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12 wk old screaming at breast and I have NO idea what I'm doing in so many ways..,

(41 Posts)
ilovetosleep Thu 10-Jul-14 10:39:01

I am sat here in floods of tears so please bear with me if I waffle or go on a bit.

We have had various problems - painful start, TT that was cut, grew back and re cut, not sure of current status but good movement of tongue. I have battled with fast let down/oversupply and also DS is not a particularly hungry baby.

Despite this he has maintained 75th-91st centile so we've been doing ok.

But the last week or so he just screams at the boob and I think I have made it much much worse by trying to force him on in desperation. I am so scared I have given him an aversion that we won't be able to overcome sad although he feeds brilliantly at night, having gone from 1-2 night feeds to 4. I am exhausted.

When he was little, feeds were difficult so I prompted him every 2 hrs rather than waiting for hunger signs, and he has never been able to aim and latch himself, I have to do a manouver to get the nipple in! So I now feel like I don't know him at all and wouldn't know if he was hungry or not. Also, time has flown so fast that I haven't thought about the fact that he probably doesn't need feeds as often as every 2 hours. So I have been offering and he keeps refusing. It's got to the point now where he screams as soon as I put him in the cradle position, even if I think he is starving. He takes a few sucks if I can get him on, screams at the let down and then won't go back on. Even though I am sure he is hungry. Then of course he has a little fire milk, enough to tide him over, but he's never getting a good long feed in. God knows what its doig to my supply. I have been known try and hold him on by holding him really firmly and I think this has scared him sad can't begin to explain how bad I feel. Bf with ds1 was such a lovely experience and this is just a battle.

He woke at 7 today and has only fed for about 2 mins on one side so far, at about 8am when he went to sleep for a nap. At about 10, he started crying, I thought he might be hungry, offered the boob and he latched on initially but kept pulling off. he did this about 3 times before getting hysterical at the mere sight of my nipple and now he has fallen asleep in my arms. He probably drank a very small amount.

I just so want him to feed but maybe he just doesn't need that much milk. I am also extremely anxious that he appears to be reverse cycling as I am beyond tired and ds1 is missing out as I'm just an exhausted wreck. So I'm caught up in the idea of tanking him up in the day but that obviously isn't working.

I just don't know what to do. I suppose a long period of skin to skin might be an idea but that's hard with a toddler around as well. I need to get on with day to day life. Should I just not feed him until he's starving? How would I even know if he's starving? Wait 3 hours?

DS sees nothing comforting about bf with me and it makes me feel so sad sad can we over come this?

sausagefortea Thu 10-Jul-14 11:48:37

I found BF a struggle and got really good advice and a lovely understanding cup of tea from my NHS lactation group. They were very non judgemental about anything I mentioned (giving up, whatever) and were just really supportive. I don't really know any good advice myself as to your situation, although maybe sounds like he's getting his nights and days mixed up and getting hungry during the night instead? Don't know how to fix it except for trying to eek it out - which I know is much easier said than done. It will straighten itself out though at some point and get better (probably not helpful either?!) and you will get through the other side! brew cake

sausagefortea Thu 10-Jul-14 11:51:51

Another thing....could it be colic or reflux? Mine had reflux (and a TT) and he tried to feed and then bobbed off? Think colic and reflux peaks at 12 weeks.

ilovetosleep Thu 10-Jul-14 21:32:25

Thanks for replying... Not uk and not a lot of RL support unfortunately.

I had thought about reflux but he doesn't seemto be in pain, he's fine as soon as I move him away from the breast. I did get a couple of good feeds in today but only by latching him on as he woke from naps, so really sleepy. He just doesn't seem to like feeding when he's awake sad

Hedgehogging Fri 11-Jul-14 20:20:24

Just a suggestion but I kept a little record of when my DD (10 weeks) was napping and feeding over a few days as I felt we were totally chaotic and I was never sure which she was-hungry or tired. (Lots of fussing and pulling angrily off the breast at times.)

I could see from that that she did have her own little eat/activity/sleep cycle. I now feed her just after she wakes from a nap when she's relaxed and not overstimulated, and I know about 60/90 mins later when she starts fussing it's time for another nap, whereas before I probably would have offered her boob and triggered a small meltdown!

