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Breast refusal at 18 weeks, what to do??

(14 Posts)
Aboxofmaltesers Mon 04-Nov-13 11:45:12

I BF my DS for a year before weaning him off as I returned to shift work but he never refused the breast (quite the opposite, fed ALOT and was on 98th centile!) so I'm at a loss as what do do about DD refusing to feed.

Last thursday was a bit fussy and wouldn't feed when we were out, I thought it might be related to the noise and distraction but she has continued to be difficult to feed and unsettled. Screams when I put her to the breast, has a few sucks, comes off cries again, looks for the breast, goes on, has a few sucks, comes off and cries etc etc. I've tried massaging the breast to encourage a faster let down when she goes on which sometimes works, and she often eventually feeds after about 30 mins of distressing thrashing about and crying although I'm not convinced she is feeding that well even when she is on. Last night resorted to a formula bottle which she took without any problem, so totally soul destroying! She woke a couple of hours later and so i co slept with her and she fed loads overnight without much problem but this morning we are back to screaming and on/off boob loads despite feeding her in the quiet of out own home.

Plenty of wet and dirty yellow nappies, fontanelle ok. Bit of snot but no temp. Has been chewing on her hands loads for a fortnight so tried some bongela to no avail. Also gave calpol last night and this morning incase its teething pain or something else.

What to do next? Im crap at pumping so cant get anywhere enough to ffed her or even maintain my previously good supply if this continues.
Any ideas please?? Thanks.

Aboxofmaltesers Mon 04-Nov-13 14:59:34

Anybody??? sad

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 04-Nov-13 15:01:15

Is there a bfing support group you can get to box? Sorry I'm not trained and don't know what to say, but hopefully this will bump for you smile

Aboxofmaltesers Tue 05-Nov-13 09:29:27

Another bad night, got a doctors appointment for this evening to rule out any medical reason for the difficulty/lack of feeding. Anybody got any words of wisdom to keep me going today?? sad

Creamtea1 Tue 05-Nov-13 09:35:58

Didn't want to see you with no replies - the only thing I can offer is that my ds and my now 7 weeks dd does this (crying, thrashing, few sucks, off, crying etc) and she only does it when she is over tired. Ds was the same. As you say, during the night when sleepy or when just having woken up from good nap then no problems.
Also noticed she can do it when she is actually not hungry and I'm probably trying to comfort feed her - then I will cuddle/rock and she will fall asleep.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 05-Nov-13 09:36:38

When DS (22wks) has been fussy I've found feeding the instant he wakes up can be helpful. A bit like at night, they're too groggy for their mind to get in the way iyswim?

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 05-Nov-13 09:37:52


AuntieJu Tue 05-Nov-13 10:46:04

Try looking at this page on kellymom

I found this very useful when my DS was doing similar at about the same age. I think it was caused by fast let down - he would take ages to be coaxed to the breast, then when he eventually went on he'd suck for about 20 sucks, I'd feel my letdown and then he'd come off spluttering. And wouldn't go back on.

I used to have to get him nearly to sleep, then take out his dummy and shove the nipple in quickly. This usually worked - eventually. I decided to only offer one breast per feeding to try and reduce the let down, but be careful as this can reduce supply so you need to be sure of the cause before you do this.

Hope that helps. It's so hard and you're doing great - remember 'this too shall pass'.

MisterSafetyCatchIsNotOn Tue 05-Nov-13 12:02:41

I had this twice with ds, after the 3 month and 4 month jabs. It lasted about a week each time then gradually improved, I feel for you as it was an absolute nightmare and every attempt used to leave both of us in tears, but it was relatively short lived and we are still feeding at 16 months and all is mostly calm (although currently having a similar issue but I will post about that separately so as not to hijack).

After the second time I came to the conclusion that he had a slightly upset tummy caused probably by the jabs and that was what caused his reluctance to feed. I think teething or ear infections can have a similar effect as sucking becomes painful, sometimes reflux as well. I did take him to the doctor's but unless there is an obvious ear infection or something it's very difficult for them to tell and we always just got a 'non-specific viral infection' diagnosis which wasn't that helpful.

