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Thread: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

  1. #1

    Unhappy Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    I don't know where else to turn.

    I have a 4 month old daughter who does not seem to like nursing. When she was born, she nursed normally... But we noticed right away that she wanted to keep sucking NOT at the breast. Well, this was brand new. I have six children (!) so this isn't my first time at the rodeo-- all prior children have nursed successfully, unscheduled, on demand and without any use of bottles or pacifiers EVER. I was happy to pacify at the breast as needed. I have experienced many bf'ing problems before and worked through them because I'm a huge proponent of breast feeding.

    This baby is very, very different. She would get mad if I tried to meet her sucking need by latching her on... so I started out by popping my pinky finger upturned in her mouth. Instant happiness. I didn't like to do this but over the next few weeks it happened more and more, her wanting the pinky and not the breast. At about a month, while driving one handed, per usual, so the other hand could reach back and stick a pinky in her crying mouth, I thought "Something has to give... this just isn't safe." So I did the unthinkable and bought a pacifier. I've never used one before with any of my babies.

    She loved it. I was devastated. I swore I would only use it for car driving or as an 'emergency, last resort' but it quickly became a regular part of her day. She wants it frequently. I always try to nurse her first to make sure she's not hungry, but she prefers the pacifier usually.

    She does not eat frequently... every couple hours maybe or even three hours during the day and longer at night even while co-sleeping. This is brand new to me too. All my other kids "snacked" all day long. And when she does nurse, it's for about 7-8 minutes only, then she's done... and she pushes my nipple out. Sometimes she starts fussing after pushing me out until I insert the pacifier.

    The problem is even more frustrating because sometimes, I KNOW she's hungry but she refuses to nurse... she prefers the texture of the pacifier so I sometimes start her suckling on that and then have to quickly try to trick her by slipping my nipple in. This works half the time. Other times, it does not and she screams when I try to put my nipple in her mouth. So I put the pacifier back in her mouth where she is instantly relieved but then she continues to cry when she realizes nothing is coming out of the pacifier. Nothing will soothe her at these times. So after fighting her and trying to trick her, and trying various positions, I have to get up and walk around the house shushing her until she calms done enough to be too sleepy to care and then -- and only then-- will she nurse for a few minutes... just long enough to go back to sleep.

    And it is exhausting. And it brings me to tears. And it's causing problems because my husband can't get a good nights sleep when she's wailing half the night and he can barely function at work. I've become a coffee drinker for the first time in my adult life just so I can stay coherent during the days. I'm thinking of moving into the spare room with the baby so at least one of us can get some sleep at night.

    I don't know what to do. Suck it up and suffer for 2 years? I'm also trepidatious because she's already shown a great interest in food and has started grabbing at what I'm eating! At 4 months! I have never introduced solids prior to 6 months and I try to wait even longer than that when possible.

    Please help... this is a horrible feeling and it feels like my bonding is being rejected.

    Edit: For context, she is thriving and gaining weight fine. Diapers are normal. She is a generally happy baby.
    Last edited by @llli*me3rd; May 31st, 2014 at 08:56 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    Wow I bet it is frustrating when a baby throws a curve ball like this!

    Since you are a VERY experienced breastfeeding mom, I am just going to throw out some random thoughts. Like brainstorming. Hopefully one or two will help in some way or lead to other ideas, and hopefully others can join in.

    I assume you have ruled out forceful letdown? Painful Reflux?

    Try not to take it personally, I know it's really hard. But Baby is not rejecting YOU. Baby loves and needs YOU. Baby does not love the pacifier.

    I don't think you will have to suck it up for two years. I have yet to meet a baby who nurses the same at even one year as they did at 4 months. So something is likely to change over time, (hopefully for the better.)

    I wonder if it is true baby prefers the texture of the paci. Baby seems to 'prefer' the paci for some reason, but is it necessarily the texture?
    If it IS the texture, what about trying a nipple shield?

    Have you ruled out all the typical and atypical "nursing strike" causes? off beat things like your Soap, lotions, deodorant- these are things we seldom talk about anymore but some babies react strongly to odor.

    If she is a generally happy baby, how long/frequent are these episodes where you cannot calm baby? It seems late for a typical "colcky' situation, but maybe newborn colic has bled into teething?

    She does not eat frequently... every couple hours maybe or even three hours during the day and longer at night even while co-sleeping.
    So, about how many times does she nurse in the course of the day? Enough to be health and to gain normally it sounds like. Especially after the first couple months, nursing frequency and duration can vary tremendously- even siblings can have lots of variation.

    This is your 6th baby. Milk production generally tends to increase with each baby. It is believed that a nursing moms breast storage capacity may also increase. So baby actually needing to nurse less frequently than previous babies may also be at least in part due to that in some cases.

