Baby won't feed and I make him cry(46 Posts)
Don't really know what to do anymore. My DS is 17 weeks and has been doing nursing strikes since week 8. It's so on and off and we have tried everything. He feeds well at night mostly but during the day won't. He wakes up happy then as soon as he does feeding cues I try to feed him and he sucks for a few minutes then cries until I go away from him. He's lying on my bed alone just now because if I go to him he cries. I can't be with him anymore because it hurts so much that I am making him cry. I can't go out anymore because as soon as we get anywhere he cries for food then won't feed and I end up sitting somewhere within other mums having blissful feeds with their babies like I used to have with DS and I'm there with him screaming at me for trying to feed him and crying on and off the rest of the time with Hunger and they look sad and say oh is he ok and all I can say is he's hungry but won't eat. And there is nothing I can do I have tried the dark room, all the feeding positions I can think of, when he's just woken, when he's sleepy but he's never sleepy because he is too hungry to sleep. I've just called my dad to take him. It breaks my heart to send him off with my dad, hungry and upset, but I can't do it anymore. I can't do anything any more. Don't even know why I'm posting, I just don't have anyone else to tell who won't try and tell me its ok because it's not,
Didn't want to read and not reply. So sorry you are having a crap time. I'm no expert but do you have a local la leche league group? They are very friendly and helpful in my experience. You sound like you need some real life help. Sending love & hugs to you (I know it's not very mumsnetty)
I feel for you ham - I went through this with my DS from 9 weeks. He'd go from placid to howling every time I tried to feed him. I managed to get to 4 months with a combination of dream feeds, expressing and formula top ups before my milk dried up and we moved to FF. Hopefully someone will have some advice for you, but the situation sounds very stressful and you sound like you've tried everything to help. Would you consider mix feeding for a while until he's stopped associating feeding with crying?
hamncheese, this is so sad for you
I think this is unlikely to be 'just' a feeding problem. He feeds well at night - so he is getting his nutrition just fine. But you are right to be concerned about his distress and difficulties in the day.
You need decent help. Your HV would be the first obvious port of call. Make sure you tell her you have done all the stuff about feeding in a darkened room, responding to cues, different positions. Nursing strike is unusual in a young baby, and your baby started this at 8 weeks. Don't let the HV assume this is just a question of 'fixing' the feeding. You need someone knowledgable and qualified to talk to, to help you and your baby build the close relationship you long for.
You are 100 per cent right. You don't need anyone to tell you it is ok because it is not....and you need support to get the right sort of help.
Agree with what others have said....help and advice from a professional or a bf clinic Maybe who could check latch and his mouth . have you tried expressing and bottle feeding ? Don't give up .
A baby who feeds well at night is highly unlikely to have a latch or a tongue problem. This is almost certainly not a technical problem with transfer of milk.
Could it be that you have a slow let down and he gets frustrated waiting? I only ask as I have a similar thing and find that at night dd will happily suck away for 5 mins until I get let down whereas sometimes in the day she does as you describe, then I get stressed and the let down is even slower. Could you try expressing until you get let down and then latch him on- see if that makes a difference
Thanks for your replies. My HV is awful. She doesn't care about him at all. He had mucousy poos and she said as long as there was no blood it was nothing to worry about. I thought he had a tongue tie and she said there would have been feeding probs from the get go but then she saw his tongue when he got his jags as he was crying and she was like oh yeah that might be a tie. Then said as he was gaining weight she would 'see us in a week or two'. That was a month ago and nothing. He's not been weighed since week 6 anyway. So I took him to the doc twice, first one referred us back to HV. Second time agreed tt. We now have an appointment in ten weeks which is so useless as he will weaning by then anyway so won't help us now. I really just can't bring myself to have to go up there and be fobbed off anymore. And because he is eating at night it's no major issue in terms of him losing weight. I got my dad to take him. He's out with him now. But it doesn't actually help as I know I have to wake up and face the same again tomorrow and the next day and so on. I wanted so much to do what's right for him, bfing and not letting him cry on his own. I co sleep and babywear and it doesn't seem to help him feel happy. My dad was all just let him cry for a bit but I can't switch off that feeling of being stabbed inside when I hear him cry so I got him to take him. I just feel like I should ff him and let others take him. Let mil have him and over stimulate him so he doesn't sleep and have the 'sleepovers' she so wants. It doesn't help that there is so much pressure to let everyone else have him. Now I don't really want to have him with me because he clearly prefers to be on his own. I put him in on my bed he stopped crying and then fell asleep. It takes me an hour of crying and shhhing to get him to sleep on me. I went to check he was ok he was just looking out the window all alone. I always thought all I was doing was best for him but apparently he just wants to not bf and be on his own now. Or with other people who he always has a blast with.
