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Thread: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

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    Angry "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    My first two children, around 6 weeks, started having what I refer to as "angry feedings"... They root and act like they're starving, latch on, then cry, scream, turn red, pull on my nipple, pop off, arch their back, and generally pitch a fit.

    By two months, with my first two kids, it was to the point that ALL feedings were like this except for middle of the night and first thing in the morning. It got so bad with my first born, that he was not gaining weight anymore, and I had to put him on formula at 4 months. My second born I decided not to "fight" him on it, and when we were having an "angry" feeding, I'd give him formula instead. This started at two months, and I was at least able to breastfeed before bed, middle of the night, and first thing in the morning until he was six months old, and then refused it completely.

    My lactation consultant suggested that because I have soft nipples, my son was upset that he couldn't get a hard nipple to latch on to, because I wasn't "full", as I am in the middle of the night and morning. I also think, looking back, that it was because I used a pacifier - a lot - a bottle of EBM every now and then with my first two kids, so they knew there were better nipples out there.

    Well, now I'm on my third child - Hayden. I made what was a very hard desicion for me - no pacifiers and no bottles this time around. However, my son is now 5 weeks old, and every day we're having increasingly angry feedings. I've tried more frequent burping, fewer feedings, more feedings, dark quiet room, laying down, sitting up, nursing uphill, YOU NAME IT! The angry feedings started out only being in the evening, but now they're starting earlier and earlier with each passing day.

    I'm really very panicked. I want nothing more in the world than to be successful with breastfeeding with what is to be my last child. I was looking over my journals from my last two kids, and realize that I'm going through the exact same thing now. I thought I had it all figured out, and that it was all due to pacifier and bottle usage, and it turns out I don't have it figured out at all.

    Add to this that since my son was 2.5 weeks old, he has been puking. Not spitting up (although he does that, too), but full-blown emptying the entire contents of his stomach. At first, I attributed it to me being on antibiotics for mastitis. But, now almost a month later, once a day or once every other day he empties his stomach. It doesn't appear to burn, hurt, or bother him, he just does it. So, what little breastmilk I can get into him, I'm getting it all back... all over my lap.

    I talked to his doctor about the puking, but he blew me off since Hayden's still gaining weight. (In fact, he gained almost 4 pounds in the first month!) His puking is more consistent now, and he's not nursing around the clock like he did that first month, so I know he's not maintaining a 90th percentile growth rate, but the doctor didn't seem to care, nonetheless.

    Are these angry feedings just a "phase"? Has anyone else been through this, and found that it resolved itself on its own? I can totally hang in there this time, if I knew there was an end in sight. Or, is something wrong with my milk, and he's trying to tell me something? I do take two different medications (that do come out "clean" for breastfeeding, but I do wonder whether all three kids were trying to tell me that formula was better for them than the meds in my milk). My lactation consultant with my last child told me he was acting as if he was allergic to something in my milk, and that infants are very intuitive about that kind of thing.

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    Quote Originally Posted by kristenco
    Add to this that since my son was 2.5 weeks old, he has been puking. Not spitting up (although he does that, too), but full-blown emptying the entire contents of his stomach. At first, I attributed it to me being on antibiotics for mastitis. But, now almost a month later, once a day or once every other day he empties his stomach. It doesn't appear to burn, hurt, or bother him, he just does it. So, what little breastmilk I can get into him, I'm getting it all back... all over my lap.

    I talked to his doctor about the puking, but he blew me off since Hayden's still gaining weight. (In fact, he gained almost 4 pounds in the first month!) His puking is more consistent now, and he's not nursing around the clock like he did that first month, so I know he's not maintaining a 90th percentile growth rate, but the doctor didn't seem to care, nonetheless.

    Are these angry feedings just a "phase"? Has anyone else been through this, and found that it resolved itself on its own? I can totally hang in there this time, if I knew there was an end in sight. Or, is something wrong with my milk, and he's trying to tell me something? I do take two different medications (that do come out "clean" for breastfeeding, but I do wonder whether all three kids were trying to tell me that formula was better for them than the meds in my milk). My lactation consultant with my last child told me he was acting as if he was allergic to something in my milk, and that infants are very intuitive about that kind of thing.
    I am so very sorry to hear what a heartbreaking time you are going through. I understand the frustration and heartache ... see my post HERE to read about the experiences I had.