Not sure if this is of any use to you but I do know that feeling of rising panic that you have absolutely no idea where you are with your LO. Trying to figure out a pattern helped for me thanks

Jemimabelle Fri 11-Jul-14 20:37:44

My son did this at about the same age and it was so stressful. When he was screaming and not latching on or coming off very quickly I tried giving a dummy instead and he would often fall asleep instantly, then have a good feed when he woke up. It's hard to know for sure, but I think I was misreading his tired signs for hunger, and almost force feeding him when all he wanted to do was sleep. He also seemed to go from feeding 2 hourly to 3 hourly, and once I accepted that, he became much calmer. He's 16 weeks now and still will rarely feed to sleep, seems to get comfort and to sleep easier with his dummy. It hasn't caused him any problems with feeding and weight gain though, and has maintained his 91st centile line. Totally different from DS1, who would feed any time I offered, and used my breast for comfort and sleepy feeding.

GenuinelyMaryMacguire Fri 11-Jul-14 20:43:56

Check for thrush in the back of the throat.
Rub with ice to make the nipples a good shape for latching.
He doesn't need to drink a lot, little and often will be fine. Still aim for 2 hourly round the clock, though left to his own devices he'd probably have a few sucks every 20 minutes. If you can safely 'wear him' (as they say nowadays - I believe) at the breast do so, and let him suck at will.
If he's refusing, there's a reason. I was a bf counsellor many years ago - thrush was a common reason, blocked nose, milk flow faster than s/he would like, a myriad of simple things and one even being ASD (diagnosed at 2ish) and not being comfortable with the extreme contact (solved by lying next to baby while he fed).
You've a toddler already so I won't bore you by going through all the positions for feeding but trying a range of them helps.
Don't try to starve him into feeding though, as that will just make things worse. Little and often.
Three months, you know, its only the start of bfg. People think they should have 'got it right' by then, but you're still learning about each other.
Good luck.

[GMM sits back and waits for the usual MN abuse. Go for it. What do I care?]

Phalarope Fri 11-Jul-14 20:46:46

How are you getting on today? Just wanted to add to the other posters, that it may be that he's sometimes tired rather than hungry. If he's feeding well when he wakes from his naps then that sounds like a good time to offer a feed. My DD didn't really give me any hunger signs from around this age, so I started just offering when she woke - it helped me see when she was more likely to be tired than hungry, and cut down on those screamy on-off wriggly feeds.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 11-Jul-14 20:51:08

Could he be ill? Mine are always very fussy when sick.

girliefriend Fri 11-Jul-14 20:54:32

I would say 2 hrly is prob too often, my dd would never have fed 2 hrly - she was also not a very hungry baby and could eaisly go 3 to 4 hours between feeds.

I would roughly have an idea of times to offer a feed (maybe 3 hrly from 7am) but don't panic of he isn't bothered. Am guessing he has probably picked up on your anxiety which is making things worse.

If he is off all feeds maybe get him checked by dr just to rule out any physical problem.

girliefriend Fri 11-Jul-14 20:57:15

I know its not the done thing on mn but my dd slept and fed better when I put a routine in place (<whispers> I loosely followed The contented baby book) without which I undoubtedly would have lost my sanity grin

ilovetosleep Fri 11-Jul-14 22:27:27

Thanks you all for replying. Today had been much better as I have offered him feeds as he wakes from naps which has been roughly every 3 hours. I think I must have been trying to force feed him! And this afternoon he was quite angry about an hour after feeding so I offered and he took it! I think I really need to focus on getting to understand his cues. Definitely I often confuse tiredness for hunger. I spend so much time getting on with life and ds1 that I really don't feel like I have got to know ds2 well enough sad

I think keeping a log over the weekend might help my sanity, I'd love to suss out some sort of routine if possible. Much as I would love to keep winging it, I think I'm a bit of a control freak. But in theory, I much prefer the idea of leaving him to make all the decisions. I'd dearly love to be able to wear him close and let him feed as he wants, but I'm too obsessed with getting enough sleep for that. I am utterly sleep deprived and miserable because of it.

