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Thread: BF disaster - can you help

  1. #1
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    Default BF disaster - can you help

    hi all

    My bf-ing has been rocky so far, but was certainly improving recently. Was feeling positive about it all then yesterday was a nightmare. Gave LO (9 weeks) his feeds, all ok til about 5pm. Then i notice he's putting his fist in his mouth. Start to worry he might still be hungry but feed him throughout the evening at relatively short intervals. Would cry every time I stopped, with cries getting more distressed as eve progresses. By 9 he's distraught - we give him a bottle (120 mls) and put him back on the breast but still crying terribly. Partner gives him another bottle, by which stage I am distraught and feeling so inadequate. He cries until he finally goes to sleep. This isn't the first time this has happened, but I was so unprepared for it as I honestly thought feeding had gone well.

    I just don't understand why I can't satisfy my little man. Latch is good, switch fed so i had lots of let downs yesterday, and I thought things were going well. How can my LO get so hungry when I feed him so often .

  2. #2
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    mama this is rough for you.

    The first thing I thought of is what if he's not hungry? Just fussy, angry, or something is bothering him?
    You can try a head to toe check, just to make sure that clothing isn't scratching him or pinching him. Carry him in a sling, try the "colic hold" or play music for him.
    The evenings aren't called "the witching hour" for nothing, a lot of babies are very fussy at this time!

    How are his diapers? His weight gain is good? That's the way to tell that he's getting enough, although he still may want to nurse at the breast ALL evening! This is ok too, it's called cluster feeding and totally normal.

    If something doesn't feel right you might just schedule a check up to rule out any medical problems (like an ear infection) to give you some peace of mind.
    Jessica
    LLL Leader

    Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.

    Visit LLL of Ashburn PM's Blog!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    Maybe he just need to suck on something to sooth himself and not really hungry try a pacifer and see if that helps settel him down. Sometimes when My LO shows me he's done eatting (slips out of mouth and he falls asleep) then I go to burp him he crys... he just wants to suck on something so I give him a paci and he's fine. I started doing that after 1) each time I put him back on he would just suck and not swallo and 2) someone on here posted the paci trick.

    Other will post, maybe they will have better feedback.

    Good luck and don't give up, your doing GREAT!!!

    Jake: Born 11/15/07
    6lbs 5oz ~ 19inch and 3/4's long

  4. #4
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    Yup. 7PM to 9PM is crying time. I always took my infant outside at that time. We'd sit out on the porch and watch cars go by or go for a walk with her in the sling or carrier. It would calm her. If I couldn't get out, she'd just nurse on and off almost that whole time until she was sound asleep. That phase didn't last too long, but I will never forget it. Lots of passing baby back and forth to each other trying to figure out what to do. It was frustrating and a little scary.

    I also notice you said you "switch fed." Does that mean you are switching sides a lot? Perhaps he's not getting much hind milk then? The hind milk is said to be more satisfying because it has more fat. Maybe just let him fall asleep on one breast and leave him there until he's so passed out he falls off? (Then put him down and have a nice bubble bath before he wakes up crying again!!)

    They are kind of thankless in the beginning aren't they? Not that it's not rewarding, but they are so tiny and fragile and just act so uncomfortable all the time and grunt and cry and make us worry... He will start smiling a lot real soon and that will be so reassuring.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    My baby was a cluster feeder from about 6 weeks until 12 weeks. If she was not latched on then she would cry in the evenings. DH usually was able to find a way to settle her if I was not there, usually by walking around the house with her. I think that is normal in a lot of babies. It does not mean you don't have enough milk or that your baby is hungry. Supplementing is usually not a good idea. Here is a link:

    http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussy-evening.html
    Mom to Lainey (11-8-06)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    Hi all

    Thanks for your prompt replies. I had some questions:

    - what is the colic hold?

    - if you have a baby who cluster feeds in teh evening or who is fussy, does there come a point with them when they settle down and seem satisfied with their feeding?
    - when babies of his age put their hands in their mouths, does this *always* indicate hunger or could it suggest something else?

    I think he's doing OK for hindmilk as I've been switching for a while and this only seems to become a problem in the evening. Diapers seem wet (though much less so last night) and weight gain is phenomenal so he's not in danger. Just awful to see him so miserable.


    I do wonder if some of what he is communicating is colic. He's a terribly windy baby and does have problems with his tummy. I am hopeless at reading his cues and behaviours. I'm sure its not just a desire to suck - he always swallows, until the let downs end. He certainly has a huge appetite and that's why I wondered if it was my inability to satisfy him at the bottom of this.

    Hope you can help. Desperate to ditch the supplementing-

  7. #7
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    DD was the same way from about 4 or 5 weeks to almost 3 months. It disturbed me too that she couldn't be soothed by the breast. She also always had her hands in her mouth, and I could never understand why she didn't just want to eat. Well, finally at around two months, I decided to introduce a pacifier, and that helped a lot. She just wanted to suck but didn't want a mouth full of milk. (She's 6 months now and has no interest in a pacifier any more, if that is a concern to you. I only gave it when she clearly needed it and made it more of the exception that the rule. By 4 or 5 months, she was tired of it .) So, yeah, every evening for 2 or more hours, she would just be very fussy -- nurse for a minute, pop off cry, want to nurse for a minute, etc. It's totally normal, from what I've read. It's good you have a helper because for us, it just took a lot of passing the baby back and forth and singing, rocking, walking, etc. Going outside is a great idea if the weather is nice. We would frequently take Charlotte out in the sling and walk and walk and walk until she zonked out, then we'd go home and quietly sneak her into bed . And one day a little shy of three months, she just stopped being so fussy in the evening !