    Has anyone talked to you about the possibility of oversupply/overactive let down? Your babies sound like they are experiencing what my little one went through. I found this LLL resource REALLY helpful, along with the advice of my local LLL Leader. Check this out here ...

    Am I making too much milk?

    It was like night and day difference once I figured out that was what my baby's problem was. She was also gaining weight rapidly and so the doctor dismissed the fact that she was projectile vomiting constantly as anything to be concerned about. And like yours every feeding was a violent battle except at night. There was a host of other symptoms too ... LLL's page says the following:

    "When a mother has more milk than her baby can handle, the following behaviors may be common:

    Baby cries a lot, and is often very irritable and/or restless
    Baby may sometimes gulp, choke, sputter, or cough during feedings at breast
    Baby may seem to bite or clamp down on the nipple while feeding
    Milk sprays when baby comes off, especially at the beginning of a feeding
    Mother may have sore nipples
    Baby may arch and hold himself very stiffly, sometimes screaming
    Feedings often seem like battles, with baby nursing fitfully on and off
    Feedings may be short, lasting only 5 or 10 minutes total
    Baby may seem to have a "love-hate" relationship with the breast
    Baby may burp or pass gas frequently between feedings, tending to spit up a lot
    Baby may have green, watery or foamy, explosive stools
    Mother's breasts feel very full most of the time
    Mother may have frequent plugged ducts, which can sometimes lead to mastitis (breast infection)
    If many of these experiences seem familiar to you, it may be because you have an overabundant supply of milk, which can cause a forceful milk ejection (sometimes referred to as overactive let-down), and/or foremilk-hindmilk imbalance.[1][2] The infant behaviors described above are caused by these issues but may frequently be misdiagnosed as colic, lactose intolerance, milk protein allergy, reflux, or hypertonicity (stiff muscle tone)."

    There is also an excellent podcast LLL has about oversupply and overactive letdown. It's an MP3 file you can listen to. I also found this extremely helpful and informative ...

    Oversupply of Breastmilk LLL Leader Karen Smith talks with Elisabeth Lewin about identifying and overcoming the challenges of an oversupply of breastmilk, and/or of a forceful milk letdown (aka overactive milk ejection reflex). (29 min.)

    Please write back and let me know if any of that sounds familiar to you! You are doing an excellent job hanging in there ... that takes incredible commitment, love and strength to do that for your babies. I know how hard it is to have your little one in such distress when you try to nurse them. It is just heartbreaking to see them go through that. You can send me a private message any time too if you'd like to chat.

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    thats what I was going to say over supply..
    thrush can also make the baby pull off and be fussy!
    and since you have been on anit-botics that could be the case.
    Call your local leader she can help for free.

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    i would say over supply or overactive let down also- i am having a lot of the same things with dd- dd vomits (does not just spit up) daily. it is a good day if i don't change my clothes more than twice! my husband is starting to like the smell of baby puke in place of perfume! i also thought our problems were due to my let down. i started spraying into a towel once i felt it start to let down and return her to it once it slowed. that helped with her gagging and choking during nursing, but unfortunately she still throws up and we still have angry feedings. the things you are describing sound just like my kayleigh & what i described to her ped - she rx'd zantac for reflux... i have not yet found out if it is working, but thanks to the wonderful people on this forum i have decided to use the zantac and see if it helps her. you may want to look into that???? not sure how you feel about meds, i don't like giving them to dd at all! back arching during nursing is a classic sign of reflux (i'm no doctor, but it's what i've read )...

    good luck to you

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    Hey Kristen -- welcome to the forum, and big hugs and kudos to you for persevering through these difficulties.

    The previous posters made all the suggestions I was going to make (OALD/oversupply, and/or reflux) -- so I will just say "ditto" and "hang in there."

