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Getting desperate - BF 8 week old screaming & not feeding enough

(43 Posts)
aquasea Sun 29-Jul-07 22:26:03

Hi... I hope someone can help me. I have a darling little 8 week old son who has always been a little "spirited" (!) but the one thing I could always rely on was that he fed a lot. Each week he put on lots of weight and was going up the percentile lines. Last week he weighed 12 pounds. But for the past week he has suddenly almost stopped feeding. He may feed for perhaps 5 mins but then his little arms start flailing (like he is hitting me), he starts kicking and arches back until my nipple comes out of his mouth. Then he screams until he is put over my shoulder and I walk around. It has got so that sometimes he screams when I just put him in the feeding position (I have tried other positions but to no avail). When he was weighed on Thursday he hadn't put on any weight for a week (although he hadn't lost any). However, the weekend was so bad, I am sure he may have lost weight by now. He isn't sleeping much because I am sure he is hungry but he just won't feed. He takes a bottle of expressed milk but I really don't want to give up on breast feeding yet. I have tried Infacol and we are currently trying gripe water but nothing seems to help. I am so exhausted from dealing with him all day and night and trying to get him to feed/stop him crying/burping him etc. I just don't know what to do. I am holding back tears nearly all the time (I can't hold them back now though!). I feel so rejected by him (I know that's stupid). I am trying to stay strong and calm but I feel like I am losing it a bit. Please please, if anyone can offer any help or advice, I would be so grateful.
Sorry for the long post - I don't know what information is relevant and what isn't!
Oh, he also suddenly started drooling a lot.. . I don't know if that is connected or not.

TheQueenOfQuotes Sun 29-Jul-07 22:31:13

I'm no expert - but do you have quite a fast let down?? DS3 did this at about 3 weeks old and the general consensus seemed to be that he'd got a bit scared by super fast letdown. I was advised to keep offering the breast to him - but not forcing the issue (ie if he got upset stop) and to try expressing a little before he feeds. I also gave him some expressed milk in a bottle just to keep him going until he settled back to the breast.

As it happens at that point in time we decided to mix feed - but after a day or two he quite happily took the breast again and still enjoy latching on now (he's nearly 10 weeks)

aquasea Sun 29-Jul-07 22:36:03

Hi QueenofQuotes, yes, I did have a fast let down and I knew he was struggling a bit with this. I tried to express a bit off if my breasts were really full but he always seemed to cope (even if he did get a squirt of milk in the eye a couple of times!). It's just strange as he started all this just as I felt my breasts were settling down and weren't so difficult for him to deal with. Now I am worried that my milk supply will start to dry up and I won't be able to feed him.

takefu Sun 29-Jul-07 22:36:18

Oh, aquasea, hang in there!! I know how hard it is... when you're exhausted and they're upset and you don't know what to do, it can feel overwhelming.

Have you tried calling the NCT breastfeeding helpline? There are a few helplines, actually- I have used the NCT one several times and they were amazing at helping me figure out what was wrong. The number is 0870 444 8708

Also, if you haven't already, www.kellymom.com has really, really useful information. Sounds like your son might be on a breastfeeding strike. I personally haven't had this happen to me, although my dd constantly would go on and off the boob during feeds and it was really awful for awhile. The kellymom site seems to have really straightforward advice and loads of it.

Hang in there!!!

TheQueenOfQuotes Sun 29-Jul-07 22:39:15

aqua - I thought DS3 was coping fine too - but it appeared not. Trust me your milk supply will NOT dry up - just keep expressing (if you don't need to give it to him in a bottle straight away you can always freeze - and then you know you've got some in the freezer if you want a short break to go shopping ). I'm now (by choice) down to just one or 2 feeds a day with DS3, and I express in the evenings as well - and my milk supply is still ok - and I risked a lot switching so early - but you've been going longer than I had so shouldn't have a problem. Just keep expressing and offering him the breast.........oh and follow the others advice (much more experienced andb etter explaing things than me).

aquasea Sun 29-Jul-07 22:39:47

Thank you, Takefu, I haven't heard of that site. I will check it out now. A breastfeeding strike?! Wow - so it has a name? If I wasn't so upset and teary about it all I would probably be able to laugh. He's 8 weeks old and he's already on strike!

aquasea Mon 30-Jul-07 09:56:42

I really don't know if I can do this. He is so miserable all the time. I can't make him happy. I read that I should have lots of skin to skin contact with him. I would love to but he just won't. He kicks and wriggles and screams. I am so tired. I love him so much and just feel like I am failing him... and like he doesn't like me. I rarely get any smiles (other people do), he barely even looks at me. It seems he's happier with anyone other than me. I am worried I am getting seriously depressed.It feels like we are in a downward spiral and I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know what I expect to achieve by writing this, I just don't know where to turn.

bumperlicious Mon 30-Jul-07 10:14:11

Gosh aquasea, sounds like you are having a tough time. I have no idea how to help, but could he be in pain from feeding for some reason, thrush, wind? If it is wind dentinox is an alternative to infacol. I hope things go ok. Also, have you tried swaddling him while you feed? Might calm him down and stop his hands from flailing.

