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Thread: Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refusal

  1. #1

    Unhappy Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refusal

    This is a long email with ALOT of back story...sorry, but it has to be laid out..
    I am 39 with 3 children, all extended breastfeeders. My older 2 are in high school now, and both self weaned sometime after they started pre-school. I'm not new to breastfeeding, or special situations. We did thrush, mastitis, breastfeeding babies in orthopedic harnesses, tandem nursing, hospitalized toddler (still nursing) with 5 week old new born, special needs infants, getting the picture, with my family, nothing is ever "normal." I have been active in LaLeche League for 18 years now. I am also sharing my home with my mom who has been a LLL Leader for over 30 years.
    My youngest is 2 years old, still nurses up to 6 times a day. He's a typical toddler nurser..constantly developing new, creative & outright weird nursing positions. That being said when he was 3 days old, he began gagging when put to my right breast. For 3 days I tried everything under the sun to get him to accept it, but if he would latch on, at the first suck, he'd gag and spit it out, rooting for the left breast. He would gag before there was a let down. I tried cross nursing while lying down, football & cradle holds, nursing him while laying on my back, and then while he was on his back & I was on my hands & knees. I used no deodorant, never use lotions or perfumes, wiped my breast with clean water before trying to nurse him. I even tried putting some milk from the left on the right nipple before attaching him...didn't work.
    I have a very plentiful milk supply, and he is an efficient nurser, needing only about 5 minutes on one side to get filled up. He had several visits to the doc during his first weeks, with no ear issues or mouth issues. He was born full term (9.5 lbs), no meds, at home, nursed great right away. No birth or pregnancy issues other than my being 37yo. Neither of us were on any meds, taking any supplements, or altering diet in anyway.
    He continued nursing with gusto on the left breast, and would willingly accept the right nipple for a try. When he would refuse the rt breast, I'd pump, just to be sure that I didn't loose milk.
    Then, just as suddenly as it started, he went back to normal nursing on both sides.
    During the next year, he would intermittantly revert to one sided nursing, still gagging when encountering the right breast. Once when I started manual expressions before attaching him to the right, he threw up. I sought advice from my docs, his docs, all of our LLL friends, and no one had any ideas. (Four of the LLL Leaders I talked to about the issue have leader experience of over 30 years each!)
    The last time he accepted the right breast was just after his first birthday, over a year ago now. I have stopped pumping, but there's still milk there. I have stopped offering the right breast. He occasionally seeks it out himself, latches on, spits it out, now following it with spitting like he's tasted something very foul. I have tasted milk from both sides and don't notice a difference.
    I have been a LLL leader for 15 years now, and have seen MANY babies refuse a side, and there's only a few things that I've seen that have caused it, including ear infections, aversion to smell/taste of skin care products or structural problems with mom or baby.
    I am concerned that there might be something seriously wrong with my breast or the lymphnodes on that side, but no one seems to understand/appreciate my concern. Does anyone have any OTHER ideas or know how I can get my milk tested to see what the difference is? I feel like I'm loosing my mind!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refu

    maybe hes just quirky about that one side.
    My dd was like that. There were some days she would refuse one side.
    I don't know.
    At your age have you had a mamogram? OR breast ultrasound?
    maybe that would set your mind at ease that there isn't somethinng wrong?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refu

    Reading that, my first thought was to suggest seeing a doctor and having a mammogram. There's a new test as well, where they can evaluate cells expressed from the breast, but that may not be an option for a nursing mama. I've heard stories -- I'm sure you have too -- where the first sign that there was something wrong with Mama was baby suddenly refusing to nurse on one breast.

    However, my current nursing has days where he's funny about nursing one side -- and it happens to be his preferred side -- and if I push it, I end up with a blister. Always seems to coincide with him getting a cold or teething, and I guess it bugs him to nurse on that side If I leave him alone, he eventually comes back to that side.

    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refu

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    Reading that, my first thought was to suggest seeing a doctor and having a mammogram. There's a new test as well, where they can evaluate cells expressed from the breast, but that may not be an option for a nursing mama. I've heard stories -- I'm sure you have too -- where the first sign that there was something wrong with Mama was baby suddenly refusing to nurse on one breast.
    exactly what i was going to suggest. to you mama.
    JoEllen married to Jason 10-29-2005.

    Mama to Logan 12-26-2007
    Breastfed for 2 years and weaned on his own terms


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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refu

    You got great advice already and I am a bit embarrassed to suggest this, sorry if it sounds naive but Did you ask him? What does he say when you offer that breast?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refu

    I too was going to say see about getting a mammo or MRI and ask your son. Aside from that - are you concerned it's somethign serious? Did it happen with your other children?
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Experienced BF mom/leader confused/concerned about 2yo's continued one-sided refu

    BTW, having a mammogram isn't that bad. If you can get through nursing a toddler, you can handle the uncomfortable feeling of a mammo machine
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

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