GMM, why would you get abuse for that post? It was very helpful and I think I will get him checked for thrush anyway.

Hedgehogging Fri 11-Jul-14 22:51:18

I know exactly what you mean OP- I kept a log because I have an obsessive need to be organised and after 2 (admittedly lovely) months of ditching the clock and just embracing the flow, I was starting to itch. I felt like it gave me back control even though, in reality, I was just noting what DD was doing and thereby being able to predict it a bit. Basically it's how control freaks do "baby led" grin
Oh, the odd glass of this helps too wine.

Hedgehogging Fri 11-Jul-14 22:55:12

Oh and I still keep a daily log even though I have cracked her routine a bit, because otherwise I constantly forget what time she last fed/napped etc. Plus it makes me feel efficient and allows me to confidently (ish) say to DP "no I'm pretty sure she's not hungry- see entry X- so you can continue to hold her while I go to the loo in peace".

tiktok Sat 12-Jul-14 08:03:07

It doesn't sound as if there is anything 'wrong' - this sounds exactly as you have worked out yourself, you and your baby are getting communication a little awry and he prob does not like being fed to the clock. All easily sorted smile

Babies of this age are different from newborns. It is really common that they take what they need in short bursts. They are interested in the world around them and are easily distracted, too. Your supply will be FINE and will cope with this.

I don't think it is colic or thrush - Mary, thrush is now known to be far less of a problem when bf, compared to what was thought years ago. It was almost certainly over diagnosed then smile

ilovetosleep Sat 12-Jul-14 08:13:26

Thank you tiktok.

Now I need to know how to get him to sleep longer than 2 hours at night. I am a wreck! He definitely feeds better at night so I can see why he's waking. But until 8 weeks he only woke twice a night! I can't co sleep as he gets so wind that each feed requires attention, a good burping and 1inuges upright. So I can only manage 1hrs sleep between each waking sad

tiktok Sat 12-Jul-14 17:32:55

Can you say a bit more about his wind, ilovetosleep? And in more detail, what happens if you co-sleep? Why are you sure it is wind that bothers him?

ShineSmile Sat 12-Jul-14 17:49:02

Sounds like silent reflux and/or cows milk allergy. Look into them both.

ilovetosleep Sat 12-Jul-14 19:31:51

Ok, when we feed lying down, he can't get a good latch - not sure if its my positioning or what but there's always slurping and clicking and gulping. And he cant stay on. Then sleep is interrupted by lots of writhing and grunting. I am sure if is wind because he doesn't really get it during the day when I make a big effor to burp him. Then again, it could be silent reflux as during the day he is upright the majority of the time so not a problem. Anyway, I find night time burping such a chore when he's asleep , rarely get a good burp (whether he's fed lying down or not) and then when he next wakes a couple of hours later he is grunty and straining and often very farty. But he doesn't seem to be in pain, just enough discomfort to wake him. The closer to morning we get, the more uncomfortable and unsettled his sleep becomes.

We did get gaviscon in the early days, but he poos so infrequently anyway (anywhere between 1-2 weeks) and I hated the even longer wait with the gaviscon. And I don't think it did much.

Re latch - did I mention above, he had 100% TT cut at 10days then it regrew and a thick posterior TT cut at 5 weeks. I do think it has grown back a bit but he can latch ok sometimes and he has good movement in his tongue. For various reasons we can't have it cut again but I am still v determined to carry on bf long term.

Also, if its worth mentioning, the last 2 days I've noticed a lot of grumbling noises coming from his tummy!

Oh and re cows milk- it has occurred to me but I only drink 1-2 cups tea a day with a tiny dash skimmed milk, any other dairy is eg in a cake. Don't eat any butter, yoghurt, cream etc. so v v minimal amounts. Could it still cause a problem?

Thanks for all the help! Would love to know what you think.

ilovetosleep Sat 12-Jul-14 19:35:16

Also I have really full on let down tht overwhelms him completely during the day but seems to cope much better with it during the night, if we feed upright and well, but now i'm writing it all down, maye he doesn't cope with it all the well if its causing these multiple wake ups. He just seems more willing to stay latched on and sick properly in the night...

BreakingBuddhist Sat 12-Jul-14 19:56:53

Op I could have written your first post word for word.

