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Thread: HELP!! "lazy suckler"/breast as pacifier

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Question HELP!! "lazy suckler"/breast as pacifier

    Hello everyone,
    I am a new member, with a 16 day old son. In the hospital, we had issues with breastfeeding, and had to supplement using formula, then the SNS system. (his blood sugar was too low, indicating he was not getting enough to eat). Since he's been home, we had some rough days at the beginning, but things seemed to "even out" and settle down. Breastfeeding seemed to be going well for a while. Then every night after his late evening feeding usually between 10-11pm, I would feed him but he seems to still be hungry. We weren't sure if it was gas (but I am eating a really bland diet) or if he was really hungry. He seemed to root, suck on his hand, etc. But he is only that way at night. He has a "lazy suck" at the breast; when he feeds, he suckles for a short time, usually a min or two, then will go to sleep. We do EVERYTHING to keep him awake...we undress him, use a wet washcloth, tickle his feet, hands, turn music on, blow in his face, everything. But he does use the breast to suck on, as a pacifier. I know it is comforting for him, but after he falls asleep, and he lets go of the breast, he will then awaken, and go for the breast again. This goes on for hours, and I can't even put him down at night without him screaming. (the pacifier doesn't work). My husband and my Mom both suggest that we give him bottled breast milk and/or formula to calm him down and stop the crying and settle him. It does seem to calm him and he drinks it willingly. I guess my questions are: 1. does anyone have any suggestions for the falling asleep during feeding issues? I really would prefer he nurse exclusively and 2. what to do re: the using breast as a pacifier? I am afraid that he is getting gas in his stomach because he is just sucking at the breast and getting air and not getting any milk. Is that possible? I am almost at my wits end not knowing what to do. I hope some of you could help me.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: HELP!! "lazy suckler"/breast as pacifier

    Hi Lori. I had the same problem. Luke was supplemented as well and it turned out I was giving him waaay more to eat than I needed to-he really didn't need the formula. He had reflux and so he wanted to eat all of the time! But the sucking thing-Luke used me as a pacifier a lot. He wouldnt really take a regular one much, and after a few weeks he wouldnt take one at all. But things are much better now that he can find his thumb!!! And I have heard several other mothers say the same thing. The best thing for us was for me to master the side-lying position and let him suckle all night. This got sleep for me and his sucking need was satisfied at night. It took a while for me to get that down, but now he is sick and needs more comfort and is back to doing it again! And I now realize how precious the time is, I was actually glad he was back to latching on to mommy all night

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: HELP!! "lazy suckler"/breast as pacifier


    Sorry your having such a rough time, but congrats on keeping with it! It is a tough road when you had a difficult time in the beginning sometimes! I understand what you are saying about wondering why he is on the breast all the time, is he getting enough to eat, ect. First let me tell you that you are both still very new at breastfeeding, still learning, and your body is still trying to regulate with your son. It is VERY common for a new baby to be on the breast a lot, especially late in the evening doing what is called cluster feeding. My first child did this, and it was a bit frustrating at times, but it gave me an excuse to park my butt on the couch and get the rest I so desperately needed. I got comments like you have about giving bottles, and they are not needed, end of discussion. Bottles may start interfering with your breastfeeding if you continue to give them at this age while baby is still trying to learn to nurse. One reason why he may like the bottle and it seems to sooth him is that he does not have to work to get the milk out. He does at your breast. If he is lazy the bottle can be the worst thing! It will also interfere with your milk production.
    Baby pacifying on the breast or constantly suckling will not put air into his belly either. There is no air in your breast, but there is in a bottle. Do you know what I mean?
    You can have a very successful exclusively nursing relationship with your new baby, just give a bit more time for you both to get the hang of things. Breastfeeding may seem so natural and easy, but at first it can be quite difficult and awkward. You are doing an incredible job! Keep up the good work!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: HELP!! "lazy suckler"/breast as pacifier

    I too congratulate you on all the hard work you have done to BF despite the obstacles you have been facing. My daughter would also fall asleep all the time when nursing. Because of that, she would eat all the time. She's still a grazer. However, learning how to nap nurse will definitely help at night. I find that it's easier to do on one side versus the other. Depends on the person though. Also, if you are worried about your baby getting enough to eat, the best thing to do is to let him use you as a pacifier whenever he wants, esp in the beginning. The more they suckle, the more milk your body will produce. So there might be a day or two when they are going through a growth spurt and they don't seem satisfied, however, if you let them suckle all day long, it will tell your body to start producing more and so on. make sense? Sometimes it can be frustrating and a pain to be the human pacifier, but it is esp important to let them when they are that young if your goal is to exclusively BF. As they get older, it does get better. It's nowhere as easy as all the classes and books you read make it out to be in the beginning, but it is well worth it in the long run and does become second nature after some practice on both your parts. I hope that things start moving in a more positive direction for you. Keep up the hard work! You are doing a great job!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: HELP!! "lazy suckler"/breast as pacifier

    You sound tired! I can understand that. It's very difficult to keep a newborn awake long enough to feed him. We did all the things you described, too, to keep him awake (although I imagine the undressing worked better in Janurary than it does now ). The only thing that worked in the end was time. Sorry!

    As for the breast as soother or pacifier, I think people have varying feelings on that. My personal feeling is that if I'm not having nipple pain, I let him suck for comfort as long as he wants. He's just 16 days into this bright, loud, cold, harsh world and needs a great deal of comfort from mummy. It's up to you whether you can use your breast for this or find other ways to give it to him. I didn't worry about bad habits at that age.

    If they taught you how to nurse lying down in the hospital, that might help you when it takes hours for him to feed at night. That way, he can nurse and you can rest or dooze off a little. Once I finally learned how to do this, it was a godsend!

    BF is very difficult in the beginning. It's hard for you to learn, for your body to adjust and for baby to learn. With all the advocacy out there, no one prepares you for how challenging it is. And it takes weeks and even months to really get the hang of it.

    You're doing great and trying all the right things. Eventually (and I do mean eventually) it will get better. Hang in there and keep up the good work!

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