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What do you do when you know your baby is hungry but refusing to feed

(22 Posts)
GrannysLittlePickle Sun 18-Sep-11 10:55:43

I'm increasingly having this - I know she's grumpy and crying because she's hungry, but every time I offer the breast she pulls away and cries.

I end up having to walk around to try to distract her, with her mouth at nipple level in the hope she'll start to feed, realise she's hungry, then feed properly!

It's very frustrating, and I have to keep stopping myself from shoving her on and holding her there....

So... any pointers? She's 12 weeks and ebf (won't take a bottle or dummy)

tiktok Sun 18-Sep-11 13:06:15

What makes you certain she is hungry, though? Older babies do sometimes cry and if there's a struggle to get them to feed, they cry even more!

tiktok Sun 18-Sep-11 13:08:28

Grannyslittlepickle - you posted about this before...was it not the case that she was just signalling to you that she did not want to feed and got cross and frustrated because you were trying to make her do so?

You decided to follow her lead then and things seemed to be better. What's changed?

camdancer Sun 18-Sep-11 13:42:16

DD2 (3mo) was like that yesterday. Thinking back, I think she was just tired and didn't really know what to do with herself. She is changing so much at the moment that I keep misreading her signals. sad I seem to remember that happening with DS also a few times and it just takes a while for us to get back in sync.

eightyone Sun 18-Sep-11 13:49:53

You sound like me!

My son is similar age to your daughter and I try to feed him when he's grump and crying ....and he gets annoyed, like the others say I think he is not actually hungry but probably needing a nap instead.

He has become more of a snacker with age so it is sometimes hard to make myself acccept that he is not hungry epecially when he feeds for such a short time and then pulls away...I feel I have this need to keep feeding him iykwim!!

lilham Sun 18-Sep-11 13:53:23

Your little one is probably not hungry. When they get older they make it very clear when they aren't interested in feeding. Mine cries for all sorts. Tiredness, teething and the latest getting into the pool.

GrannysLittlePickle Sun 18-Sep-11 18:52:05

Sorry been out today.... OK so she's not hungry - I feel like I'm on AIBU! grin

I'll try again...

Thanks though people - I do appreciate it. smile

camdancer Sun 18-Sep-11 19:11:07

I think they go through some big developmental thing at 3mo. It seems that almost this week DD2 has changed from a newborn who just eats, sleeps and poos to a baby who wants to play and be entertained as well. It seems to have changed her eating and sleeping habits as well. <yawn> So you aren't alone not quite knowing what is happening.

That's the great thing about mn, someone is usually going through the same thing at the same time. smile

lilham Sun 18-Sep-11 19:55:33

Oh yes boredom grin. I cycle my DD through her different toy area - play gym, bouncy chair, high chair and the jumperoo. I also put her on a seat next to me on a chair when I cook or do housework. She whines a lot when she gets bored.

GrannysLittlePickle Tue 20-Sep-11 16:29:59

Right. I am convinced she IS hungry...

Today when I saw hungry cues (smacking lips, chewing hands, opens mouth in gape when lip touched and reaching to suck on finger) I offered the breast and if she refused I didn't try harder but left it.

She got increasingly upset, grumpy etc, but refused to feed more than a few sucks before crying, pulling away, arching her back etc.

She went 4 hours before I had had enough and did my usual pacing with nipple hanging out rocking her at nipple level. She eventually fed lots then was happy again.

So - what is the problem?

lilham Tue 20-Sep-11 16:39:59

Don't know every baby is different. If it's my DD it'd be because she's overtired, and maybe, hungry. But she also does a very jerky hand and leg movement when she's tired so it's easy to spot. Basically hitting her hands simultaneously very hard on her legs or stomach. My DH and I nick named it the haka grin.

When's the last time your DD slept? Mine gets tired around 2 hour after she wakes up.

MigGril Tue 20-Sep-11 16:48:20

Could be that at this age she's started teething. Maybe she is hungery but her mouth is uncoftable/soure gums. You could try teething gell or homopatic teething cyritals.

tiktok Tue 20-Sep-11 16:51:55

I can see it sounds puzzling....but from what you say here (and obv I was not there and obv I am not you!) I think she just wasn't hungry. She was crying and fussing for any one of 100 different other reasons.

Healthy, thriving 12 week old babies simply don't refuse the breast when hungry.

Honestly, it sounds like you are so concerned and so careful and sensitive to do the very best for her and this can make for a bit of stress that you both share. It also sounds as if you are still trying to 'get' her to feed - four hours of trying off and on winds up the stress levels, I think....'course by the end of 4 hours she was hungry smile

HoHoLaughingMonster Tue 20-Sep-11 17:18:15

My DD did this when she was hungry but had wind / reflux but I think she may have been younger than 3 months.

Midori1999 Tue 20-Sep-11 17:53:08

Sometimes I thik my DD is hungry and it seems like she is showing signs of being hungry, but she's tired. Usually I get her to sleep with some encouragement and then she'll feed straight afterwards.

GrannysLittlePickle Tue 20-Sep-11 17:59:03

lilham yes she sleeps about 2 hours after end of last nap - which is also when she tends to feed so I suppose I/she might have hunger/tiredness mixed up.

MigGril Yes she is teething! Could that be making her unwilling to feed? I can actually feel a sharp little something in her lower gum, and she likes me rubbing it - she'd too young to bring anything other than her hands to her mouth yet.

tiktok I appreciate your patience with me! grin I must try harder to be more laid back I suppose. If she doesn't want to feed I do get upset, and she is reacting to that.

HoHoLaughingMonster - well she just brought up a series of MASSIVE burps then fed like a starving thing so maybe it was wind....

tiktok Tue 20-Sep-11 18:06:12

Remaining calm and unpressured when she does not want to feed is key, I would guess, grannyslittlepickle.

She's healthy, she's thriving, she's normal, she knows when she wants to feed and when she doesn't (most of the time) and has no way of telling you, other than her crying, that she wants you to stop hassling her to latch on smile

eightyone Tue 20-Sep-11 20:59:46

My son 12 weeks is the same ....sucks on hand, mouth opens and shuts, tongue out. He looks hungry but when offered he gets irritated and starts fussing. I put it down to tiredness and get him settled for a nap which he usually ends up having, so this proves my tiredness theory correct most of the time.

Georgimama Tue 20-Sep-11 21:02:38

Wind? DD is only 8 weeks but won't feed (arches back/cries/pulls away) even if very hungry if she's got wind trapped.

GrannysLittlePickle Tue 20-Sep-11 21:12:34

Well we had success feeding in the sling tonight AFTER winding! She had a huge feed and went to sleep, and is still asleep (we've missed bathtime, and the usual screaming hour)... she is normally a crap sleeper in the evenings.

So..... it's wind/tiredness and don't get stressed... grin

MigGril Wed 21-Sep-11 21:05:05

There teeth do have a tendancy to 'move around' (a term the HV used) under the gums for some time before they actualy come through. This seem to bother some baby's and other just sprout teeth overnight without any problems.

If she like's the feel of you finger on her gum then something like a cold damp cloth mite be nice to.

And well done for not getting stressed :-). It really is easier not to over analyises and just try to go with the flow.

GrannysLittlePickle Sat 24-Sep-11 15:27:40

Update: a lot of what I thought were feeding cues are resolved by rubbing her gums! If she is hungry she is then feeding a lot more calmly....

Result: Happier baby and happier mum

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