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Screaming during breastfeeding

(26 Posts)
alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:00:01

Does anyone have any idea why a baby might pull away during breastfeeding and start screaming?

This is my second baby, and with my first I never had any problems with breastfeeding, so I really don't know how to deal with this.

My second baby is now 2 weeks old, and for the last two days has been pulling away during each feed and screaming. I really don't know what to do. She does latch on again and take some more, but after a few minutes pulls away and screams again.

It doesn't seem to be trapped wind, and she must be getting a lot of milk because she has been filling plenty of nappies, but each feed has become a very long and stressful affair.

Can anyone help?

GooseyLoosey Mon 21-Jul-08 12:02:52

Ds used to do this. I never did find out why and the HV had no help to offer either. I can say that when I stopped feeding him (after 4 months) and switched to formula the problem disappeared. You have my sympathies as it used to really upset me and I fely really helpless.

mamabea Mon 21-Jul-08 12:02:52

I am by no means an expert in this field but had some similar things go on with my DD2. I put it down to perhaps milk not 'coming fast enough' IYKWIM. Her screams settled once flow established.

I'm sure someone else will be along in a mo with more experience. good luck.

FeelingDeviant Mon 21-Jul-08 12:06:45

wind? or not fast enough let down? or too fast let down?
DD used to do this in the early weeks, and it was mainly wind with her. So, used to take her off and wind her before resuming feed.
She did it once when it wasn't wind and it was too fast let down - I knew because as she screamed she pushed at my breast and all this milk sprayed on her poor little face. In this instance I expressed before putting back on breast.

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:07:10

I don't think it can be down to the milk not coming through fast enough - I only have to tap the breast and it starts dripping.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Mon 21-Jul-08 12:07:34

Does she have any white spots in her mouth or on her tongue? If so, it could be thrush which is painful for them - but very easy to treat.

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:10:33

Feelingdeviant - by too fast let down do you mean that the milk is flowing too quickly?

I suppose that could be the problem, as I said it drips really easily. I didn't realise this could be a problem, though, as I dripped with my first baby too, and he didn't seem to mind. Actually, I thought everyone was like that (my sister and 2 cousins were too, in fact one of my cousins said her breasts used to start dripping when she was in the shower, etc)

Racers Mon 21-Jul-08 12:11:02

Hi, I had this both times - was worse with DD2 and it seems to have been due to a very fast letdown and it did settle as she got older and more able to cope with the volume, plus (so my BFC said) learned to stem the flow a little and be in control more. Tips for dealing with it in the meantime include trying to lie back, raise your baby up if possible, to let gravity help a bit. Also warm flannels etc to encourage let down before she latches. Have a muslin handy so when she comes off, just let some of the milk flow before trying again. As you say, it makes it a long affair but try not to get too stressed if you can.

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:12:16

She does have some white spots - like little pimples, a kind of creamy white colour - on her tongue. I thought it was residue from the milk blush

mears Mon 21-Jul-08 12:13:39

Could be that the flow is too fast. Does the milk spray when she comes off?

You could try expressing a bit by hand before she latches on so that the initial fast flow has stopped. Or just expect her to come off and use a muslin (or even better a bottle) to catch the milk as it flows. Wait till it stops before putting her back on again. If feeding from both breasts you could try one breast per feed to reduce the amount of milk you have. You could also try feeding 'uphill'. By the I mean lying back on the bed or sofa so that the rate of milk flow is reduced. It will pass but is extremely wearing. Sounds like too fast a let down which will correct itself.

Cadbury Mon 21-Jul-08 12:15:15

This all sounds familiar.

Couple of things that spring to mind mmediately. Firstly is colic - they want the comfort of feeding to help their poory tummy but it only compounds the problem. My other suggestion is the possibility of oral thrush - white spots on her tongue and it's very painful. You would have it on your breast too.

Congratulations on your baby girl smile

FeelingDeviant Mon 21-Jul-08 12:15:23

Yes, I do mean milk flowing very quickly. DD was 'drowning' in milk which was why she was screaming.

But sounds like you should get the creamy pimples on tongue checked out with GP too.

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:18:13

yes, the milk does spray when she comes off.

I will try expressing and lying down, thanks Mears and Racers.