    --Rebecca

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time. Your situation sounds extremely frustrating and exhausting. Great for you for hanging in there through such tough problems! I agree with PP's, sounds like maybe reflux and/or oversupply. If this is the case there are definitely things you can do to help (referenced in above posts). AND, even if you try some of these things and they don't completely solve the problem, these are all things that do tend to get better as the baby gets older. So, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Please let us know how things are going and if we can offer any further help.

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    I tried to reply to this earlier, but I don't think it worked. Anyway, I have a two month old that has a lot of trouble with reflux when feeding from a bottle, and it sounds a lot like what you are experiencing. We have used Avent bottles, and really love them. They seem to help a little. Also, burping religiously after every ounce, and keeping the baby upright and still during and for about twenty minutes after feedings. Good luck!

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    Let me start by saying:
    I LOVE THIS BULLETIN BOARD!!

    I have to say, thank you SO much to all of you who helped me out!

    When I posted this, I was so depressed, feeling like a BF failure for the third child in a row. I thought it was something wrong with my milk supply. I'd started drinking "Mother's Milk" tea, and increasing my water intake.

    Yesterday morning, Hayden ate at 7am. Then, for the rest of the morning, everytime I offered him the boob, he would gag as soon as the nipple barely touched his lip. By 12:30pm, he still hadn't eaten. I was alarmed, and decided to go to the doctor to get a weight check, since he really hadn't eaten more than 5 minutes worth at a time since his last check up.

    We went in for a weight check, and you know what? My 5.5 week old had gained one entire pound in NINE days. So, I spent the rest of the day totally puzzled. How can my child be gaining so much weight, when feedings are such a struggle?

    Then, I decided to get on-line to see what kind of replies to my post I got. With everyone suggesting over-supply, I knew I needed to start seriously looking at that. But, it didn't make sense to me - why would feedings at night and first thing in the morning go so well, when that's when my supply is greatest? Why wouldn't he have had any trouble during the first few weeks, when my milk first came in, and I was super engorged?

    So, I read the link and information paint-the-moon posted. (THANK YOU!) And, most importantly, I downloaded the PodCast... that proved to be the most valuable... I felt like that woman was talking straight to ME! I wanted to cry... partially because I was so relived to FINALLY know what the problem is, and know what the solution is, but also because it was something so obvious, and I know that's the reason breastfeeding failed the first two times. I think it's tragic that my oldest kids were denied the full BF experience, because I didn't understand the problem, and even my lactation consulant didn't understand the problem!

    I started thinking back over my first two kids... I dont' think it was the pacifiers at all that ruined breastfeeding for us... it was oversupply that led to supplementing, and then they preferred the bottles. I think back to when I went to the LC with my second born... Ryan was two months old, and we weighed before and after a feeding... SIX ounces. She said that wasn't possible, that she must have messed up the scale. But I believe it probably actually was 6 ounces. Ryan was diagnosed with colic, until he went on formula, and I believe it was also over-supply issues. In fact, with my last two kids, my breasts would start generously leaking when I was only 5 months pregnant! And, I leaked until I finished breastfeeding them... I thought that was the norm until I heard the podcast.

    The podcast also mentioned that Oversupply is just as dire as undersupply, and that it's the number one cause of women stopping breastfeeding, even though women report it as undersupply. I feel so relieved that I'm not going to let it happen again. And, HELLO?? EARTH TO MY DOCTOR!! If I'm coming in reporting that my child is puking and only eating 5 minutes at a time, and he's only 5 weeks old and weighing in at a whopping 12.5 pounds (was 7 pounds 14 oz when we left the hospital), you'd think that would be pretty obvious oversupply to a medical professional?!?!?

    So, at the advice of the podcast, I got into bed during the fussy time with Hayden last night, skin to skin, and fed him laying on my side... he was SO content... he was even "purring". I know I have a long road of engorgement ahead of me as I try to get my supply down, but I AM seeing the road at the end of the tunnel. Thank you all so much!!!