TheQueenOfQuotes Mon 30-Jul-07 10:18:58

you poor thing you must feel terrible. Have you been expressing milk if so then do you have a DH/DP/Friend who can give him a bottle of EBM to give you break. I remember DS1 (who was exclusively BF) used to just scream and scream and scream it was horrible - but he grew out of it.

As for smiiles - DS3 frequently doesn't smile at me, and makes life "hard" for me - but as soon as he's with someone else (DH or friend) he's as happy as larry.....I've come to the conclusion he just gets bored of looking at me all of the time and wants a "Change of view"

mears Mon 30-Jul-07 10:25:03

aquasea - your baby doesn't hate you - you are just feeling so negative because the feeding seems to be going wrong.

On reading your post one of the problems might be you expect to feed him longer than 5 minutes, whereas he may have got all he needs in that 5 minutes. Arching his back might be a sign he doesn't want to go back on but you are trying him again thinking he needs more. This can then get into a viscious cycle where he then refuses to go on.

Try taking him into the bath to feed - babies are often soothed in the water. It might help him relax. Definitely contact a breastfeeding counsellor in your area or speak to your HV who should be able to put you in touch with someone.

aquasea Mon 30-Jul-07 10:39:23

Thanks so much for the responses - it helps to not feel so alone and ashamed.

QueenofQuotes - I have had other people give him a bottle of expressed milk and, although he still fusses a bit, he takes it and doesn't scream like he does with me. I feel like I am always handing him over to someone else... because they seem better with him than I am. God, it hurts to write that. I have just been brave and told my in laws not to come over today (they are over from Australia and have been here all day every day for the past week). I used to be able to look after him on my own. Why has it all gone so wrong?

Mears - yes, I thought of that but when he used to come off after a feed he would be sleepy and satisfied, make funny faces, do a big stretch and then flop in my arms. Now he suddenly starts kicking and pulls himself off screaming. Surely that isn't just him telling me he's had enough?

mears Mon 30-Jul-07 10:44:32

I think you may have hit the nail on the head by saying you got on fine on your own. Babies pick up all sorts of stress signals and if you have had visitors every day, that cannot be good for your own stress levels. Have they handled him a lot too? Babies who get handles a lot between feeds aren't always happy about it.

He sounds as though he has wind if he comes off screaming - I thought you meant he began to scream when you tried to get him back on. Sorry.

Aim for a relaxing day, lying about in bed watching TV and eating snacks with baby in tow ( a baby moon) would be a good idea.

aquasea Mon 30-Jul-07 10:55:38

Yes they have been handling him lots. They never hand him back to me! Always bouncing him about and in his face trying to get him to smile or make noises or whatever. He does smile at them but sometimes I just feel like it's too much for him. actually, since you wrote that, Mears, I have just realised that this problem coincides with them being here. Even my own mum waits for me to hand him to her and she keeps him calm and always hands him back to me. I know they are just excited to see him but perhaps we just need some space? It's just that they are here from about 10/11am every day until 11pm or so. It's all a bit much.

mears Mon 30-Jul-07 11:13:45

Good grief auasea - no wonder you are having feeding problems. Your inlaws are way out of order by being in your house all that time. You need space with your new baby and you need to feel relaxed. Poor baby is showing signs of distress. Being held by lots of people has meant that he hasn't been able to be with his mum as often as he wants. He may have wanted to feed more often but has been kept away from you.

Have the day to yourselves - more than a day if possible.

When in-laws return, do not allow him to be handled. Where is your DH in all of this?

TheQueenOfQuotes Mon 30-Jul-07 11:24:17

Gosh like mears said I'm not suprised you're feeling stressed with your inlaws being like that. Some babies are fine with being handed around (touchwood I've been lucky and had 3 of them) - but others don't like it.

Hope you get it sorted soon - and you will.

aquasea Mon 30-Jul-07 13:03:57

Oh my God... OK, I am not going to get too excited but after what you said, Mears, I sort of went right back to treating him like a newborn. I just had him in his nappy, next to my skin, I sang to him and played him music softly. I tried to keep him really calm and away from distractions and he's like a different baby. He is not all manic and fighting, he is calm and if he's had little cries, that's all they are and they are easy to settle. There have been no screams at all. And... he FED!! OK, not an enormous feed but still a good ten minutes and he didn't come off screaming. We had a great time on the change mat (he was loving me singing to him and I gave him a little tummy massage) and now... he's gone to sleep I can't believe it! Now, I know this might be nothing to do with anything and maybe he will be back to how he was yesterday in a few hours (or even minutes!) but at least I have had some bonding time with him. I missed him so much! Maybe it wasn't all my fault afterall.

Mears, my DH is an angel but he is really close to his parents and hasn't seen them in nearly a year. He is (understandably) really excited to show them our little boy and to spend time with them. I don't really know how to handle this. How can I tell them they need to back off a bit?

