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Please help with Exorcist baby. I'm losing the will to breastfeed.

(38 Posts)
CoteDAzur Tue 14-Jul-09 10:58:41

DS (7 weeks) thrashes about like possessed by the devil while on the breast, screaming, arching his back, and pulling the nipple to quite incredible lengths. During BF, while burping, or after burping for no reason I can see, he vomits copious amounts of milk, and wants to feed soon after.

I'm shattered. We go through at least 4 set of clothes a day for him AND for me (that's how much he vomits). Oh and he also does an impressive explosive poo act, which leads to being washed 3-4 times a day as well.

After he fed and vomited non-stop for three hours last night, out of sheer exhaustion, I gave him the bottle. He slept for a hitherto unwitnessed four hour stretch. Now I'm contemplating switching to formula, or at least mixed-feeding.

Somebody please help me understand what is going on, how to make this better and continue to BF.

wrinklytum Tue 14-Jul-09 11:06:08

Could he have reflux? DD was very much like you describe your ds.

You have my sympathy,remember those early days only to well with a big shudder!

AliGrylls Tue 14-Jul-09 11:08:29

I have this problem with mine (although obviuosly not to the same extent).

I think it might be wind. I usually take him off burp him and put him back on again about 2-3 times during the feed and that helps.

I also find it is easier to feed him when I can just focus on him. If I am trying to read a book or watch TV he always wriggles more.

Does this sound plausible?

plusonemore Tue 14-Jul-09 11:12:07

just wanted to say poor you <hugs>

i bottle fed ds1(not established bf at birth, losing weight) and breastfed ds2 which I loved. If I had a 3rd child I would want to bf BUT I also know that formula is fine and that the most important thing is that you and baby are happy. I would try one of the helplines or bf expert if you have one, but ultimately please dont beat yourself up about your choices

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat Tue 14-Jul-09 11:14:24

dd was like this. have you tried rugby hold and other contortionist ways of feedin?

good luck, she did stop vomitting (so much) around 6 months

LackaDAISYcal Tue 14-Jul-09 11:17:25

Sounds like reflux sad

Breast or bottle shouldn't really make a difference if you have a refluxy baby, although some things I have read/heard suggest that BF babies are refluxy to a lesser extent than FF babies. not sure if there is any truth in that though.

There is some information on this site or if you do a search on here, you'll find lots of information.

My DS was pretty bad when he was tiny, but it has slowly gotten better as his system matures. We used infacol in the early days, and tried colief, but that's a bit of a faff to feed a BF baby with. We also saw a cranial osteopath which we think helped, but as he was less than a week old when we first went, it's difficult to tell, although he was certaqinly more settled for a day or so after each visit.

We were recommended that all babies see a CO just to iron out any problems from their journey down the birth canal.

AliGrylls Tue 14-Jul-09 11:28:26

What is this rugby hold? How do you do it? It sounds very advanced.

makedoandmend Tue 14-Jul-09 11:29:01

I really feel for you - while I didn't have the writhing thing with mine she did used to
projectile huge amounts of vom (literally dripping off my nose) anything up to an hour after feeds. I cut out chocolate and caffeine from my diet - and it pretty much stopped. When she was five months I experimented by eating an easter egg (purely for scientific reasons you understand) - and was rewarded with a vomit covered top (a lot less vom than before though)

First though I'd take her to the GP just to check there isn't an obstruction which apparently some babies can have. Then try the diet thing - I noticed the difference after about a day.

