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newborn frightened of breast. breastfeeding tantrum

(21 Posts)
cheekbyjowl Tue 16-Jul-13 08:41:49

ds is 4 days old. over last two days he is throwing the most almighty tantrums when I try to get feed. he roots beforehand but when I offer him the breast...sometimes even before he tries it...he kicks and murder. tried lots of different ways to hold him but it might take up to two hours before he latches. it's as if the very site of it scares him..any ideas?

cheekbyjowl Tue 16-Jul-13 08:42:34

sight..sorry. typing on phone with one eye open

Kveta Tue 16-Jul-13 08:48:06

congratulations on the new arrival!

at 4 days old, terror or tantrums at the breast seem unlikely tbh. Have you had him checked for tongue tie? and did you have a particularly difficult birth (thinking forceps or similar)? is he peeing/pooing ok?

also, has your milk come in yet?

I think it might be worth your while to try calling a helpline for immediate assistance - LLL is on 0845 120 2918, and breastfeeding network is on 0300 330 5469

in the mean time, many mums find 'biological nurturing' helps them a lot - so basically, you strip baby to nappy, and let him lie on your bare chest, and he roots for the nipple and latches himself on.

hope he feeds well soon, and lets you relax and enjoy him smile

littleoaktree Tue 16-Jul-13 08:49:35

Has your milk come in yet? Ds2 was a bit like this on day 3 when the milk hadn't come in. I think it was just frustration that there wasn't much there - as soon as it came in he was fine (and is still bf 14mths later).

Try calling one of the helplines - NCT or La Leche League
for advice. Or is your MW helpful with bf?

I would have thought it's v v unlikely that he's scared of your breast, it's warm and comforting and smells of you - there's something else going on.

CreatureRetorts Tue 16-Jul-13 08:52:33

Maybe it's too late ie he's so hungry he's gotten upset. Not really a tantrum wink

Keep him with you as much as possible so you can slip him onto the boob as soon as he does that lip licking thing. Stay calm and get him into position. Is he head butting? That's him trying to find the nipple but bear in mind he's so little he doesn't have the ability to calmly do it once he's so hungry.

It might be worth going to a BF drop in and they can help you with positions etc. hands on help is much much better I found.

Passmethecrisps Tue 16-Jul-13 08:56:12


I have heard of this happening after a very traumatic birth and a heavy handed midwife 'helping' and causing real pain.

It doesn't sound like this is the case.

I second having LO checked for lip and tongue tie.

ThisIsYourSong Tue 16-Jul-13 09:14:50

Congrats on your baby, lots of good advice here.

You could also try a cranial osteopath if you think it's birth trauma.

Do you have other DCs to look after? If not, take to bed or somewhere comfy and stay there, offering the breast at every opportunity. Have you tried feeding him whilst he's asleep or sleepy?

cheekbyjowl Tue 16-Jul-13 10:27:09

thank you. I didn't know there were helplines. I will call them. my milk has come in and boobs are leaking so seems to be enough. he was born by emcs , not sure if traumatic but first feed was from bottle as,I was out for the count and subsequent feeds have been from the breast...which he,takes but with a fight.

I was given two varying bits of advice on bf. one midwife had a gentle approach of positioning nipple below nose etc the second midwife insisted on grabbing a handful of boob and placing in his mouth to make sure he's not just getting the nipple. the latter is certainly effective for latching but not very gentle... I'm also aware I might be winching when he grabs so I need to be careful I'm not putting pressure on him and stressing him. thanks for the advice xx

Hawkmoth Tue 16-Jul-13 10:31:46

My DD was like this at this point... She has calmed down now. I tried putting a finger in her mouth while she was close to the breast. She sucked a bit and stopped thrashing and screaming, then I swapped to nipple. It was very hard though, was like a rabid monkey.

cheekbyjowl Tue 16-Jul-13 12:56:57

I called nct helpline and they advised letting him find the breast on his own accord after time skin to skin and it seemed to workslj better so will keep trying that today and see if it is,less stressful for him than trying to position him. thank you again. I love mumsnet smile