I don't have any advice on the feeding (I gave up and went to formula and DC were fine!) but I just wanted to reassure you that those of us who struggle with babies tend to find toddlers a doddle! So there is light at the end of the tunnel...
And he's not rejecting you, you've got the hard job and others can just swan in after a good night's sleep and have fun with him. Try not to take it personally. When he can communicate with you, your relationship will come on leaps and bounds
It's shame you have lost confidence in your HV
I would seriously doubt tongue tie - it does not explain the behaviours you are describing.
Other people may be trying to help and support you, but not going about it in the right way....sounds like you worry they want to take over or are being critical of you You mention a MIL - what role is your partner playing? If things are ok between you, can you consider going to the doc and explaining how difficult things are? Make it clear you really don't want the feeding investigated again - you need another tack.
I meant go with your partner to the doc so you are seeing him/her together.
re the sleep, just let him sleep in a cot on his own if that's what he wants- they're all different. Don't feel you have to sling him if it's not working. My first hated all slings, my second loves them, but she also sleeps best in her cot and often does that staring into space thing before she does, or just fiddles with her comforter- she can be there for 30 mins sometimes- quite happy. It's not a bad thing- just means that he can self-settle. It's the holy grail- don't knock it .
Hope you find a solution.
I could go to the doc with my dad he is retired. DH works so unlikely he would come. I just keep limping on with it all and hoping it will pass like everyone says but it never does. I'm so fed up of hearing its a phase. I don't know anyone else who's babies are going through two month long phases of not feeding without some reason. I'm reluctant to switch to formula as how do I know that will solve anything and I don't want to risk my milk stopping and then realising formula made no difference and I could have kept bfing, plus he doesn't ever drink more than 1-2 oz of expressed bottles so I have doubts it would solve anything. Perhaps I do just need to toughen up and accept that I'm not going to have the relationship with him I thought I would have, and stop caring a bit because caring too much is running me into the ground just now.
Oh no- you sound so down! I think you're getting ahead of yourself in thinking you wont have a "good" relationship with your son because of these teething problems with feeding and because he's not a natural attachment baby. FWIW, my ds was the most unaffectionate baby ever- I remember sobbing at 7 weeks when he would smile for everyone apart from me and would wriggle to be put down if I tried to rock him to sleep in my arms. I remember screaming at DH that "He just sees me as a source of food". Anyway, he is the most lovely, cuddly toddler now. Don't start trying to pull away from him. I know it's hard though.
hamncheese - share your feelings with your doc, including your worries about your relationship with your baby. It's absolutely not the case that the way things are now is set in stone....believe me.
But it may be you need some expert support to make things better for you both. You love your baby, you care about his feelings, you long to be close to him. Get help to make it happen!
This is something your dh should regard as importantly as you do - it's definitely worth a morning off work to help with, don't you think?
Thing is what extra support is there? Are we talking pnd stuff here? I really wouldn't trust any doctor enough to discuss these things without them assuming I was depressed. When I was younger I was incorrectly prescribed anti depressants (was down from being physically sick for months and told 'these will just help you feel so much better') which severely messed me up for a good six months following. Was even told by another doctor 'you will never get better without the correct meds'. Left immediately and a few months later I was getting back to normal never had a problem since. So yeah, I really do not trust mood affecting drugs and I just get the feeling the doc will jump to that conclusion if I explain how all this makes me feel.
