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Feeding strike - hand holding and success stories please!

(11 Posts)
blueberrypudding Sun 15-Jun-14 14:46:33

Posted previously under a different title but the situation has now evolved and so was hoping for more advice!

My almost twelve week old has nearly stopped feeding entirely. She was EBF but a few days ago started being fussy at the breast and arching away. Two days ago she started refusing the breast entirely, crying even when I put her in a position to feed (sitting, lying down, across from me, everything).

On the first day she took a few ounces of formula from a bottle but yesterday refused that entirely too. She didn't have anything from 7am till about 3pm when we managed to force feed her EBM using a tippy cup. We've been feeding her that way since but she's not had many wet/dirty nappies.

I managed to get her to feed from the breast while she was asleep/very sleepy at night by offering a dummy, then pulling it out and replacing it with breast, but she won't do the same thing while she's awake, just screams.

I've been expressing every three hours to mimic her usual feeds. Every HCP we've seen has said it could be a virus and just to wait it out and give her whatever she will take however she will take it.

I'm so worried about her (she's lost quite a bit of weight in the past couple of days) and also devastated that this might be the end of breastfeeding for us. I was getting really tired and stressed by BFing but didn't realise how much I loved it until this happened and I thought it might be the end.

I keep trying to offer her the breast and getting skin to skin with no pressure and will try to persevere. My DH remarked yesterday though that he can't see her ever going back to BFing as she seems traumatised every time I offer.

Does anyone have any success stories/advice about going back to BFing after extended nursing strikes?

Thanks to the mums who have given advice already!

Goldmandra Sun 15-Jun-14 20:30:30

Both of mine did this for a few days at a similar age. I still have no idea why. The way they screamed and arched back you would swear they were in severe pain. It was really distressing.

The good news is that I persevered both times as neither would take a bottle, they both got over it quite quickly and continue to bf until their third birthdays.

They were born nearly six years apart so I can't imagine it was anything environmental.

I hope your baby gets over it very soon too.

AttitudeOfGratitude Sun 15-Jun-14 20:59:51

Blueberry I haven't seen your previous post but have you had your LO checked for a posterior tongue tie? I had similar issues with my DS starting at 10 weeks and after seeing a lactation consultant he was diagnosed with this and we had it snipped. Subsequently I was also diagnosed with over supply (apparently the two can go hand in hand) as the cause of continuing problems. I was instructed to do block feeding for several days and following this the change was remarkable after almost two months of very difficult and lengthy feeds. DS is now 22 weeks and still EBF. Obviously it may not be this but it's worth ruling it out. Just a word of caution, a lot of doctors refuse to see tt as a problem and will simply advise giving formula. Make sure you see a LC who specialises in tt. If you don't have the cash to do this privately you may be able to find one at a local bf clinic. Good luck, I hope you find a solution to your problem. I know how heartbreaking it can be as you only want what's best for your baby.

AttitudeOfGratitude Sun 15-Jun-14 21:02:18

Sorry, meant to say that the over supply is an issue as they can't cope with the fast flow, esp with tt. They may choke and splutter and it can make them reluctant to feed. This was my experience.

blueberrypudding Sun 15-Jun-14 22:49:39

Hi Attitude - she does have a tongue tie - diagnosed at birth but deemed not a problem. We finally got a referral from our HV but the wait for the appointment has been 8 weeks (it's due this Friday). How did you coax your LO back on the breast after the snip?

blueberrypudding Sun 15-Jun-14 22:52:23

Hi Goldmandra, how did you convince them to feed? She seems to be feeling better and is taking EBM. My problem at the moment is that she does take a bottle and seems to prefer that/sippy cup to breast, and in our desire to replenish her fluids we haven't tried to force the issue. Also reluctant to associate BFing with force feeding for her!

Goldmandra Sun 15-Jun-14 23:04:47

how did you convince them to feed?

It was quite some time ago but I think I changed position so that the arching moved their bodies away from me rather than their heads and just kept offering. It was probably easier for me because they weren't taking any other nutrition so were getting very hungry.

IIRC they both kept snatching off the latch several times every feed for a while and I had to hold their heads quite firmly while they latched on again but, once they had, they relaxed again.

I'm feeling quite tearful even thinking about it. It was such a stressful time, although the second time round I was a bit less worried, having overcome it once. I really feel for you.

HVB79 Sun 15-Jun-14 23:14:39

My DD did a lot of the arching/pulling off at a similar age. It was very stressful but we kept trying and she is still BF now at 16 months. Sorry I can't remember anything in particular we did differently, although think I bought a proper BF cushion at that stage which helped. Hope it works out for you!

AttitudeOfGratitude Mon 16-Jun-14 00:42:52

Our LC said that not all tt babies will develop feeding problems as some cope well but a lot do and more and more often it is being diagnosed late after feeding problems develop (not being part of the new baby checks at birth). The only 'problem' I would say we had prior to 10 weeks was fairly lengthy feeds and bad wind - in hindsight most likely related. I imagine that because the head grows so much after birth it can become tighter in the mouth although in other babies it may stretch slightly? Who knows but I wish ours had been diagnosed much earlier as it would have saved a lot of upset. I had never heard of posterior tt before, only the more obvious condition.

He was fairly distressed immediately after the procedure and it took a short while to soothe him and calm him down enough to bf but there was v little blood. During that first feed he was still a little upset and 'fumbly' for want of a better word. The upset did not last long thank goodness (it was awful for me and DH) and we had smiles back a little later that afternoon when he was absolutely fine. Feeding can take some time to improve as they need to relearn how to latch correctly. I suggest you get help from a LC or a local bf clinic. Also worth checking your supply as we had continuing issues due to my tendency to over supply. Once that was resolved feeding was absolutely fine, such a relief.

LearningAsIGoMummy Mon 16-Jun-14 18:34:20

I feel your pain, we've just been there.
About 3 weeks ago, my now 15wk old DD started screaming when I tried to feed her. It was as though as soon as I put her in position to feed, she'd scream, or sometimes take one suck then scream. She started going 6hrs between feeds during the day, and had dry nappies too. She appeared in pain when trying to feed, but could lie flat on the changing mat, playing or in the bath no problem. Her growth slowed a bit, I was so worried, and ended up at the GP. We'd tried everything possible for colic but ended up considering reflux or dairy intolerance.
The GP prescribed gaviscon last week, and after about 3 days, DD was a changed child. We have our happy baby back. She's now a feeding monster. My milk supply had reduced due to her feeding less, so I'm struggling to keep up with her at the mo. I know that'll resolve in the next few days.
Hang in there, I know how hard it is. Maybe consider reflux as a cause too. DD hadn't been affected by reflux before, and I thought it was a strange age to develop symptoms, but the treatment has made a massive difference so it's definitely what the problem was.

Lovelydiscusfish Mon 16-Jun-14 21:31:07

My dd had a few shorter nursing strikes around this age. It is very stressful, isn't it? The only thing that helped was to take my top off, sit up and hold her across my body, and feed her in the dark. No idea why! Good luck - hope it works out for you.

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