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Thread: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    Unhappy 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    My daughter is now nursing 4 times per day (around 7:30, 11/11:30, 3/3:30, 7/7:30). She has solids right after the 11/11:30 bf & the 3/3:30 bf, & occasional Gerber puffs & wagon wheels for practice with finger foods. She has an occasional bottle of ebm or formula if I'm not here (a couple feedings per week). My question is this...

    She has been more fussy while bfing lately. I don't think it's a supply issue as she'll sometimes do it in the morning when I'm quite full & I know there's plenty of milk. She'll typically suck for a few minutes, come off & fuss, then go back on for a minute (or less) & then sometimes fuss some more. Then she'll go for a couple minutes on the other side & do the same thing. However, there will also be some smiles in the process too. It seems to be getting worse & is the biggest struggle at the 7/7:30 pm feeding. She gets fussy when she's hungry at that time, but then feeding her is such a battle!! She'll eat, but fusses a lot & then seems glad to be done (Although sometimes she'll also start crying right after she's done). My husband fed her the other night with a bottle at that feeding (I wasn't home) & he said she was a little fussy, but not like how she is when nursing with me at that time.

    Any thoughts on what might be causing this? Does she not want to nurse anymore? Would she rather just be doing other things? Could it be a supply issue? I'm confused & getting frustrated!

    Thanks in advance for any input!

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    I wouldn't worry that she doesn't want to nurse anymore. Research indicates that unless prompted by something a baby won't voluntarily self-wean before their 2nd birthday.

    Could baby be trying to get some teeth? Has she been seen by the doctor to rule out an ear infection? Have you examined her mouth for white patches (thrush)?

    8 month olds are still highly distractible. Have you tried nursing her in a quiet, dark room, free of distractions?

    Also keep in mind that baby's nursing patterns will fluctuate from time to time. Sometimes all they'll want to do is nurse. Other times they're barely interested. Your supply will keep up with baby's demand as long as you allow baby to nurse when baby wants to. If baby's nursing backs off for a few days then when she decides she wants more, your body will take about 24 hours to catch up to her.

    How often does baby nurse throughout the night? If it's often then she could just be reverse-cycling and that's okay -- lots of babies do it that way.

    Let us know if this helped or not and how baby is doing now You're doing a good job -- keep it up!

  3. #3
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    My 7.5 month old does similar things. I have chalked it up to distraction and her being a busy body! Sometimes, I think that she is going to break her neck trying to see what DH is doing in the kitchen when she is supposed to be eating! If it gets really bad, I just stop the session and try again a little while later. I have found that if I keep her busy it is a little better. I nibble her fingers, let her play with my hair, or my hand. I know how frustrating it is though! Hang in there!

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    Thank you for the responses!

    Carol, to answer your questions...

    Could baby be trying to get some teeth? Not sure, but there weren't any problems bfing when she got 2 a couple months ago. However, she has been more fussy the last couple days & is not eating solids like normal the last couple days as well. Has she been seen by the doctor to rule out an ear infection? No, but I haven't noticed any signs of one. Have you examined her mouth for white patches (thrush)? No white patches.

    8 month olds are still highly distractible. Have you tried nursing her in a quiet, dark room, free of distractions? Yes, I've actually been doing this for months now.

    How often does baby nurse throughout the night? She hasn't eaten in the night since she was about 2 1/2 or 3 mos old & still sleeps thru.

    I'm really stumped about the whole thing - & it's been going on for weeks now. Yesterday she started crying after she seemed to be done nursing so I tried a bottle with formula - she ate 4 oz! I've tried this before though when questioning supply & she didn't eat any from the bottle. Any thoughts?

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    Momtoelise,
    How long has baby been receiving bottles of either expressed breastmilk or formula? I'm wondering if she's just simply figured out that getting milk out of a bottle is easier than getting it out of a breast?

    As for her guzzling down the 4 oz. of formula -- this is not a good indication of a supply problem in mom because sucking is a reflex. Baby sucks, which stimulates them to swallow which then stimulates them to suck again. But how do you feel your supply is doing? Are you often away from baby? If so, do you pump during those times?