I guess I just wanted to see if anyone had been through it too. I go to support groups and have a lot of friends I've made from nct but it just feels like its an infixable problem, he will never feed well and it's going to affect our relationship regardless. It's hard being around other mums and their perfect feeding babies. I'm sure every mum has a particular issue with their LO too. I just am finding it so hard to accept that I can't feed my baby properly or go out with him.
I appreciate all your help, I hope I don't sound like I'm just disregarding advice. I really don't trust that the doctor will actually be able to help.
I agree with other posters about seeing the doc etc, but with the feeding... Perhaps try EBM bottles again?
I have a 17 week old (I remember you from the ante/post natal threads.) I am BF and EBM. He has one bottle of about 4oz a day. At first he wouldn't take more than 1oz. But something I only recently discovered which has helped with the bottle feeding no end is teats with different flows. I was trying to give him milk via a newborn teat, when I changed to a faster flowing teat he would take loads more (teat says 3mo? Size 3? Not sure).
I also want to give you an unmumsnetty hug and say how you are such a caring, lovely mum (I know this from your previous posts). I am sure he (Sandy is it?) loves you very much. Take care ham xx
Thanks ice his name is indeed Sandy. I will try getting different teats to see if I can get him taking bottles better then at least he can go out with my dad more and perhaps feed. I am guessing at this point I could try giving him expressed bottles myself when out too (to save public nudity which inevitably comes whenever I try to feed in public as he fusses and cries so much) rather than just someone else to give it?
hamncheese, I wasn't thinking about PND, in fact, and if you think the doctor will somehow automatically think that, then of course you would tell him your story and demonstrate that actually, you don't think it is PND.
I don't know what it is - I am just aware that what you are experiencing is not normal, not usual (though of course you are not unique - and yes, others will have experienced it as well) and it's not normal and not usual for babies to be upset, hungry, tearful and crying when their mum comes to them to offer comfort and a feed. You don't have to accept it - it's making you sad and undermined and desperate for something different to happen so you and your baby are happy in your love for one another and can show it.
Your doctor is unlikely to be able to fix things, but he/she may know of local services that support mothers and babies going through relationship and emotional distress.
For whatever reason, your baby is only able to feed well at night. This is not unusual in a very young baby, and as a short-lived phase, but it is not usual for this phase to last 8 weeks and for the baby to be distressed in the day....so distressed you feel your baby is better off with someone else caring for him because you feel you 'can't do it anymore' and you are making him cry. All that is from your post.
Your doctor, or your HV, are the first ports of call to get help with that. You, and your baby, need it, from what you say. But if you now feel it's not fixable, and that no one can help, and that things will always be like that, then that's further evidence that things are not right
It must be so hard and lonely, I can't believe you have been told to wait ten weeks, that's just ridiculous and unacceptable! Please try to get your DH on board, it's hard to have the confidence to challenge HCPs when you want to trust them.
Fwiw - I FF my DS so a bit different, but he has never been an attachment-y baby! I don't let anyone else feed him (except DH) so FF doesn't have to mean that. He is cuddly when fed, but he strains to get away afterwards and isn't happy sitting on me or being rocked when distressed. I do struggle with feelings of rejection sometimes, eg if he's teething at night and crying, I go in to rock him and cuddle him and it makes it worse! It hurts, because we instinctively want to feel that our motherly love is enough - I guess even more so if you're bf.
I wanted to co-sleep but DS had other ideas, he has always slept much better in his basket and now in his own room in cot! I love the idea of attachment parenting, but strongly feel that just the same way it's not for every mother, it's also not for every baby and it doesn't mean you're not doing a brilliant job as a mum.
Just wanted you to know that you're not alone, and also that cuddling babies doesn't always make them stop crying! I think it's by far the hardest thing about the early days of motherhood, when they are crying and nothing you do makes it stop. Also, the angelic babies you see at baby groups - I bet they're not so angelic at home
Sorry I can't give any advice re the bf stuff but couldn't not reply, having an independent wee chap myself I know how it feels to feel rejected.
