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Thread: baby screams when offered breast - help?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default baby screams when offered breast - help?

    My son is 8 weeks old and BFing is going pretty well (I have OS and OALD) and he's gaining really well and has lots of dirty/wet diapers but he is very fussy (as least compared to how my older son was when he was a newborn). I always had an issue with my first son where he would want to comfort nurse but couldn't because he would always get milk - he never took a pacifier and eventually learned to suck his thumb around 6 months.

    The same seems to be happening with baby now except if he's fussing and I offer the breast when it's not "time" to eat, he freaks out. Screaming, inconsolable for 10 minutes or more even if he was calm before I offered. This behaviour seems really unusual to me and I can't understand why he's freaking out like that just from being offered the breast (he doesn't even attempt to latch). This can go on and on and on (sometimes me offering as many as 6 or 7 times - every 15 mins or so while he's fussing) and then one time he'll just latch and eat like normal. I keep offering because I know that eventually his fussing will be because he actually wants to eat but I have no idea how to tell or how to avoid offering when he doesn't want it.

    Nursing was a natural soothing technique with my first son so I'm completely lost now on what to do. Should I stick to a strict feeding schedule? I nursed on demand the first time...but can't seem to determine when he's demanding it vs. fussing for some other reason this time. Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: baby screams when offered breast - help?

    Ah, the special joy of nursing with OALD! The baby wants to suck, but doesn't want to eat, therefore: WAAAAAH!!! I had that experience with my second. Taming my oversupply eventually made it possible to comfort-nurse her, but at 7 months she's still not a huge comfort nurser. Until I got the oversupply under control, I had to change up my game a lot. With my first, every time she fussed I just offered the breast and it was bingo, problem solved. But I couldn't use the breast that way with my second- I'd offer the breast but if that wasn't working I had to try rocking/walking/baby-wearing/diaper change/etc., instead. And sometimes I got it wrong, offered the breast, and wound up with a baby who was screaming mad because she didn't want the firehose shoved in her face again.

    In your shoes, I would absolutely not feed on a strict schedule. Even with OALD and OS it's a bad idea- sometimes the baby really is hungry, and scheduling can result in a diminished supply- and even with oversupply you can go too far! But I would work hard on taming the fast letdowns (http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html) and experiment with other soothing techniques, particularly if the baby ate not long before.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: baby screams when offered breast - help?

    Thank you for the link - I'm reviewing the suggestions to see if there's anything additional I could try. My supply is definitely more under control that it was for the first 6 weeks after pumping before nursing (at first), then block feeding and nursing lying down or reclined. His gassiness is more or less under control - he's still pretty gassy but not screaming in pain all the time gassy like he was.

    I suspect that the OALD persists though...I can feel the letdown and if he's not latched when it happens, the milk sprays out and soaks both of us. So I know it's still very forceful. If he's ready to eat and latches without throwing a fit, he seems to handle it fine...he actually rarely comes of the breast or has any trouble with the first letdown but will sometimes choke on subsequent letdowns, I think probably because the flow has slowed then picks up again unexpectedly for him. I can't feel any letdowns after the first so I don't know they're coming and can't take him off to prevent this.

    The thing I'm most confused about is the screaming fit he throws even if I just OFFER the breast...without even latching or anything. Does he know it's coming? He roots and sucks his hands and gives all the other "normal" signals that he wants to eat and then when I offer the breast he freaks out. And why does he eventually take it and eat with no problem? We've tried all kinds of other methods of comforting him but none seem to work. So far when this happens we've only been able to wait it out until he either eats or falls asleep - which is very frustrating because it can last for hours.

    Right now he's only eating every 4-4 1/2 hours, which seems like a very long interval for a 2 month old to me...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: baby screams when offered breast - help?

    Maybe this link will help: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...e-nursing.html

    I agree, 4-4.5 hours without nursing is a really long time for just 2 months old!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: baby screams when offered breast - help?

    I agree, 4-4.5 hours without nursing is a really long time for just 2 months old!
    Which leads to another question - should I try waking him up to nurse more frequently during the day? At night none of this is a problem...for one thing, he wakes more frequently to nurse (go figure - every 3 hours or so instead of 4 or 5) and he doesn't fuss, just latches, eats and goes back to sleep for the most part.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Sunny Florida
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    Default Re: baby screams when offered breast - help?

    I've kinda been going through this too. I used to ALWAYS offer the breast when my LO (now 8 weeks) was fussy and it worked. Recently, she hasnt been wanting it at all unless she is hungry. She has also started screaming when she is done because she doesnt want to be nursing anymore, she wants to do something else. So when she fusses I basically go down a list and try tons of stuff until something works - she loves to bounce so I always try that first, or just playing/dancing, change her diaper (she hates having it even a little wet/dirty), or lull her to sleep - she gets pretty fussy when she is sleepy but she doesnt always fall asleep on my breast because I have a bit of OS/OALD too- so I try and rock or bounce her to sleep which often works. Today she was actually going crazy and nothing would work - I realized I hadnt heard her pass gas all day so I laid her on the floor, rubbed her belly, and moved her legs up and down and side to side until she started passing gas - then she was happy again!
    So maybe your baby isnt always hungry or doesnt always want to be on the breast, but wants/needs something else ??
    I'm sure the two of you will get it figured out very soon
    I'm a proud first time mommy , born 10/19/2010 and a wife to an amazing husband

    Birth 10/19/2010: 7lbs 3oz
    3 days old 10/22: 6lbs 6oz
    2 1/2 weeks old 11/05: 6lbs 14oz
    4 weeks old 11/17: 7lbs 15oz
    8 weeks old 12/15: 10lbs
    4 months old 2/28: 14lbs

  7. #7
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: baby screams when offered breast - help?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*msbs View Post
    Which leads to another question - should I try waking him up to nurse more frequently during the day? At night none of this is a problem...for one thing, he wakes more frequently to nurse (go figure - every 3 hours or so instead of 4 or 5) and he doesn't fuss, just latches, eats and goes back to sleep for the most part.
    I wouldn't wake him to nurse, how about lying down beside him and side-lying nursing? Just offer the breast while he's in dreamland by stroking his lips with the nipple, and see if he goes for it. You can also hand-express a little pearl of milk to see if the milk smell and taste entices him.

    4-4.5hrs is a long interval for 2 months, I also agree.
    Katharine
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    mid-August DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

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