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Thread: LLL Help requested... "Pushing off and crying"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Question LLL Help requested... "Pushing off and crying"

    My son was born at 36 weeks and spent 2 in the NICU. No complications, gratefully, and he's gaining weight fine. (>2 pounds in 2 months). We breast feed and I supplement him with 1/2 oz to 1 oz expressed breast milk or Nutramigen formula. He is very sensitive to dairy and peanuts and somewhat soy so I've cut them out of my diet completely. He eats every 3 to 4 hours round the clock.

    I think my supply just barely meets his needs because after he has each breast once he is still hungry. It's not a matter of how long he is on each breast because he stays there until he falls asleep. I massage each one to make sure I make as much milk as I can available. When I offer each breast a second time, he takes a few empty sucks (few swallows) and then pushes off and cries. To me this means he isn't able to access any more milk so I start with the supplementation.

    Does anyone else experience the "push off and cry" thing? And do you also believe that this is because you are "out of milk" for that feeding?

    I've tried fenugreek and it made me extremely tired. Now I'm trying 4 oz of Guiness. Not sure if either really help. I have to go back to work in a little over 3 weeks so I'd like to get my supply up if possible or I won't be able to make it with the breast feeding.

    Thanks for reading and responses,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Re: LLL Help requested... "Pushing off and crying"

    It might help your supply if you were able to nurse more frequently, like every 2-3 hours. I was in the same situation as you with having to suppliment. I had to cut out the formula in order to get my son to nurse every 2-3 hours. The formula made it so he only wanted to eat every 3.5-4 hours. Frequent nursing is the KEY to a good milk supply.

    Also, the beer will probably due more harm than good. Instead of beer, you can get a Hops suppliment from your local health food store. I had more success with Mother's Milk herbal tea.

    Good luck, keep us posted!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: LLL Help requested... "Pushing off and crying"

    I find that my little one (a 33 week preemie) pushes off and cries sometimes and that a burp helps. If you believe that it is lack of milk and you can't nurse more frequently you may consider pumping right after nursing to encourage more production - don't worry if it doesn't stimulate right away it may take a few times to get anything. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: LLL Help requested... "Pushing off and crying"

    "Pushing off and crying" is common and there can be lots of reasons for it, very few of which are a cause for concern. Take a look at this article:
    My baby fusses or cries during nursing - what's the problem?

    This article about cluster feeding suggests that giving your baby supplementation may be counter productive:
    Cluster feeding often coincides with your baby's fussy time. Baby will nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry, nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry... on and on... for hours. This can be VERY frustrating, and mom starts wondering if baby is getting enough milk, if something she is eating is bothering baby, if EVERYTHING she is doing is bothering baby... It can really ruin your confidence, particularly if there is someone else around asking the same questions (your mother, your husband, your mother-in-law).

    This behavior is NORMAL! It has nothing to do with your breastmilk or your mothering. If baby is happy the rest of the day, and baby doesn't seem to be in pain (as with colic) during the fussy time - just keep trying to soothe your baby and don't beat yourself up about the cause. Let baby nurse as long and as often as he will. Recruit dad (or another helper) to bring you food/drink and fetch things (book/remote/phone/etc.) while you are nursing and holding baby.

    Does this mean that baby needs more milk than I can provide?

    No. Don't give baby a bottle -- supplementation will only tell your body that you need LESS milk at this time, and that will not help matters. Also, keep in mind that formula fed babies experience fussy periods in the evening, too -- fussy evenings are common for all young babies, no matter how they are fed. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine spells this out in their supplementary feeding guidelines:

    "There are common clinical situations where evaluation and breastfeeding management may be necessary, but supplementation is NOT INDICATED including... The infant who is fussy at night or constantly feeding for several hours."
    Lastly (sorry for this long post), lactating breasts are never empty, rather what may be occuring is that your baby is frustrated at the slow flow of your milk (this is common in the evenings especially).

    This article will hopefully reassure you that you are not "empty":
    Many people mistakenly think of a mother's milk supply as being like "flesh-covered bottles" that are completely emptied and then need time to refill before baby nurses again. This is simply not how we understand milk production to function.

    First of all, milk is being produced at all times, so the breast is never empty. Research has shown that babies do not take all the milk available from the breast - the amount that baby drinks depends upon his appetite. The amount of milk removed from the breast varies from feed to feed, but averages around 75-80% of the available milk.

    Trying to completely empty a breast is like trying to empty a river -- it's impossible, since more milk will keep flowing in while milk is being removed.
    Research also tells us that the emptier the breast, the faster the breast makes milk. So when baby removes a large percentage of milk from the breast, milk production will speed up in response.

    Rather than thinking of nursing or pumping as "pouring milk out of a container" think of it as flipping on the "high speed production" switch!
    Yet another analogy: Imagine you are using a straw to drink from a glass of water. As you drink, a friend is very slowly pouring water into your glass. The emptier the glass, the faster your friend pours the water. Would you be able to drink all the water in your glass?
    Waiting a set amount of time to nurse your baby (under the mistaken belief that breasts need time to "refill") is actually counterproductive. Consistently delaying nursing will lead to decreased milk supply over time because milk production slows when milk accumulates in the breast.
    Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Question Re: LLL Help requested... "Pushing off and crying"

    THANK YOU for the responses. I think I will try feeding more frequently (2-3 hours) but I anticipate that the slow let-down will frustrate him and he will keep pulling off and crying in response. I'll have to leave supplementing as an option because I'm not going to let him cry and cry all night. Also, I have to go back to work in 3 weeks so I can't continue to breastfeed while I'm at work. Are all of you stay-at-home-moms? Anyone out there who struggled with supply and had to go back to work?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Charleston SC

    Default Re: LLL Help requested... "Pushing off and crying"

    There are a lot of moms that continue to bf and also work. If you think that might be something you would be interested in then, I am sure that there are some moms that can help you.

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