Poppet45 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:15:16

Hes too young for tantrums... But like most mothering it could take some detective work. It could be a sore head from his birth, it could be nipple confusion because of the early bottle orit could be the start of reflux. If he has problems with cows milk protein which causes most silent reflux then he will smell it in your milk from dairy products in your diet so he will be hungry but unwilling to drink something he knows is going to hurt his tummy.

tiktok Tue 16-Jul-13 15:18:44

Glad you got good help, cheekbyjowl. I agree - this is not tantrums and it is not being scared of the breast. It is almost certainly a reaction to heavy-handed positioning from the midwife, and the subsequent struggles and tension he has experienced since.

Taking all the tension away and letting him self-attach stops these memories and bad associations very quickly smile smile

You might want to make a complaint about your care in hospital. There is hardly ever any need for a bottle even when a mother is still zonked - gentle hand expressing done by a midwife can get the colostrum, and given to the baby by spoon or cup is the answer. The sort of 'breast grabbing' you experienced is known to be poor practice and midwives who understand about bf do not do it.

tiktok Tue 16-Jul-13 15:21:12

Poppet, I don't think there is any evidence that a newborn baby is capable of smelling traces of cows milk protein in the colostrum/breastmilk, or that even an allergic baby would have the understanding to know at this age that he would be in pain from bf. If you know of this evidence, please share....but I will be surprised smile

MissAntithetic Tue 16-Jul-13 15:25:43

Could your let down be startling baby?
Try feeding in a laid back position

Also when my milk came in baby struggled to latch on, I found expressing a bit first to reduce the football appearance helped!

Wishfulmakeupping Tue 16-Jul-13 15:26:27

Good to hear the helpline were fab- they were so helpful when I was havibg problems feeding dd honestly were wonderful cant praise them enough! smile

rundontwalk Tue 16-Jul-13 15:38:24

Lots of good suggestions above. My first baby was a lot like this. In his case he had a v traumatic birth,low muscle tone & a shell shocked mum. He was also quite small. So all of these things were a factor & there was no easy answer. I did find lots of skin to skin (including in a warm bath) helped. The website kellymom is also good for info. Do you have any support groups in your local children's centre (your midwife should be able to help)? Or breastfeeding support workers? Keep asking for help.

Poppet45 Tue 16-Jul-13 18:45:15

I only have tricksy anecdotal evidence Tiktok. Two babies with the most acute cmpi I've observed shied away from the breast at birth and both had need of omeprazole within the week. I think as well as the delayed milk allergy form of cmpi which manifests over the classic colic timescale there is an acute form.

cheekbyjowl Tue 16-Jul-13 23:52:38

missantithetic a laid back approach has worked. spent most of the day in a chair with him and hes fed really well this evening. phew! long may it last. the next trick will be finding out if he will latch on sitting.upright too but we can take our time over that. xx

tiktok Wed 17-Jul-13 09:19:01

Ah, poppet - 'tricksy anecdotal evidence' favourite wink.

Newborn babies can appear very reluctant to take the breast and can fight against it - there are lots and lots of possible and credible reasons for this, and knowing what it is in the breasts is, I would say, the least likely reason. It is possible that a newborn doing this may also turn out to be cmpi.

Not saying it is literally 100 per cent impossible as a cause, of course....

curlew Wed 17-Jul-13 09:24:43

"I only have tricksy anecdotal evidence Tiktok"

Interesting that you presented it as fact.

What an incredibly irresponsible thing to do- particularly on a thread where people new to breast feeding might be looking for proper information.

mamabrownbear Wed 17-Jul-13 09:25:08

I had problems too and saw "the booby specialist" at our local hospital who helped no end but the break through was the nipple shields she gave me. Since then no problems with latching on and a very happy breast fed baby and happy me. Only downside is I don't feel comfortable BF in public with them so we take bottles when out and about but she happily takes both so win win. Good luck and the break through will come. Try nipple shields...x

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