And also - if moving to FF would help, then please don't feel guilty about it. The health and happiness of you and your baby are the most important thing, and you are not any less of a mum if you don't continue bf.
Ham- re giving a bottle of EBM yourself, yes you could try again now. I didn't at first (because I thought he wouldn't take it from me due to me smelling of BM) but now he does. Usually- sometimes he won't, contrary little munchkin. I also do it in order to avoid public flashing as sometimes the little guy does what I call a 'fighty feed' and it is nigh on impossible to be discreet!
But the EBM suggestion is only a partial help really, to hopefully save you a bit of the worry that he's hungry. The other very helpful posters (TikTok in particular) are making very good points about trying to get the underlying probs sorted out.
Good luck ham
It's not anything daft, like you wear a certain perfume / deodorant / soap smell in the day that your baby doesn't like, which has then faded by night time? One of mine wouldn't feed after I'd put deodorant on, which led to a smelly few months!
I totally get that feeling of thinking that the baby would be better off with someone else, the grandparents do swan in and get all the smiles and chuckles when it's us mums that are doing all the hard work! For me that feeling didn't entirely go until my ds was a toddler and able to state his needs clearly.
Hope things get better soon xx
Oh poor you hamncheese this sounds heartbreaking.
Do you know if DS has reflux? My DS screamed and cried and flapped at me loads when he was about that age. It was dreadful. The Dr prescribed infant Gaviscon but it's a bloody powder to mix with milk in a bottle and he was EBF. I just couldn't get the stuff into him. He spat it out or screamed the house down. He was also the same in the day - crying every 5 or 10 minutes about something different. It really got me down.
He also had mucousy nappies - so I convinced myself he had an intollerance. I tried cow milk elimination from my diet (complete elimination for 2+ weeks)but it didn't make a bit of difference. Then one day (around six months) he just stopped crying. I can only assume his stomach valve had matured enough.
Now he is 3 and a cuddly affectionate boy.
So don't give up - I feel your pain. You sound like a lovely Mum. And he WILL love you - you're his Mum - His WORLD! He might be a person that likes his own space but to him you are everything. Whether he shows it in a way you can see right now or not (clouded by sadness and frustration).
Don't give up on him but do try and get help. ((huggs))
Hey ham poor you and little Sandy, sorry to hear you're having a rough time
Just to echo the others that you need to get him checked out, by a HCP that you trust. I remember Sandy had quite bad colic for a while so I'm wondering if its all related somehow, in terms of digestion and being in pain. Don't know, you need a sympathetic doc who will listen to you. Perhaps record on your phone? If you're not happy, tell em and ask to see someone else.
Ignore the MIL et al. You're his mum and knows what's best for little man.
My little one did this for an extended period of time around the same age, it used to leave me in tears every day as I tried to wrestle with him to get him to feed and he arched away. Nights were fine for us, too. He was an early teether - any chance that could be it? Hugs. X.
I don't often comment on serious threads but I really had to for this.
About 4 months ago, I was pretty much in your position, with a same age DS and feeling like you are now. It's horrible- I totally get it.
My baby would regularly wriggle, scream and kick through his feedings (especially when we were out and about ) and always seemed so unhappy with me, it's so hard not to take it personally.
In DS's case (and I accept this is quite rare) it turned out he'd been suffering from multiple allergies through my breast milk (diary, soya, wheat, cocoa). Once these foods had been isolated and eliminated from my diet this type of feeding behaviour all but stopped. I did ask DS's gastroenterologist whether this would have been the cause of his feeding problems (this wasn't a main symptom of course) and I didn't get a straight answer ... it does seem as if the two things were linked in some way though?
I'm not suggesting that your DS has the same problems, I just wanted to say that I've been through similar and come out the other side: I now have a very happy, cuddly, 7 month old DS, who only wants my milk and is refusing solids . We really had to push our community paediatrician for a referral (not in UK) and I wish I had been firmer earlier as I just KNEW that DS's problems were not normal. I really think you should go back to your GP and stand your ground, stamp your feet, change your HV, ANYTHING but don't put up with the crappy treatment you've been given so far.