    Someone else may have posted this link, but it's a good one on this subject http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussy-evening.html. Hang in there! This time is hard and will soon be over! You are doing great!
    Jen, momma to Charlotte Rae born 9/25/07

    Still breastfeeding !

    and !


  8. #8
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    Quote Originally Posted by jaje01 View Post
    - if you have a baby who cluster feeds in teh evening or who is fussy, does there come a point with them when they settle down and seem satisfied with their feeding?
    Yes, definitely. Every baby is different. That time is kind of blurry to me looking back but I think it lasted about 6 weeks for my DD. She has always been a little high maintenance, though (always wanting to be held etc)


    when babies of his age put their hands in their mouths, does this *always* indicate hunger or could it suggest something else?
    It does not necessarily mean they are hungry. They are exploring their world and may be discovering their hands. But it is a good indicator for hunger. here are some other indicators: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/bas...nger-cues.html


    I do wonder if some of what he is communicating is colic. He's a terribly windy baby and does have problems with his tummy.
    Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between colic and cluster feeding. As for the tummy problems, that could be causing the problem. The typical cause is dairy in your diet. If you cut out the dairy then watch to see if his tummy problems get better in a few days. My baby had similar problems. I cut out dairy and she got a lot better. Then I added back dairy back in a few months later, and she handled it fine.

    http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns...nsitivity.html


    I am hopeless at reading his cues and behaviours. I'm sure its not just a desire to suck - he always swallows, until the let downs end. He certainly has a huge appetite and that's why I wondered if it was my inability to satisfy him at the bottom of this.
    Really, his appetite should help your supply. Your body will adjust to meet his demand which is why women can nurse babies exclusively (no other food) until at least 6 months if not longer than that (in the US most start offering solids at 6 months but in other countries it is often later than that). If your baby wanted another let down, trust me, he would know how to get it. He may be full but still wanting to comfort suck. Many babies do this. Since they want to suck, they will typically eat if given a bottle, not because they are hungry but because they want to suck. With the breast, they can control how much milk they get when they suck. But, with a bottle, they can't control the flow and will sometimes overeat.

    Good luck!
    Mom to Lainey (11-8-06)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    - what is the colic hold?
    Quoted from Dr. Sears
    2. Colic Carries. Here are some carrying positions that work particularly well for fathers who call them favorite fuss-busters: Football hold. Place your baby stomach-down along your forearm, with his head near the crook of your elbow and his legs straddling your hand. Press your forearm into baby's tense abdomen. Or, try reversing this position so that his cheek lies in the palm of your hand, his abdomen along your forearm, and his crotch snuggled into the crook of your elbow.

    - if you have a baby who cluster feeds in teh evening or who is fussy, does there come a point with them when they settle down and seem satisfied with their feeding?
    There is a time when this goes away, although I cannot tell you an exact time. Maybe other mom's can share when their babies grew out of this? A lot of times, when you finally get used to a behavior they change it up on you!

    - when babies of his age put their hands in their mouths, does this *always* indicate hunger or could it suggest something else?
    It could be that he found his hands! He's exploring, sucking and tasting is a big part of figuring out the world. Intense sucking is usually a good sign that he's willing (or needing) to nurse, but wanting to nurse and being hungry are sometimes two different things.

    Check out this (non LLL) link - Dr. Sears has some great Colic techniques and a lot of info to help.
    COPING WITH COLIC
    Jessica
    LLL Leader

    Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.

    Visit LLL of Ashburn PM's Blog!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: BF disaster - can you help

    You aren't terrible at reading his cues. Just reading your descriptions of what's going on tells me that you read him very well, especially for so early in the game. I think sometimes, because of very simple and basic survival instincts, when newborns are uncomfortable, they suck. Because typically discomfort means hunger. As the baby gets older they will learn that discomfort could be other things as well, but by then they will find that regardless of the problem, they can find comfort at the breast. The beautiful thing about nursing is that you can't really overfeed. Well, I guess I did see my own baby "binge and purge" a few times. But they can control the amount they are getting to some degree. More than with a bottle. So even if you determine he's not really hungry, its OK to give him the breast if that's what he wants. If he's wetting and growing, your supply is fine. Supplementing will hurt your supply. Before a growth spurt they will suck more to stimulate you to make more milk. I've got nothing against the paci's.. tried to get my kid to take one. But go ahead and let him suck on you too.

    How do you know that "let downs" are ending? I think of let down as that sensation when the milk first starts to flow but the feeling, for me, always went away within a few seconds. Eventually I stopped feeling it at all, but the milk still came. Heck, I could still squeeze a little milk out 3 MONTHS after the last time dd nursed. Just putting that out there because I'm not positive about exactly what you mean when you refer to let down. For me, switching sides less often got rid of most of dd's gassiness.

    That fussy period faded slowly for us. The nights became easier and easier because we could anticipate them and found things that worked for her (and for us!). And then dd's nervous system could handle more and she wasn't so overloaded by the end of the day and also her digestive system seemed to slowly mature as well. I know that around 3 months, things were much easier, but I also knew to take her to appointments and social gatherings around 9:30AM and never at 7PM for a good part of the first year. She was just much happier and more fun in the mornings for a long time.

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