The way we dealt with it was by trying not to force the issue so as not to make it too stressful, but just feeding when he was a bit distracted / sleepy. I used to feed just after naps, early morning and dream feed at night as it worked best when he was half asleep. I also tried different positions, lying down often worked for example. At one stage I literally had to feed standing up bouncing around the room and singing to keep him going, not something that works very well out and about but I was just desperate to get some milk in him! I also tried using a feeding cushion to make him as comfortable as possible which seemed to help sometimes but not others, basically it was a bit of trial and error every day to find ways to encourage him without him getting too stressed. The dummy trick mentioned above sometimes worked as well, if she uses a dummy just wait until she is sleepy, bring her close to the breast and then whip the dummy out and pop the nipple in. Co-sleeping also helped especially to keep my supply up.

It's important though to stop if she is getting very stressed (and no doubt you are too) and take a breather. Let her calm down, express in to a cup if you can (or bottle if she will take one) and give it that way so she is not so starving / frustrated and try again a bit later. Just keep offering regularly, lots of skin to skin contact too if you can.

I know it's so stressful when they refuse the breast and I felt so rejected, when my one usually fail safe method of comforting just sent him in to meltdown. It feels like it is lasting for ever, but hopefully it will pass in a few days at most, just do what you can to get through it with minimal stress. If you need to - express as much as you can and give formula to get through the days without feeling guilty, it's unlikely to permanently impact your supply at this stage if it's just for a few days. Feed as much as possible while sleepy at night which will also maintain your supply and try to stay as calm as possible as she will pick up on your stress. I'm sure that, like my ds, it is just a bug or something and you'll be back on track soon.

Good luck!

Aboxofmaltesers Tue 05-Nov-13 13:22:45

Thanks so much to you all. It's really heartening that you managed to successfully feed through it, my worst fear is that this is the beginning of the end. Have successfully tried the dummy near asleep slip the nipple in trick just now and she is feeding well. Fingers crossed. Having to stay in at the moment as I've spend most of the morning topless in the hope naked cuddles would help, a small price to pay, although my toddler is now getting cabin fever! Just to pile on the guilt, I'm ignoring him whilst trying to feed DD. A bit of TV is making him feel better, on the upside, he's managed several solo wees without mummy 'holding the willy'. Another thread in itself!
Mr, Mrs and Auntie you all have provided great advice. flowers

Aboxofmaltesers Tue 05-Nov-13 13:23:38

And cream too, thanks

ProudMum28 Wed 06-Nov-13 00:03:15

OP, I've just gone through that same period!

Last Tuesday my DD had her jabs and from Wed to Sat she just continuously refused to feed (whereas she usually loves it and is EBF).

Every feed was just a masive struggle, she would cry, trash around and then I would end up crying more than her as I felt useless and rejected (being a first time mummy and having no experience).
I even ended up taking her to OOH just to rule out any medical problems, and the doctor said it's the healthiest baby he has seen all day.
Reassuringly, Sunday morning came and we were back to feeding every 1.5 - 2 hours which may be exhausting but I was over the moon!

However, during those four days I figured that the best time for me to feed her was right after her naps as well as dream feed her and this was mostly in laying down position.

My advise to you would be, as long as your LO is feeling fine, no temp and producing plenty of wet/dirty nappies, persevere and this nursing strike will soon come to an end!

Good luck to you and I hope it all goes back to normal soon.

Aboxofmaltesers Wed 06-Nov-13 18:14:13

Thanks proud .I went to GP last night, and as i suspected, 'viral bug'. That said, today seems a little bit better, as in it is taking less time and thrashing around screaming to eventually feed. I hope it continues to get better. But her next jabs are next week!!! Eeeeck, couldn't cope with doing all this again!

ProudMum28 Wed 06-Nov-13 23:07:43

Aww, bless your little DD, good luck with the jabs next week and just try to remain positive. If needed, have a small break, give her to your DP even for 5 minutes just to calm down, because if you are anxious she can sense it on you.

Remember that by breastfeeding her you are giving her the best start in life, it all seems much easier then smile.

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