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Thread: End of my rope!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default End of my rope!

    My 3 month old daughter and I have been having more and more problems. We started out on the shield, and after getting advice here, we've been working to wean her off of it. No luck though. She can latch and will nurse without the shield for maybe 45 minutes throughout the day, usually 5-10 minutes at a time. But after that 5-10 minutes she refuses to nurse at all unless she gets the shield. She also almost never pacifies without the shield. A few days ago she started throwing these fits where, for hours on end, all she'll do is ask to nurse, but when I get her to the breast, shield or no shield, she starts screaming and crying. I take her away, walk her around, and she just shoves her fists in her mouth and screams and cries some more.

    Her diapers were down a little from usual, so I called the pediatrician. The nurse I spoke with suspected it was a supply issue resulting from the shield. Per her suggestion, I started nursing her every two hours and doing lots of skin to skin. I tried really hard to get her to nurse without the shield, but 45 minutes out of the whole day was the best we could do. Still, her diapers went back up to normal and she seemed to be doing better as of yesterday. She wasn't having the fits anymore. But today, they started up again. It went from nursing for 10 minutes without the shield this morning (then another 20 with) to nursing only with the shield for almost an hour, to throwing a huge fit and refusing to nurse at all (which is what's happening right now. My husband is trying to relax her as we speak )

    To make matters worse, she completely refuses to take a bottle of expressed milk. For the first two weeks after she was born, she was jaundiced and the pediatrician had us supplementing a small amount with formula from a bottle. She took it fine then! After the two weeks I stopped it completely to focus on getting her off the shield so she wouldn't have nipple confusion. After about a month we tried again, and have been trying, but she completely refuses. We've tried warming the milk and nipple, using freshly expressed milk, having just my husband feed her, feeding her while moving, feeding her with skin to skin, all different types of nipples. She just rolls the nipple around on her tongue and spits the milk out. We've also tried a syringe and she spits the milk out from that too. People have suggested we try other devices, but I have to go back to work eventually and I'd really, really like her to be able to take a bottle.

    What is going on here??? Has anyone ever gone through this? Is there any hope? I feel totally defeated. She'll only take the shield, which can result in supply issues and she won't take a bottle. There's nothing left after that!! The nurse and my MIL keep saying "oh, she won't starve herself, just lose the shields," but I don't know if I can do that. Couldn't she get failure to thrive that way? And couldn't it turn her off nursing for good? This is so not what I pictured. I thought we'd have this beautiful nursing relationship, completely natural and in sync with each other. But I can't even get her to eat with a stupid piece of silicone in between us without screaming. All she does is sleep, eat, and beg to eat. I feel like we hardly ever play or have calm moments. And I feel like I've missed my window of opportunity now that she's hit the three month mark. I'm working so hard to break her of these habits, but she's completely plateaued. I feel like the damage is permanent and if my supply dips down there's no way to feed her because she can't take a bottle . I'm totally frustrated and terrified and would appreciate any feedback, especially if any of you have success stories. Thanks.
    I'm a new mom to Margot Nathalie born 08.18.10

    We are and cloth diapering

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    Oh, I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time.

    I don't have a personal success story for you, as I had a whole 'nuther set of problems , BUT, I do have a good friend who had a really, really hard time weaning off the shield. Her baby just would.not.latch. without it. She was beside herself. But she persevered, and by four months, no more shield. She went on to nurse her baby until well past a year, and the whole thing was just a distant memory.

    Hang in there. Many of us have gotten to this point - where we feel like we can't go on (or we wouldn't be here, let's face it) - but we did go on, and it is SO WORTH IT. You can do it!

    Other mamas are going to come by with more specific advice. I would say, based on my limited knowledge, keep nursing her with the shield, and pump a little afterwards if you are worried about supply, but don't stop nursing her. But, I don't know - I'm deferring to the pros on this one.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    Was she doing 5-10 minutes on each side w/o the shield or total? My son used a shield on one side and nursed much longer until we stopped using it. Then he nursed around 8-10 minutes total w/o the shield. Also, around 2/3 months he got very fussy especially in the evening and I thought it was me. Turned out he was just tired and didnt know how to calm down. We had to do white noise, total darkness and lots of rocking/swaying/swaddling.