I was just examining her mouth - I'm not sure if the white pimply things are something or not, but I'm going to take her to be checked out (a paediatrician friend lives three flats away, conveniently, so I'll take her there!)

tiktok Mon 21-Jul-08 12:21:44

More likely to be over-generous milk supply - not thrush. Pimples on tongue are prob normal. Alex, if it is generous milk supply you'll probably check most of these boxes

* leaking breasts
* always feeling full
* baby gains weight faster than most babies
* spluttery fighting at the breast
* screaming and coming off, while still wanting to feed

Lots of ideas here already about how to deal with it - another idea is to feed from one side only at a time, for a block of several hours, but this is only sensible if the baby is gaining lots and lots (because it reduces milk supply).

tiktok Mon 21-Jul-08 12:22:20

Yes - the spraying is on that list of signs, too

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:23:25

I don't have any corresponding white pimples on my breast (thank goodness!) so perhaps it's nothing. I'll still take her to be checcked, though, just to be sure.

Thanks everyone for the advice, it sounds like the flow could be the problem.

I'm just wondering why my first baby never complained about it - he used to make noisy slurpy sounds but he never screamed.

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:27:01

Thanks, tiktok, that does sound like me.

I don't know about the weight gain, though, because she's only two weeks and I haven't taken her to be weighed yet (you're expected to go at 1 month where I live). However, she had already started to regain her birthweight when I left the hospital (I was in for 4 days).

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 12:31:29

tiktok - having just reread your post, I want to ask a question. You suggest that I should only feed from one side at a time to help solve the problem. The thing is, I was advised to do this in any case.

The midwife here (who also runs the antenatal classes and gives breastfeeding advice) told us that we should latch the baby on one side and let them feed until finished on that side, and not put them on the other side until next time, ie one side per feed. This is what I did with my first baby. Is this bad advice? Should I be doing it differently?

Racers Mon 21-Jul-08 12:40:50

In case tiktok has gone, blockfeeding is feeding from one side for more than one feed, around 2-4 hours at a time (ie however many feeds during that time). I tried this initially but upped it to 6 hour blocks, which I think is about the biggest time block advised, normally anyway. This was from reading up on it on, also advice from tiktok and RL BFC and was to help with the fast letdown/colic problem which started around week 3

solo Mon 21-Jul-08 12:52:18

I was always told to offer the second breast after they'd finished the first breast every time by my extremely fabulous HV.

tiktok Mon 21-Jul-08 12:57:01

alex - your midwife got it wrong. Most mothers and babies get off to a better start if both sides are routinely offered each time...some babies never take both sides, some babies always do and want more, and some babies are a mix.

Mum watches the baby for signs he has had what he needs off side one, and then offers the second breast, and responds to what the baby seems to need.

After a while, some babies naturally settle into a pattern of one, two or more or back and forth switching.

Some mothers can make plenty of milk with only offering one side at a time ever - but others cannot. Sounds as if you certainly can

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 13:19:23

Thanks Tiktok. Do you think I should start offering the second breast each time then (once the present problem is sorted out) ? Or would it be better, since I have already started that way, to carry on as before?

I can't help wondering now what other advice from my midwife was wrong. She also advised expressing regularly in the first six weeks to bring supply levels up to be able to cope with the six week growth spurt. I never bothered with this, and I had no problems coping with the growth spurt with my first baby, but anyway, I'm just curious to know if this is something generally advised or if it's just this midwife.

alexpolismum Mon 21-Jul-08 13:22:26

Also, a quick grumble, why why WHY does there seem to be so much conflicting advice from health care professionals who are supposed to be there to help you, and are supposed to be trained.

mears Mon 21-Jul-08 13:25:33

As a midwife I disagree with the information your midwife has given and agree with Tiktok. I certainly do not agree with the need to express in the first 6 weeks to keep up with growth spurts. You just feed more as and when you need to. Imagine if you had expressed as well as feed - your milk supply would have been boosted even further.

Nature copes well with growth spurts when babies are given free access to the breast.

tiktok Mon 21-Jul-08 13:32:56

alex, when babies are gaining weight very well, and the issue is over-generous supply, then block nursing may be helpful...though as your baby is only 2 weeks old, please talk this through first with someone who knows what's what. Things may settle down in a few days without you doing anything.

Your midwife's advice is odd - very disturbing she is in a position of trust and information.

I agree with mears about the lack of need to express.

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