Every single thing you have written is what I had with dc2. Fed dc1 a dream til about 2. Loved the comfort of it as well as nutrition. Couldn't wait to do it again.

Dc2 however had very different ideas. Tt cut. Oversupply and massively fast let down. Offering breast often as never hunger cued. Screamed and unhappy at the breast. Happy the rest of the time. It was heartbreaking. Ok at night. Cosleep info worked for us to maximise sleep especially given active toddler in daytime.

I took to feeding her with me horizontal to tame the let down.

At three months she would cry as usual in the day if I offered milk. Then strange enough I had a blocked duct. So to clear it I dangle fed with dd underneath me flat and me on all fours. Great sight that was. But she fed contentedly for the first time since my milk came in. By four months it was improving.

Then we had biting and refusal at 8 months. Then a strike at 11 months.

I never gave a bottle as I knew she would prefer it and that would be the end of bf. I am so glad I stuck to that a she is now 16 months and loves 'boo' in the day, for naps, for bedtime, and er a few times in the night.

It has finally become amazing. The bond is there. The communication is there. Those early days were very bleak indeed for reasons other than simply bf. I am so happy it is now a wonderful thing that resembles that which I loved about feeding dc1.

Op, sometimes the cause of our pain is in the gap between what is happening and what we want to happen. The reality was nothing liked I had hoped. Had I not know how truly wonderful bf can be I probably would have jacked it in by week 2. I had thoughts of 'my milk is poisoning her', 'she hates me', 'there is something wrong with her'.

I tell you all this to give you some hope that in good time things will improve. It is what it is. Later it will be as it is then. I send all my best wishes to you that it will come together.

Give the dangle fee a try. I think she became so used to the fast flow that when it slowed down at three months she was outraged as she had learned how to do it!

museumum Sun 13-Jul-14 08:46:23

At 12weeks I could only feed my ds when he was just waking from a nap and still dozy or in the night. He was just too distracted and aware of the world at any other time.
I used the 90minute sleep thing so put him down to nap 90 mins after he last woke up and I fed him when he woke initially still in the dark bedroom like a night feed but after a week or so I could get him to feed in public if I got him as soon as he stirred from a nap. This worked fine for us for a month or two till he learned how to feed and be aware of the world at the same time.

ilovetosleep Sun 13-Jul-14 09:40:45

Thank you thank you. BreakingBuddhist, I fee just as you did. I fed DS 1 until nearly 2 yrs old and I think it's that that is keeping me going. J just want to share te same experience with DS2 so much.

As each day goes on he feeds less in the day as more at night. I suffered from severe pnd following DS1, mainly as a result of sleep deprivation, and I am so anxious about it happening again.
Last night was a real low. He went down at 7.30 and woke at 9.30, 12, 2.30, 3.30, 5.30 and then 7. Each time I fed him. I don't know how else to get him to sleep, and as a result he is getting all his Milk requirements at night. I just offered him a feed at 930 and he totally refused. How can he feed up to every hour in the night and now not be hungry after 2.5 hours in the day! It's infuriating and I don't know how to change it when he is so adamant he won't feed sad and in the night each feed takes so much energy. I burped him more last night but not didnt make any difference to te frequency of his wakings...

ilovetosleep Sun 13-Jul-14 10:57:53

Now i'm beginning to wondering reflux is an issue. This morning I have managed to latch him on twice for a coupe of minutes and both times he pulled off screaming as screamed for about 10minuted, writhing and archon his back. And both times he screame as soon as put him in horizontal feeding position, and fought the ready before eventually latching on. The second time he was feeding quite calmly and then did a sort of bac of the throat cough which triggered a screaming episode. He then cried himself to sleep in my arms.

The thing is, his feeding and sleeping has been terrible for about a month now, but this screaming is quite new. Before he would just refuse a feed with a little shout, but now there is a lot more crying and anger. And each day as he becomes more unsettled, the nights get worse and worse.

ilovetosleep Sun 13-Jul-14 11:11:29

Could it be teething? He has two tiny whit spots on bottom left gum.

I should also say that everyone had always commented on how relaxed he is generally. Fussiness is only around feeding sad

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