    Are you using any kind of nursing pillow? For some reason that seemed to help with getting rid of the shield, something about the position made a difference.

    What bottle are you trying? We used a breastflow bottle by first years or the adiri bottle is good. Also someone else might have better luck. My son did better with grandma when I wasn't around. If I was in the house...no bottle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    For now, I'd suggest just using the shield all the time and not trying to wean her off it, perhaps this is stressing her out?

    I'm wondering also if she's getting overtired or overstimulated?

    There's also a big growth spurt at 3 months and many babies are fussy during this. How long has this been going on?

    Some moms also experience a dip in supply around 3 months due to hormonal changes which can make babies fussy also. If supply's the issue, lots of nursing and pumping (if baby won't nurse) or a course of domperidone will help.

    Other than that, perhaps it's early teething?

    More info here:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...e-nursing.html

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/a...e-feeding.html
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I took your advice, decbaby, last night and turned out all the lights, even the night light, had a little white noise and my husband walked her back and forth and she finally fell asleep. I made the mistake of nursing her at first, thinking she must still be hungry. This just made her wake up after a few minutes and cry again. SO...we started over, she calmed down after only a few minutes and we actually all went to sleep for a few hours.

    We even had a stroke of good luck last night. Each time we woke up to feed, she was sleepy/happy enough to go without the shield! She does seem to do 10-15 minutes before kissing off the way she would at 30 minutes plus on the shield. From what I've heard she's probably getting enough and she seemed happy this morning.

    I think I'm going to take your advice, monika, and worry less about getting her off the shield quickly. After a few days of this, her diapers are still looking good (she has at least 7) whether I use the shield a lot or not.

    I still don't know exactly what's causing all the fussing-growth spurt, stress, early teething-but hopefully worrying less about the shield/my supply will stress her out less.

    Btw, decbaby, without the shield she nurses for 10-15 minutes total at a time. During the night, she falls back asleep for 2-3 hours. During the day she usually fusses and wants the shield after this. I noticed that on days where I used the shield the whole time, she nursed for a total of 5-6 hours. But with just 42 minutes without the shield over the course of the day, she dropped down to 4.8, and 51 minutes sans shield down to 3.9. Does this resonate with your experience. I know people have told me they are much more effective without the shield and will nurse for less time, but I'm surprised to see such a drastic difference.

    Thanks again everyone for your responses so far. It helps so much to feel like I'm not alone and that there are so many great mommies out there who've pulled through to the other side of the hard part.
    I'm a new mom to Margot Nathalie born 08.18.10

    We are and cloth diapering

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    Oh good. I'm glad she calmed down. Hang in there mama it gets better.
    SAHM to my sweet December baby boy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    Babies usually nurse a lot faster without the shield and 5-10 minutes sounds pretty normal for a 3 month old, so if diapers look good, I would not try to pressure to nurse longer. One thing I've learned from these forums is that a sleepy baby will often nurse even when a wide awake baby would refuse. So I think the idea of offering her the breast when she's sleepy at night is a GREAT one. She'll get "in practice" nursing without the shield, in a nonstressful context, and I bet that will translate to her waking times in good time.

    Right now, do what you need to to get through.

    Just anecdotally, my friend who I described above - she never suffered a loss of supply using the shield. She just noticed her baby would tend to nurse longer on the shield. The shield CAN cause a lowering of supply, but it does not ALWAYS do so. Just another thing to keep in mind.

    P.S. I love the song "Autumn Sweater" by Yo La Tengo. Any chance that's where your alias came from?


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    Thanks, joe.s.mom, that's all encouraging. In retrospect, I think the stress of the day I wrote that first post was skewing my perspective a bit. I'm almost certain now that it's not a supply issue (diapers have been good all week), so I'm feeling much more comfortable taking a relaxed and gradual approach to getting her off the shield. That nurse just really scared me!

    Now I just have to figure out how to get her to take a bottle...

    And it is from the Yo La Tengo song, one of my favs. Also, I love autumn sweaters
    I'm a new mom to Margot Nathalie born 08.18.10

    We are and cloth diapering

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    OK, you're probably all going to think I'm crazy, but I'm starting to really worry again. Here's a letter I wrote to my LLL leader laying out the situation as it is now:

    Things are going better, I don't think we're in a crisis anymore, but I'm still concerned. She is no longer on a nursing strike (yay!) and is eating every 2-3 hours day and night. After calming down a bit and changing my expectations, we are even to the point where she nurses at night and during naps in the AM without the shield. For most of the week she had at least 6 wet diapers per day, and that number kept increasing over the last few days as her no shield time went up.

