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Baby won't feed and I make him cry

(46 Posts)
hamncheese Mon 03-Dec-12 07:49:21

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,

jetstar Mon 03-Dec-12 07:57:06

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) smile

BedHog Mon 03-Dec-12 07:58:42

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?

tiktok Mon 03-Dec-12 09:12:58

hamncheese, this is so sad for you sad

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.

Rosa Mon 03-Dec-12 09:29:01

Agree with what others have 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 .

tiktok Mon 03-Dec-12 09:35:38

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.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 03-Dec-12 09:35:57

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

hamncheese Mon 03-Dec-12 09:41:03

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.

LadyKinbote Mon 03-Dec-12 09:41:51

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...

LadyKinbote Mon 03-Dec-12 09:45:23

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 smile

tiktok Mon 03-Dec-12 10:07:07

It's shame you have lost confidence in your HV sad

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 sad 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.

tiktok Mon 03-Dec-12 10:07:47

I meant go with your partner to the doc so you are seeing him/her together.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 03-Dec-12 10:56:36

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 grin.

Hope you find a solution.

hamncheese Mon 03-Dec-12 10:58:32

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.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 03-Dec-12 11:20:36

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.

tiktok Mon 03-Dec-12 11:33:25

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?

hamncheese Mon 03-Dec-12 11:45:28

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.

IceNoSlice Mon 03-Dec-12 11:48:29

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

hamncheese Mon 03-Dec-12 12:07:22

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?

tiktok Mon 03-Dec-12 12:08:29

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 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 sad

Djembe Mon 03-Dec-12 12:22:14

<unmumsetty hugs>

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 wink

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.

IceNoSlice Mon 03-Dec-12 16:37:01

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

Fishlegs Mon 03-Dec-12 20:35:20

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

BonzoDooDah Mon 03-Dec-12 20:53:46

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))

Loislane78 Mon 03-Dec-12 21:10:38

Hey ham poor you and little Sandy, sorry to hear you're having a rough time sad

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.

GL smile

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