I'd also second trying the helplines - I got lots of help from one of bf support people. They were a lot more use that GP or HV!

alypaly Tue 14-Jul-09 11:30:57

My son did exactly the same thing and i ended up covering the floor with bin bags as it came out like it was in a hosepipe. Twice as much seemed to come out as went in and the trots too.
Took him to my docs, who diagnosed him with projectile vomiting which apparently is more common in little boys. It is caused by the sphincter at the top end of the stomach not holding the contents down. You will probably find he is not putting on enuf weight. Dont let it continue too long as this is not normal.If it caries on too long they have to put a small stitch in the sphincter to make it tighter.
My sons sorted itself out in a 2-3 months but it became borderline for surgery. It is rather alarming, but minor surgery does sort it out. BTW it is a common problem.Try not to be anxious otherwise he will sense it.Easier said than done. Dont eat curries before breastfeeding or anything spicy

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat Tue 14-Jul-09 11:37:14

rugby hold though dd was more upright that shown in the picture.

if you baby is thriving i.e. gaining weight i wouldn't fret otherwise definitely talk to a professional.

CoteDAzur Tue 14-Jul-09 12:01:15

I think reflux is certainly part of it. But the anger & crying while at the breast makes me think he isn't getting enough milk. I know the wisdom here on MN is that milk springs eternal from the breast, but still... he cries and screams at the breast, then I try to express and get less than 10 ml from both breasts - nothing, in other words.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 14-Jul-09 12:27:54

Cote, I think with reflux there can be a lot of pain when lying down as the stomach contents come back up into the oesophagus, which might explain why he is fighting and crying when you try and feed him.

Have you tried a more upright position? Have a look at biological nurturing for some more upright nursing positions. Also a sling might help, especially if you can master the art of feeding in it smile.

And everyone who has struggled with BFing at any time knows know that it isn't as simple as "milk springing eternal from the breast", but ikwym. I'm sure you also know that expressed amounts are no indication of how much milk you have either.

Can you see a local breastfeeding counsellor to get some reassurance on the "enough milk" conundrum?

LackaDAISYcal Tue 14-Jul-09 12:29:08

sorry that sounded a bit patronising wasn't meant to!

Babieseverywhere Tue 14-Jul-09 12:29:52

The fighting at the breast followed by loads of sick could be an oversupply issue. I doubt it is lack of milk, else what is your baby throwing up ?

Just checking that you know that expressing is not a realistic reflection on the amount of milk you are making. Some mothers nurse for months and can not express a drop.

Kellymom has a page on oversupply, does any of this ring a bell with you ? Kellymom Page


CoteDAzur Tue 14-Jul-09 12:37:55

Yes, I know he is getting quite a bit of milk (initially), since he manages to throw up rivers of it. My doubt is about the subsequent feeds - he feeds for half an hour, throws up, then wants to feed again and gets upset (because it isn't coming down as quickly?), throws up again, then wants to feed yet again, but by now is throwing himself around and screaming bloody murder (because there just isn't enough milk?)

I do realize expressing isn't quite indicative of how much baby gets when feeding, but still, normally I express quite a bit but when he goes through two subsequent feeds he then throws up, it is alarming to see that expressing both breasts barely produce 5 ml.

CoteDAzur Tue 14-Jul-09 12:38:40

makedoandmend - What do you mean give up chocolate? Are you crazy? smile

Babieseverywhere Tue 14-Jul-09 12:43:51

CoteDAzur, Have you consider trying block nursing ? This should slow down you milk supply so the milk comes out slower and hopefully stays down.

I found a combination of the following helped me with oversupply issues :-

: Nursing uphill. i.e. Lying down or underarm rugby hold.
: When my baby was very little I hand expressing a little bit (and let the milk spurt into a towel), so she didn't get the full force of the letdown.
: Block nursing.
: Stopped burping her, I never burped my second child and he threw up a lot less.

theDreadPirateRoberts Tue 14-Jul-09 12:47:17

Are you hand-expressing or pump? Hand expressing just before you feed might get more out, which you could save for later.

Also, agree that it sounds like it might be a position issue. If you can replicate the way you held him whule you BF - sitting him on your knee perhaps (don't know the comparitive anatomy of you and DS) then that might make a difference? Apparently upright feeding means less wind is taken in/moves to the top of the stomach more quickly, so less problems burping.