Yes - that reminds me - I used my phone and recorded DS feeding/ screaming on my phone. HV and Nurse were both surprised to see it as he was always placid when they were there. They also reassured me that it was not normal behaviour and to see the Dr.
I've no experience with this, but could you comfort yourself/be reassured by the fact that your DS is feeding well at night. Sure he's not feeding when it'd be more convenient during the day, but you, and he, are doing something right if its going well then.
Another posted mentioned let-down. Could you try to stimulate that before you feed? So when he tries to latch on there's already some milk there, so he'll taste that and it'll 'remind' him what to do? Just a thought.
I'd second the suggestion to contact the La Leche League, or a Breastfeeding counsellor, who is more experienced with these problems than many GPs and HVs will be.
Good luck with it all!
Hi, maybe your baby has silent reflux? My baby was like that, always screaming at the breast (worse at sometimes than others). HV and GP kept saying latch problem blah blah blah. I knew they were talking rubbish.
I advise you to go to your childrens A&E . Thats what i had to do. My baby was diagnosed with reflux, given renitedine and is now a happy baby on the breast!(it can take 2 days or so to work though) .
Thanks for all the comments and sorry not to reply til now.
I've been off dairy and soya for two months and thought it was working but then mucousy poo again so slowly reintroducing and seeing no difference.
We've been tried on gaviscon it caused projectile vomit. As for reflux he doesn't hate lying down, is sick in the day not at night, feeds fine all night, basically is inconsistent in crying. He cries before feeding so I don't know that it could be...
He's been teething for ages but when its there (drool, flushed cheeks, nappy rash) he isn't worse and when it isn't he still won't feed.
So in the last day I decided to only feed him three hourly. And he has fed every time. No refusal at all. I've tried adding more routine so awake time then sleep or quiet time then feed. I'm beginning to think he cries not because he is hungry, ie if he is tired, frustrated etc, then I try to feed and he gets more annoyed as he isn't hungry then every time I offer he just refuses. Now I feed when I know he IS def hungry and after a nap or quiet time seems to help. He is a very bright thing and quite ahead of his age developmentally it seems, he wants to do it all then gets over stimulated and won't concentrate to feed.
I've not been out yet since this change will go tomorrow and hope its still good. Really appreciate the support everyone... Plodding on and getting success I am quietly happy about...
Ham, I've just started really a book called the Baby Whisperer. Up till now, I've resisted the books and tried to do the baby led thing, but I really feel my little one wants some kind of routine. And being up every 2 hours at night is awful, especially when I keep hearing people talk about how theirs are sleeping through. Anyway, this book talks about the EASY routine (eat, activity, sleep/you time) which sounds like your description.
I can't say more (only just started the book) but maybe ir's worth checking it out?
Ice, please look up the Baby Whisperer in the mumsnet archives.
You will see many strong opinions.
Hi tiktok, I just did as you suggested. Not too sure what you meant by archives, so just searched for 'baby whisperer' and 'Tracy Hogg'.
Indeed there were many hits. I have now read quite a lot of them, and about 95% were positive. This surprised me, from the tone of your post, I was expecting outright MN hatred... As though you were saying 'baby whisperer, Ice! Don't be daft. Utter rubbish! And MN agrees with me, she's evil!'
So have I missed something tiktok?
Ice, read the mentions of Baby Whisperer in this folder (breast and bottle feeding) for many negative opinions on the author's knowledge of how bf works.
She does not have the first idea and makes elementary errors of understanding.
Many women have posted on MN because the book has made them miserable.
Clearly some people have found it helpful, but on the whole, they have not been breastfeeding.
Yeah I'm aware of the easy routine thing. I suppose we are doing a v v v loose version of it. I don't want to go on some mega strict routine because then it stops working if something is up with LO or they just happen to not want to eat at that time or are hungrier earlier. For example today he fed at 6 as planned but then we went back to bed (v unusual) and he has fed at 7.30 and 8.30. I was scared he would refuse but he was really hungry. Think he's on a growth spurt. Anyway, weird thing is I though oh well if he fed at 730 we will do awake time til 9 ish then quiet time and feed again at 10.30 but he is asleep now as if he knows the last two days he was to rest up to 9 so that's brilliant.