    Does baby seem upset when she's not nursing? For instance, does she appear to want to nurse but then when she does nurse it's upsetting to her? If so, this could be a nursing strike. Normally nursing strikes only last a few days but I've seen one instance where it lasted several weeks for one mom.

    Sorry again for all of the questions - I'm just trying to brainstorm here

  6. #6
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    I appreciate all the questions & the help!!

    She's had bottles since she was only 2 weeks old (had yeast infection & pumped for awhile to get a break). She only has them a couple times per week - I work very part time. When I'm at work, I pump at the time she would typically be eating, but only get around 3 oz total. It's so hard to know about my supply for sure - I know she's gettinng milk (feel the let down, see the milk in her mouth) & they're pretty full in the morning after not feeding at night & after she eats they're not full anymore.

    Except for the last couple days when she's been fussier in general, she is typically just more upset when nursing - after eating for a few minutes, then off & on while eating on the second side, and now when finished.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    I'm wondering if there were any more thoughts on this.... The last few days it's been a little better, but still struggling.

    Also, she had her 9 month check-up this morning & the pedi recommended she get 3 meals/day of solids (has been eating 2 right after nursing). The pedi said I should start transitioning her to be getting more of her calories from solids than bf. I like to know a bf expert's thoughts on this?? I mentioned the fussiness while bfing issue to her & she thought it may be that my daughter is more interested in solids & would rather be eating them. What do you think?

    Thank you!!

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    GAK! Breastmilk should make up the majority of baby's diet for the first full year of life. Solid foods in the first year of life are for baby to experiment with and should only merely compliment breastmilk. They should be offered sparingly and any nutritional value derived from them would be minimal. There isn't anything more nutritious than your breastmilk.

    Also, in regards to your baby being fussy because she's more interested in solids -- As I mentioned to you previously, research/evidence tells us that unless there's some sort of outside influence (mom is pregnant again or separated from baby for long periods of time, for example) that a baby won't self-wean prior to the 2nd year of life and most certainly never before age 1.

    Do you still feel your milk let down? Is it early in the feeding?

    Unfortunately I don't have any other suggestions for you as to why your baby is fussing at the breast. I suspect though that it's a passing phase. I'd just continue to offer to nurse her often and if she is too fussy to nurse then perhaps just stop and try again later.

    Oh, and regarding your pumping output -- the average woman pumps 2 oz. per pumping session so if you are pumping more than that then you are above average in that regard But also, keep in mind that what you pump is not indicative of what baby gets.

    It's a good sign that things seem to be improving though so hang in there, this too shall pass

  9. #9
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    Thank you Carol! That has been my understanding about breastmilk & I just wanted some reassurance. I've liked & respected her pedi from the start, & this has really left me a little confused & frustrated. When I left the appointment, I felt really bad - like the effort I've put into continued bfing hasn't mattered. Do you have a link to a resource, or know off the top of your head, the benefits to nursing at this specific age & older?

    To answer your questions, I typically feel the milk let down within a minute or so - although very occasionally I don't feel it. Is that normal?

  10. #10
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 8 1/2 mo fussy while eating

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one! My 8 1/2 MO is also way fussy when eating most of the time. She's extremely distractable and she gets mad at me sometimes when I take her away from all the fun she's having and try to make her eat. She eats solids as well and really enjoys them (though I think she enjoys smearing them in her hair and throwing them on the floor at least as much as she likes eating them). She does eat thru the night (you're so lucky to have a sleeper!!!) and is definitely more relaxed then. Usually during the day, I'm lucky to get what I feel is one good feeding, where she really concentrates and empties both sides. I finally noticed this morning she's got a couple of bumps where her upper 2 teeth will be coming in shortly, but I suspect that's been bugging her for a while.

    I doubt in both of our cases that they're trying to wean or are having any issues with breastmilk, since they sound so similar. I suspect it's just a lot of things happening at once and all adding up to their having too much on their minds to stop and eat!!!

    My mantra for the past few months has been "this too shall pass." Here's hoping this is a short phase!!!

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