And I wouldn't worry about excluding foods yet - if he's writhing at the breast, then it hasn't had a chance to reach his stomach yet to cause the writhing IYSWIM?

Not a BFC or anything, but had horrendous problems and had to do lots of own research a few years ago smile

misscreosote Tue 14-Jul-09 12:49:53

Hi cote - this sounds exactly like the issues I had with DD1, and have been having a similar but less severe time with DD2 (now 5 weeks). With me, it is (I think) a combination of 2 things...

Firstly oversupply, which to the poor baby is like having a hosepipe shoved down his throat, which also makes them swallow lots of air, and then be sick everywhere (you should see our carpets!). When your DS pulls off, do you spurt a lot? I find BF a very messy business... smile. This made my DDs scream and pull back, and with DD1 she was so averse to feeding after a while that she took the minimal amount then would have no more. There are lots of tips on the kellymom site above, which is really helpful. I found with DD1 that nipple shields helped for a bit, as they slowed the flow down a little, but do read the kellymom site for other tips, as nipple shields aren't generally the preferred first thing to try (and I found with DD2 that she didn't get on with them at all).

Secondly, I think part of the pain/windy/sicky problem was internal discomfort caused by allergy to the small bits of dairy coming through my breastmilk. Think this is fairly unusual (and the health professionals seem to think its impossible), but DD1 is severely allergic to dairy, and her eczema only cleared up when we switched to a special formula at 1 year old. With DD2, we were having 3 hour screaming stretches every night, until I cut out dairy myself last week and she's like a different baby (still a pain in the neck, but you know what I mean!). So, for me, I think dairy allergy is definitely a factor (or a massive massive coincidence....hmm).

DD2 is still a very windy baby, I think partly because I still have a lot of milk (although we are managing the oversupply better this time round), and we still have occasional vomits and amazing poos and farts (puts my DH to shame grin), but much less screaming....

I would try the oversupply solutions first before cutting anything out of your diet though (and if you do cut stuff out of your diet, just one thing at a time, and give it a few days to see any change).

Just one other thought as well... how often is he feeding? Just that DD2 goes mental if I try to feed her when actually she's tired (even though, helpfully, she acts in the same way whether she's tired or hungry). So if he's feeding too often, and when he's not really hungry, that's possibly not helping things...

Hope that helps a bit... I really feel for you, its a nightmare trying to feed a screaming baby sad. If its any consolation, he's 7 weeks already, and I found that the BF supply issues settled down after about 12 weeks, and I actually enjoyed it then (and was very glad I hadn't switched to formula given the allergy issues!).

LackaDAISYcal Tue 14-Jul-09 12:52:12

I also think part of the problem with reflux is that they throw up the feed and want more obviously, but it is sore, so that's why the thrashing goes on.

I really think you need to talk to a BFC about this. Have you got the numbers for the helplines? hunker's blog has them listed

CoteDAzur Tue 14-Jul-09 13:22:38

No spurting when baby pulls back screaming. In fact, hardly any drops at all when I squeeze, so don't think it is an oversupply issue.

I don't live in the UK, so no BFC or consultants I can turn to.

theDreadPirateRoberts Tue 14-Jul-09 13:26:31

I don't know if you should worry about reflux if a full bottle went down though? How about a shout for TIKTOK?

misscreosote Tue 14-Jul-09 13:34:13

Hmmm, does it happen at every feed, or just some of them?

alypaly Tue 14-Jul-09 14:08:16

My friend who had a similar problem changed her milk to pregestamil and also the gp put her bay on infant gaviscon sachets. He is now ok but if it comes out like a fountain it definitely sounds like the sphincter. It is not serious as long as your gp is aware of it and it doesnt go on too long otherwise he will get a sore oesophagus with the acid being thrown up

cockles Tue 14-Jul-09 14:11:48

Ring the breastfeeding helplines referenced above, it is really worth it, even if not in UK.

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