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    Your son most likely has GERD, or more commonly acid reflux. most pediatricians are not very familiar with treating this. It has nothing to do with your milk. My son has sever acid reflux and the only feedings he didnt scream at were the night time and the early morning. This is because at all other feedings his esophogus was so irritated from all the acid. at night he would sleep several hours and his esophogus got a rest. my son would scream, arch his back, kick and bite the nipple. he would spit up all the time. he was starving but he couldnt eat. his esophogus was being damaged as every day went by. i could not get a doc to get him the right medicine until after an ER visit with my son. he was not eating all weekend long , and the er docs did nothing for him. they knew nothing about infant Gerd. so i did some research and contacted a specialist at the univeristy of missouri. he then contacted our pediatrician and educated her about this situation. our son is now on the correct medicine, a PPI called zegerid and is no longer screaming at feedings. his esophogus is no longer irritated. if i would have left this untreated, his esophogus would get so damaged and likely lead to Barrets disease and then maybe even cancer. i dont know what we Zegerid.

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    Default Re: "Angry" Feedings / Puking - Help! I'm panicking!

    Quote Originally Posted by kristenco
    Let me start by saying:
    I LOVE THIS BULLETIN BOARD!!
    So, I read the link and information paint-the-moon posted. (THANK YOU!) And, most importantly, I downloaded the PodCast... that proved to be the most valuable... I felt like that woman was talking straight to ME! I wanted to cry... partially because I was so relived to FINALLY know what the problem is, and know what the solution is, but also because it was something so obvious, and I know that's the reason breastfeeding failed the first two times. I think it's tragic that my oldest kids were denied the full BF experience, because I didn't understand the problem, and even my lactation consultant didn't understand the problem!
    You are so welcome! I'm so happy to be able to help someone going through the same crud we suffered through. Wasn't that podcast incredible? I DID cry when I first heard it. My lactation specialist didn't get it either ... I don't know if you read what we went through, but if you're interested a little of it is posted HERE. We went to 2 lactation specialists, a speech pathologist (to see if she was swallowing correctly), a GI specialist, etc., etc. and it wasn't until I talked to my LLL leader that I finally found the answer. She had actually gone through the same experience as well with her baby. I know it's awful to think about the missed relationship with your first two babies, but you will now be able to have a "normal" breastfeeding experience with your little one now. I know I was devastated when I thought about how I could have saved my little girl so much trauma if I had known what was going on early on.

    I started thinking back over my first two kids... I don't' think it was the pacifiers at all that ruined breastfeeding for us... it was oversupply that led to supplementing, and then they preferred the bottles. I think back to when I went to the LC with my second born... Ryan was two months old, and we weighed before and after a feeding... SIX ounces. She said that wasn't possible, that she must have messed up the scale. But I believe it probably actually was 6 ounces. Ryan was diagnosed with colic, until he went on formula, and I believe it was also over-supply issues. In fact, with my last two kids, my breasts would start generously leaking when I was only 5 months pregnant! And, I leaked until I finished breastfeeding them... I thought that was the norm until I heard the podcast.
    I was the same way ... I still remembering walking out and having my husband say "You're Leaking," at 5 months pregnant. I thought, "What the heck?" And after she was born I was (and still am to a point) a 24 hour milk dripping machine, I'd wake up in puddles every morning and leak all day long too. And the weight gain too ... Addie would put on 12 ounces in just five days, even with the huge amount of projectile vomiting she was doing. That was part of the problem in getting the professionals to take us seriously ... they'd see she was gaining so much weight, and dismiss any potential problems.

    The podcast also mentioned that Oversupply is just as dire as undersupply, and that it's the number one cause of women stopping breastfeeding, even though women report it as undersupply. I feel so relieved that I'm not going to let it happen again. And, HELLO?? EARTH TO MY DOCTOR!! If I'm coming in reporting that my child is puking and only eating 5 minutes at a time, and he's only 5 weeks old and weighing in at a whopping 12.5 pounds (was 7 pounds 14 oz when we left the hospital), you'd think that would be pretty obvious oversupply to a medical professional?!?!?
    No kidding!

    Again, I'm so happy for you and your son. Please keep me updated on how you guys are doing. I would be happy to exchange emails with you and we can talk privately if you wish. If you have any questions about what you are going through (that engorgement and period of getting your supply decreased is really uncomfortable!), please feel free to contact me any time.

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

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