    The problem is she is still fussy around the clock. I looked at the material on GERD and we had another appointment with the pediatrician. He says he's not sure that the ENT's diagnosis of GERD is correct because she doesn't display enough of the symptoms. We are going to a Pedi Gastro doctor next month for a second opinion. In the meantime, we are still giving her Prilosec, but she is fussy all the time. A typical day is, she sleeps 10 hours at night (I have to wake myself up every 2 hours to feed her, and she usually eats for 5-10 minutes without the shield each time). In the morning, she wakes up in a good mood (often the only one during the day). She smiles and coos and we have a few minutes of just being happy. I change her diaper, get her dressed, give her her Prilosec and usually saline drops and aspirator, because she's been congested almost since she was born (have gotten conflicting opinions on that from Peds as well). Then I feed her for the first time. Usually she demands the shield, so I give it to her. This is when the chaos starts. She'll nurse anywhere from a few minutes to a good half hour. No matter how long she nurses, even if she comes off fast asleep and milk drunk, a few seconds later she's up and fussing. She makes all kinds of frustrated noises, kicks out her legs, and sucks on her fist. At first I was just feeding her again when this happened. But this seemed to result in her pulling on and off and crying. I sometimes try to delay her by distracting her with other things. I'll try to get her interested in her toys, give her tummy time, take her on a walk. All of these things result in maybe a few minutes of distraction, but then she's fussing again. She'll put her toys in her mouth and try to nurse. On walks, she'll suck on the edge of the Moby wrap and make frustrated noises. So at some point, within two hours of our first session, I'll nurse again. This lasts all day long. No matter how many hours I nurse her, if she isn't asleep (she gets on average 15 hours in a 24 hours period), she's fussing. She is always always always asking to eat. This all culminates in a nighttime freak out. She usually takes a longer nap around 2 and wakes up around 5. It's at this point that she fusses to eat, maybe eats for a while, then starts screaming and crying. When she eats she fusses and comes on and off, then she screams and cries when she's not being fed. Eventually, towards her bedtime, she calms down enough to nurse herself to sleep. At first cutting out distractions seemed to help, but now she will do this even in a completely dark and quiet room.

    I've been keeping track of all her habits in detail the last two weeks that this has been happening, and she is eating anywhere from 3.1-6.6 hours per day. The larger numbers were happening when her diapers were lower and she wasn't eating off the shield at all. The last few days she's been anywhere from 15-60 minutes per day without the shield, and somewhere in the four hour total range. Everything I'm reading on LLL and Kellymom says that at 3 months, the opposite usually happens. After a few frequency days during the 3 month growth spurt, the baby should be eating for much less time than they used to and that they should be satisfied for 2-3 hours. She's never satisfied unless she's asleep! What is going on here? Is she getting enough? Is the shield the problem? Is there anything I can do?

    Also, is it strange that she sleeps through the night? She used to wake a few times if I didn't wake her to feed, but often only twice and almost 5 hours apart. This is why I started waking every two hours to feed her, to give her practice without the shield and make sure she was getting enough at night. Sometimes, like tonight, she isn't wet at all for over 6 hours. Granted, she's been eating a little less for the last two feedings, but is that enough to keep her completely dry for 6 hours? She had a lot of wet diapers yesterday.

    Sorry, I know I'm rambling, but it kills me that she's 3 months and her eating is getting worse rather than better. I feel like she's missing out on valuable development because she never wants to play. I can't help but feel like my milk is somehow inadequate and since she won't take a bottle, I can't even think of formula as an alternative. I want to spend time with a happy, satisfied baby who can experience life, and I can't even keep her satisfied for a moment. I feel like such a failure.
    I'm a new mom to Margot Nathalie born 08.18.10

    We are and cloth diapering

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: End of my rope!

    huge hugs
    Jaxon (07/13/08) weaned at 27 months
    Alexa and Braxton (11/18/10). My NICU miracles.

    http://swallomlife.blogspot.com

    "This above all: to thine own self be true" -Hamlet

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