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Help! Baby on nursing strike / yanking on nipple - might be teething?

(7 Posts)
LoobyLou33 Wed 20-Jul-11 22:32:46

I posted a couple of weeks ago about this and thought it had started to improve on Sunday but he's doing it again...has anyone had a similar experience?

DS is 11 weeks, mostly EBF (started on formula by cup in special care) and for the last two weeks has been very fussy feeding. He just about latches on but after a few minutes yanks back on the nipple, carries on sucking then comes off completely but doesn't look satisfied. He's obviously agitated, waving fists etc. and drinking aggressively. angry

It meant he was latching on really badly (after putting him back on several times during a feed and just taking any old latch because at least he was feeding) and I ended up with very sore nipples. That had just improved but today he's been doing it again and once again I'm ready to throw in the towel even though I really want to keep breastfeeding. sad I don't mind being patient and coaxing him back on the breast but I can't continue to take that level of soreness long term.

I've been told it could be thrush (treating for it though no real symptoms), teething (he is sucking his hands and dribbling for England and that only started at around the same time) or nipple confusion as we'd been giving him a few bottles a week of EBM - less than one a day. He's been taking a bottle for several weeks before the problem started.

Because he sometimes barely feeds on the breast we've ended up giving him EBM or formula just so he doesn't go hungry, even though I wanted to ban the bottle for a week in case it was the reason for all this.

Any ideas or similar cases? If it continues could I switch to feeding him EBM exclusively (goodness knows how he'll ever fall asleep without sucking on the boob though!!)

twinklegreen Thu 21-Jul-11 08:31:08

Have you spoken to a BFC in real life, or had anyone trained in BF observe a feed? I think this would be helpful.

It might be that he is getting frustrated when the flow of the milk slows down, then giving up before the next let down happens. you might find that breast compression helps. There are several videos on youtube that show you how to do this.

Sorry your having a hard time sad

LoobyLou33 Thu 21-Jul-11 09:13:04

hi thanks twinklegreen yes I've been to two breastfeeding clinics - the first one was very busy and no one could sit and watch the whole feed, though they did help me improve the latch. And in fact after starting off fussing, he fed OK when I switched breasts (which sometimes helps but doesn't tend to make a huge difference).

By the second clinic on Tues he'd stopped fussing but my nipples were still terribly sore which is why I went , and I got some more help latching him on properly but he fed normally without fussing so they couldn't see what he'd been doing (like I said, it did improve for a few days earlier this week).

I suppose it could be the let-down...why would he suddenly start fussing over that? He fed fine for almost 2 months!

Also if it is teething what can I do about it? I've been using a bit of anbesol but hasn't made any difference.

twinklegreen Thu 21-Jul-11 09:33:14

Because around this time you milk production starts to change slightly from being produced constantly and stored in breasts ready for next feed to being produced as the baby starts to suckle, which can alter the pattern/speed of the let down slightly.

It means that you milk supply is becoming more established. Many women find that the feeling of engorgement subsides around this point and breasts return to feeling 'normal' again.

It may not be the cause of the problem, but it's worth giving breast compressions A try when he first starts to fuss, it might not work but there's no harm in trying smile

It may be that his gums are beginning to harden, which might be making him chomp down. I always found the herbal teething powders quite good. But I'm no expert as my lo's haven't got their first teeth until 1 year old, and it hasn't bothered them that much.

LoobyLou33 Sun 24-Jul-11 18:34:41

thanks twinklegreen I have tried breast compressions but not sure it's worked - certainly not when he's being very fussy but perhaps when he's just a bit fussy. I'm going to get along to the clinic again on tuesday where they have more time and a lactation consultant so hopefully i'll some advice there. I think you could be right about slow-flow but don't know what to do - he just comes off the nipple and won't go back on so I'm concerned he's not getting proper feeds.

TheRealMBJ Sun 24-Jul-11 19:00:39

Hi Looby do I remember you from your previous threads? smile

I just wanted to second what twinkle has said it can be quite common for babies to go through this type of fussy period around now because they are getting frustrated at having to wait for the let-down. They usually do 'grow out' of out of it in a couple of weeks as they mature and get more patient. It can help to try breast compressions as soon as baby is latched on and starts suckling but before he starts to get frustrated, or try to express a little (by hand or pump) before latching him on so that he gets an instant reward.

Personally, I found that it helped to feed DS just as he was drifting off to sleep as he was a lot more patient then, so it might be worth a try?

LoobyLou33 Thu 28-Jul-11 09:59:32

hi Real yes you remember me smile I posted about the same thing a few weeks ago. Good advice about the sleepiness - I must have read that somewhere else and it definitely helps if he's sleepy not rabidly alert/hungry!

Hopefully he will "grow out" of it as it's been a pain - literally!

I'll try the compressions as soon as he gets on - it hasn't tended to work once he's already frustrated. Good news is he's generally been better since yesterday, just fussy once in the afternoon on the right boob not the left. A bf counsellor suggested just keeping on offering but in different ways, e.g. other breast, different position, different room, with a bit of time in between if he's getting annoyed. Persistance seems to work eventually! I'm also stopping the bottle in case that's contributed but do hope we can go back onto it because being able to express has been so useful.

Thanks folks I'll let you know if it improves!

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