<checking to see if he's wearing a watch>
I get the feeling if this pans out maybe I was just totally misreading his cries. He doesn't seem to have a hungry cry so I would try to feed every time in case he was... Can see how frustrating that would be for him. Still need to see if this all works when out and about as historically his worst feeding is when out the house. Going out today so will see.
Just to update we have had two successful feeds in public. At one he went to cry then realised he hadn't been crying at feeds recently and fed fine
Thanks again for all help
My baby was like this re the feeding. Really hard work and v difficult to manage when out and about.
I think it was 2 things. I was trying to feed her all the time. She just wasn't hungry enough for it and I honestly think I was annoying her. Over time it became obvious to me that she was far far worse when she was tired. For some silly reason she would just fight me instead of having a nice sleepy feed. When I became confident of the latter tired issue I would just pretty much wrestle her into a feed and she'd relent in the end and relax.
They are funny little buggers with minds of their own. I can't help you with the reflux or intolerance issues discussed. Sounds like you do need medical help with that.
Just try your best not to get too down about this. Before you know it, the weeks and months will have passed, milk won't be your baby's sole source of nutrition and he'll be talking - telling you how he feels instead of you having to guess. Time really does fly.
All the best. X
Thanks eatssleeps I think our issues are very similar and focusing in getting him into a bit more structure in terms of day sleep and not trying to feed is really helping
I'm glad. I definitely found going longer without a feed just made her get on with it. Mine is 10 mths now and is doing brilliantly. Likes solids. Still a bit of a weirdo when it comes to her milk. Gets distracted from her feed incredibly easily. She never cries at the breast though - just pushes me away and attempts to do something else! It doesn't upset me anymore and I just respect her decision not to drink! Bit different for you as yours is younger but same principle on a snaller scale iyswim?! Unfortunatly, she has decided over past few mths to have her daily milk intake during the night hours. She is really not helping those grey circles under my eyes...
if your baby passes a mucous filled nappy again, that doesnt look normal, take that to the gp and show him/her.
that is proof that something is not right.
keep on plugging with the medical proffession, ask to be reffered to a pead .
if your gp doenst help, fine, ask for appointment with other doc in practice.
I'd certainly get him checked out by your GP. My DD had very bad colic and nothing seemed to work. She was a difficult feeder and I was frantic as she wasn't putting on enough weight. I did move reluctantly to formula in the end and she was a bit better. But it was the last resort. And she did the projectile vomitting a few times. Hope your little one is sorted out soon.
Yes, I would add that my baby has pretty much never been sick in her life, has always put on normal weight and has never shown any signs of illness at all - she is just a mardy little feeder. If you see signs of illness, of course, pursue your GP. X
Well the HV dismissed the mucous nappies, saying only to be concerned if there was blood, which I find a bit remiss. But trying to get what you want from anyone at the health centre is pointless the stress and trips would be worse than solving the problem IYSWIM. Ugh.
It broke my heart when I started to read this thread, no new mum should be made to feel so stressed about feeding that you feel your baby is better off with other people - so glad that things have started to improve hamncheese.
My son is 7 months and BF. Not had any issues with his milk feeding but when he was about 4 months old he got mucousy nappies which were a whole range of shades of green! I was really concerned he had a food allergy and cut various things out of my diet which didn't make any difference. I read that if BF babies feed little and often they tend to get more of the fore milk which is high in sugary lactose rather than the fat rich hind milk which comes later in the feed. The high levels of lactose can cause mucous. The green nappies did seem to correlate with DS feeding more frequently (warm weather made him thirsty). When feeding pattern went back to normal (every 3-4 hours during the day) the green mucous stopped.
Also, don't worry too much about your LO being happy by himself. Our son won't sleep when held/cuddled/rocked and is much more contented in his cot where he can stretch out and roll over. He will also play quite happily by himself and isn't bothered if it's mummy, daddy or ANother who picks him up. I am the envy of many of my friends to have such an independent baby - it seems like the grass is always greener!!
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