    So those are just a few ideas.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    I did consider getting a nipple shield... I've never used one but I'm a little afraid of becoming dependent on yet another 'barrier' between her and the breast. Is that unreasonable?

    Still... at 4 am, I'm willing to try ANYTHING! Other issues have been ruled out as far as I can tell...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    In daytime hours she nurses about 6-8 times total... each session between 4-10 minutes. When she's done, she's done and will not hear another word about me trying to get her to linger! At night she nurses twice.

    I've just never had a baby who DIDN'T WANT to nurse 24/7... So even though she is mostly a content, happy and plumpish child, I keep thinking she NEEDS to be nursing more.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    Hi mama, the thing that came to my mind reading your posts was abundant supply and fast letdown. Which could perhaps explain why she can make do with shorter, relatively fewer nursing sessions and perhaps does not enjoy comfort nursing. You mention trying different positions, does that include reclined/laid-back nursing positions? If there is fast flow, laid-back positions can help baby deal with it better.

    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf
    http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/...stfeeding.html

    I agree with LLLMeg that babies can vary a lot in their nursing behavior - even if your first five were similar, this one clearly has other ideas! For what it's worth, my first two had no interest in pacifiers, my third loves her pacifier but is still happily nursing at 2 years.

    The great thing is, baby is gaining well, is healthy and happy. So clearly you ARE meeting her nursing needs. I can see how this part is frustrating and exhausting:

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*me3rd View Post
    The problem is even more frustrating because sometimes, I KNOW she's hungry but she refuses to nurse... she prefers the texture of the pacifier so I sometimes start her suckling on that and then have to quickly try to trick her by slipping my nipple in. This works half the time. Other times, it does not and she screams when I try to put my nipple in her mouth. So I put the pacifier back in her mouth where she is instantly relieved but then she continues to cry when she realizes nothing is coming out of the pacifier. Nothing will soothe her at these times. So after fighting her and trying to trick her, and trying various positions, I have to get up and walk around the house shushing her until she calms done enough to be too sleepy to care and then -- and only then-- will she nurse for a few minutes... just long enough to go back to sleep.
    But maybe she actually does need some combination of motion and nursing to calm down and go back to sleep. My first was a huge lover of motion - I walked many, many miles with him, and I have very distinct memories of him waking up in the middle of the night, nursing, and still he wanted me to bounce up and down on the exercise ball with him - not much fun at 3 am! - in order to go back to sleep. But it didn't go on forever.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    I think it is totally normal to want to avoid using a nipple shield- of course this is a method of last resort. But I think OCCASIONAL use, if it helps baby comfort nurse at the breast rather than the paci, may help. Assuming baby goes for it at all, which is of course unknown.

    In daytime hours she nurses about 6-8 times total... each session between 4-10 minutes. When she's done, she's done and will not hear another word about me trying to get her to linger! At night she nurses twice.
    So, baby nurses a total of 8-10 times a 24 hour day? This is considered normal nursing frequency. I am with you, my 3 kids nursed MUCH more often so I am always shocked to think that 8 times a day could be normal, but that is what the experts say and in fact, I have talked to many mothers whose children of this age and even a bit younger nurse about 8 times a day and all is well. However, if you feel as if she should nurse more often, I also believe strongly in momma instinct.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    Well, thank you everyone. After reading this through and carefully reflecting on the matter, it occurred to me that she CAN be consoled... by getting up and walking and swaying etc. Basically I'm so darn exhausted that I never want to muster up a shred of sacrifice to do what needs to be done. Motherhood sure isn't for sissies I can tell you that much... (as if anyone here believed otherwise). I'm just a tired mama looking for easy answers. I think I'm just in a tough phase right now.

    Thank y for the tip on reclined nursing for an easier letdown... I'm going to pack that one in the bank...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    what kind of pacifier are you using? Also have you ruled out physical problems like a tongue/lip tie?

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    Motherhood sure isn't for sissies
    Love it! my new motto...

    I know some moms have found sitting on a large bouncy ball (like an exercise ball) and holding baby helpful for the baby that needs movement and a mom who needs (and very much deserves) to sit.

    I agree with ruchiccio, if you are thinking something is up, something may be up.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mother of 6/veteran nurser has a new problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Love it! my new motto...

    I know some moms have found sitting on a large bouncy ball (like an exercise ball) and holding baby helpful for the baby that needs movement and a mom who needs (and very much deserves) to sit.
    Or even an outdoor swing! I went outside to nurse my unwilling baby the other night (he wasn't feeling well and also not nursing). He was so relaxed in the gentle motion of the swing and the darkness and night sounds.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

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