Really struggling with breastfeeding

(13 Posts)
marshmallow2468 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:56:10

I posted the other day about my DS (3mo) biting when he's feeding. I got a few suggestions, tried them, but nothing worked. His feeding habits have changed the last week or so and I'm finding things a bit difficult. He's become very fussy, breaks off all the time, sometimes takes forever to feed, other times is done in 5 minutes. He's refusing his last evening feed and then waking several times overnight, whereas before he was only waking once. And the biting is getting worse. He clamps down and shakes his head about. So painful!

He's in a routine and I'm wondering if that should be altered, although he doesnt seem to be hungry outside his regular feeding times, apart from overnight. Do feeding habits generally change over time? I asked the health visitor but she was useless and said we'd talk about weaning at her next appointment in June, which wasn't what I was asking!

I do want to continue breastfeeding for a bit longer. It's getting very hard though, and it's been so easy so far. But I'd like to keep my nipples and sanity intact!

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Apr-13 14:26:51

Can't remember seeing your last thread, what have you tried so far?

And yes they do change over time, a newborn will typically feed 12 times in 24 hours but a 1 year old may have cut down to just 2 feeds so like all things baby related, just when you think you've got it sorted it changes again.

Have you read this on demand feeding? How often is Lo feeding in the day?

It could be that Lo is getting distracted in the day as he becomes more aware. Have you tried doing one or more feeds somewhere quite (taking a bath together usually works).

If you are in a routine, are you following one set out in a book? Just asking as some baby experts routines are notoriously bfing unfriendly.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 30-Apr-13 14:32:31

Babies this age feed to get a little snack, like you or I would eat a biscuit, to get a little drink (like when we are thirsty and grab a cup of tea) and for their version of a four course milk! They also feed when they want comfort - maybe due to being ill, tired, overwhelmed, bored, grumpy smile

Feeding at set times can stop them being able to do all the above the way their bodies are meant to. Maybe the routine isn't working for him now?

Something else it's worth knowing is that human milk is digested much faster than ff is. A human milk feed can be processed by the body in 90 minutes smile so they can be hungry again very quickly after a previous feed!

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 30-Apr-13 14:34:48

If it was me I would scrap any set feeding times and feed as often as your baby wants to - offering before they ask means they never get hungry or grumpy and means a more chilled time for you.

You may just need to go with the night waking for a while. Lots of babies have a sleep regression at around this age and wake a lot more before going back to their old patterns.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Apr-13 14:37:17

Agree on the night waking too. Google kellymom 4month sleep regression and have a look at the wonder weeks website. Both might help explain what might be happening here.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 30-Apr-13 14:56:31

Agree with JJ's suggestion to look at the wonder weeks site. Something else that might help is this link on growth spurts:

kellymom.com/bf/normal/growth-spurts/

What may be happening is all at once:

- a growth spurt (meaning the times feelings are not working well for him)

- sleep regression

I've just been looking at my LLL book, which says scheduled feelings can lead to breast refusal.

Would you consider trying one day of just feeding on demand, maybe with lots of skin to skin as a cosy duvet day? Might help you feel much better and get your bf relationship back on track.

marshmallow2468 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:49:56

I was wondering whether to abandon the routine and see what happened, might give it a go. It's not a routine set out in any book, just one we fell into by watching him and seeing when he seemed to get hungry. It worked like a dream for several weeks, but the last few days have made me rethink. He feeds 3 hourly during the day, 2 hourly in the evening (times aren't completely set in stone) and whenever he wants overnight. I have to be honest though, I found the early weeks of on demand feeding quite horrendous and the thought of going back to no structure is a bit scary.

As for the biting, I've tried pulling him off and putting him down when he does it, saying no in a stern voice and completely ignoring him and not reacting. He still does it though!

I'm rapidly falling out of love with breastfeeding! Not that I was ever the biggest fan of it. I always suspected I'd hate it, and although it's been easier than I thought, and I love the fact that he's thriving physically because of me, I do look forward to stopping. I don't want to stop just yet though!

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 30-Apr-13 16:07:34

Marsh, you are doing brilliantly to be keeping feeding despite finding it hard!

I think your plan to abandon the routine and feed on demand is a very good one.

Tbh the first few weeks of bf are the very hardest and demand feeding is much easier later. When they have a growth spurt the feeding gets very intense again but just for a day or two and then it will settle down.

With the biting, there could be a few things going on. He may be starting to teeth and doing the gripping because his gums are sore. Of course they have no idea it hurts us! If you make sure he is latched on deeply he won't be able to bite. If you keep monitoring the latch and feel him starting to suck more shallowly, you can be ready with a little finger in between the gums to stop him clamping down on your nipple. If you get caught out, lansinoh is good smile

How about rewarding yourself with jive DVD box sets to watch while you are bf? Some nice biscuitbiscuitbiscuit to eat and get your oh to make you plenty of cups of fennel brew while he's at home. I used to swear by fennel tea at this stage as it is supposed to reduce wind in babies.

claremp7 Tue 30-Apr-13 20:16:53

Hi my DD did the biting and fussing at about eight weeks. It seemed to be mainly due to wind. I took her off winded her put her back on. If this happened three times I stopped and would use the dummy. She would settle pretty quickly she didn't cry or anything then I would feed on the next demand and she would normally be fine. The other thing is to ask is it normally just on one side? My DD was tongue tied so got frustrated on one side and this may have caused it too. Have you thought of a chiropractor too

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Apr-13 20:42:21

Yes, you are doing brilliantly. One thing that worked for me when DS started biting was to feed lying down. It worked and a couple of days later we were back to normal feeds with no biting. Might be worth a try.

Know that you might be finding this a little scary but could you look on it as refining your current routine rather than abandoning it? smile

Think you deserve some bigs treats too smile

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 30-Apr-13 20:46:47

Oh yes JJ funnily enough I also found feeding lying down helped at this stage!!

dietcokeandwine Tue 30-Apr-13 20:59:10

Hello, I have a 3mo as well and have definitely noticed more fussiness in his feeding over the past week or so. DS doesn't bite as such but does a lot of wiggling his head around, flailing his arms about (I have to keep his nails really short or he scratches my chest and neck really badly!) and generally faffing about.

I suspect some of this is due to a growth spurt, as others have suggested, but also I think he's become super-quick at getting what he wants from the breast, and can sometimes get upset by me trying to offer more milk when he's actually finished. He is also getting more and more alert, of course, wanting to interact with the world etc, sometimes I can see he's trying to look around to have a nose whilst breastfeeding and getting cross that he's got to face me to feed effectively!

I think you are doing incredibly well to keep going if you're not enjoying the feeding, and I hugely sympathise with the falling out of love with BF thing. I must admit I tend to really enjoy it (after the initial getting-to-grips-with-it period - this is my third DC) for the first three/four months and then start to find it frustrating from then onwards, probably for the reasons outlined above! I have stopped around six/seven months with my older two and plan to do so again this time. I also offer formula at the bedtime feed (7pm for us) and enjoy the fact that he's not reliant on me at this time.

You have had some great advice above but if you want to keep to some kind of routine maybe try the Baby Whisperer which is basically feed-activity-sleep for the baby but not with any specific timings as such. My DS will sometimes go 3 hours between daytime feeds, sometimes 2, sometimes 1! But as a rule he generally has a feed, a bit of awake time and then a sleep. It works well for us, might be worth a try?

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 21:46:18

If you do look at the baby whisperer please bear in mind that her methods aren't evidence based, they are just one woman's opinion. I know lots of people on here recommend them but I only know one devoted BW follower in RL and her pfb still wakes at 8, that's not months, its years....

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