I can't tell you how grateful I am for all your posts. I was feeling really desperate last night and this morning and now I feel like maybe I can be his mum... and not the worst one in the world!

TheQueenOfQuotes Mon 30-Jul-07 13:40:39

oh so glad you've had a good bit of time with him. Remember - it might not always feel like it - but he loves you to bits, even if sometimes he seems more interested in other people

phdlife Mon 30-Jul-07 14:01:20

aquasea I am SO impressed with you - you really made that work with your ds, give yourself a pat on the back!

now w.r.t. your inlaws - I am going to face the same thing in September (situation so similar it's spooky). Last time they visited they really wound me up, just because fil was so happy to see dh, they acted like a pair of 4yr olds!

I am a wuss so have been practising saying, "ds needs some peace and quiet time"! Remember you are not acting out of malice, etc., but from the best interests of your lo. And minimising your own stress is part of acting in his best interests.

Maybe dh and his folks could go to a pub for a bit in the evenings? Otherwise you will just need to politely but firmly lay down the law, so to speak. You know what your ds needs best and he doesn't have anyone to speak for him but you.

phdlife Mon 30-Jul-07 14:07:54

lol at me as though I could follow my own advice. [rolls eyes at self]

mears Mon 30-Jul-07 15:46:51

aquasea - I am so glad things have improved and i am sure they will improve yet.

Perhaps you could show this thread to your DH? Of course he will want to see his parents and so will you, but all day every day is too much. Tell them you have been advised that his feeding problems may be made worse by overhandling - I am sure they would be upset if they realised.

However, make use of them while they are here. No doubt your are still up at night feeding. Let them take him out for a walk in the afternoon with your DH while you get some sleep in bed.

Go out for a meal with your DH and let them babysit, since you know he will take EBM if needed.

Encourage your DH to go out with them for the night while you have your baby to yourself.

This is one of the huge problems of parenthood - setting ground rules for your own children with your parents. You are not alone. doesn't mean you don't want to see them - just needs to be more structured. Good luck.

determination Mon 30-Jul-07 16:04:09

i have just read this thread and have experienced all emotions.

Aqua, i can totally understand that rejection feeling that you had last night and this morning - i experienced nipple confusion when dd1 was 3month and it was a journey to hell and back. Having read that you had a nice relaxing afternoon and feed with him makes me so happy.. i had tears in my eyes. Enjoy your LO as he will grow up so fast. and like PHD said.. your DS NEEDS peace and quiet time too.

aquasea Mon 30-Jul-07 19:47:24

Had to pop back here for a quick update... I think I do believe in miracles! At 6pm the little man fed for 23 minutes! It was a proper feed, just like he used to do. I was so happy. I can't believe it. After just one day of quiet, no visitors and just lots of time with me it seems like he is back to his old self (once again, not getting too excited as I am aware the problem might not be completely resolved). I am so happy though. He is happy. He was full of grins on his changing mat again and I think he was even trying to laugh (don't know what age they do this so don't all kill yourselves laughing at me if babies don't laugh until they're 18 months or something!) I really feel like I have been a proper mother, protecting him and making him safe and happy rather than just a stressed out, useless feeding machine. I had to steel myself to make the call to the inlaws to tell them not to come over tonight (well, I didn't really, I told them about how I was keeping him calm as he'd been overstimulated and they got the hint and suggested they didn't come over tonight). I don't know if DH is that happy about it but he is supporting me. I just didn't know babies could go so nuts from overstimulation. Thank you, Mears, for bringing that to my attention. Your advice on the babymoon was brilliant. I seriously didn't think he would want to spend time with me like that.
PHD - learn a lesson from me. You don't want your baby doing what mine has been doing. When your inlaws are over, it is imperative that you protect your space and your little one's space. I wish I had known this earlier... although exactly how to go about it is still eluding me! I want to have another quiet day, just the two of us tomorrow to really get him back on track but I don't know how I will be able to tell them that.
Thanks for your lovely message, Determination. The feeling of rejection is horrible... far worse than being rejected by any man. I hope you are back on track with your little one.
OK, so he is sleeping now...fingers crossed for a good night!

phdlife Mon 30-Jul-07 22:03:25

aquasea I am so happy for you

and will def learn the lesson too

best to you both

determination Mon 30-Jul-07 22:11:46

Aqua, im assuming it is just the one baby you have?

Please take advantage and have as many babymoons as possible, before you know it he will be walkingand you will possibly have another baby... when you have more than one DC babymoons are very few and far between

my dd1 is 3 and dd2 is 5months.. i would love to lay in bed cuddling all day with dd2 but dd1 won't allow this.. so instead i opted for a sling and carry her everywhere. Not as relaxing for me but still some togetherness.

mears Mon 30-Jul-07 23:50:08

So glad that my advice helped - I think you diagnosed it yourself though.

Congratulations on getting back on track. Some babies don't mind all the attention from others - some babies do. Takes time to work out their little characters.

Sounds as though you are doind a brilliant job

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