever the cause of the problem, now you might be perpetuating it by giving in with a bottle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    893

    Default Re: 5-mo.-old preemie rejecting breast

    My daughter was a 6 week premie and also went from NG Tube to Bottle then to Breast, she also has GERD, she is now 9 months olds. When we experianced this situation (which lasted for a long time) it was due to her reflux....eating is such a horriable experiance for them, even with the meds she was on, we also thought it was under contol, it wasen't (Prevacid - 3 mL 2x a day and Bethencol - 1.4 mL 4x a day.) We ended up trying all diffrent type of positions and stopped with bottles completely. Try laying the baby on your changing table and leaning over and offering the breast, another (husband needs to be involved), hold baby strain up and down and offer the breast.

    Marcie
    Mom of Madeline

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