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Having a nighmare breasfeeding 4 1/2 month old ds

(23 Posts)
jojo76 Fri 29-Jul-05 20:09:13

please please please someone give me some advice im feeling really desperate!!!

my ds has been happily breast fed and i was really lucky never to get any problems...until about 2 weeks ago. He has started to feed really quickly (i know they speed up as they get more efficient, but im talking ususally less than 5 minutes) - he gulps down the milk as it comes in but then where as he used to slow down to that regular suck suck suck gulp rhythm (if you know what i mean), thats the point that he comes off the boob, arches backwards and starts crying, if i try to latch on again, he might have a couple of sucks, but seems to become really frustrated and quickly starts to really melt down, screaming his head off.

He has been taking a bottle of ebm last thing, so that dp can feed him,,,,is it possible that he is rejecting the boob in favour of fast flowig milk from the bottle? we have been doing the ebm in a bottle since he was about six weeks, but this is a recent problem.

I have tried burping him when he screams and sometimes he does burp and go back for another suck but comes off again really quick.

When i express, I think my milk supply has gone down, as i seem to be getting less these days than i used to. I have gone back to work 3 weeks ago, im a childminder so im still with ds all dayso can feed him when he needs it, but we are more busy now, with a noisy 3 year old here all day. Maybe he is unsettled? he does seem very distractable when feeding now....

he did feed properly last night for 45 mins and for an hour in bed this morning, but most feeds during the day have become these screaming episodes. I just tried to feed him now and the same thing happened, so we had to give him a bottle of ebm, he gulped down 6 ounces no problem, which makes me feel awful, he is hungry so why isnt he feeding from me???????

Sorry for the long message, i feel desperately sad about this, i feel really rejected ( know this is daft, but feel so tearful about our once gorgeous feeding times becoming so traumatic)and im so worried that the more he does this , the more my supply will go down and i will dry up all togeter.

Lastly, i got him weighed on friday , for the first time since he was about 11 weeks and he has dropped a centile in weight. hv suggested we try to supplement with an extra feed at 11ish (like a dream feed) with formula, or ebm if i can express enough, which we have been doing. . hate giving him formula, i know thats silly too, its not poison, but i feel that if i do this he will get 2 bottles a day and go off the breast totally.

lastly, has anyone tried one of those haberman feeders taht the baby whisperer recommends? they are meant to be more like the flow from the breast and make baby work harder? would that be worth a try?

please let me know if anyone else has had these problems and solved it, im desperate for advice!!

hunkermunker Fri 29-Jul-05 20:21:13

Hi Jojo

Have a look at this link - it explains some techniques for feeding a distractible baby

IME it's a natural stage babies go through - they're that bit bigger, can see further than your face and realise there's more going on in the world than boob and sleep. But if you keep on, they do settle again - once they realise the world will still be there when they've finished feeding!

Magscat Fri 29-Jul-05 20:34:48

Hi JoJo - this could have been me when my dd got to 13 weeks she was just the same. She went through the screaming phase (unless she was sleepy then she fed well) for at least a couple of months.
What worked for me was:
-Stopping using bottles (I know it might be really hard for you now you're working again)
-Taking my top off when feeding so she had loads of skin contact
-Feeding in quiet, darkened room with sound of waves crashing (from a machine - we don't live on the coast!)
Also contacted La Leche League & got quite a bit of support via email & went to one meeting - might be worth a try.

When she got to nearly 6 months I started giving solids & now the 10 minute feeds are enough & they are calm so it doesn't worry me so much.

There are other threads on here about breastfeeding necklaces too - I never tried one but I understand they give a fidgety baby something to play with so they don't get so distracted - try this thread - scroll to the necklace links

I really feel for you on this one but I'm sure he'll grow out of it or you'll find a way round it. Good luck

Magscat Fri 29-Jul-05 20:37:41

Just realised you said you have a 3 yr old all day - I never stood a chance of feeding dd when her big brother was around - he was just way more interesting!

Do you have anyone that helps cover breaks for you so you could feed away from the other child ? Sorry if that's a really naive question & the answer is 'no chance'

Blondeinlondon Fri 29-Jul-05 20:39:50

have you tried swopping boobs when he comes off?

my ds tends to come off and require a burp before continuing

don't worry about dropping a centile - if he is still putting on weight and requiring lots of nappy changes he will be okay

mears Fri 29-Jul-05 20:45:26

jojo76 - what you describe is not all unsual. While you are having this difficulty I would stop giving a bottle at all. I don't think you should try any other type of teats at all. Nor do I think you should give formual either. It isn't at all unusual for babies to drop centiles. Weight gain often tails off as they get more active too. If he starts rejecting his feed then stop and try again when he has calmed down. It may well be that he is adjusting to the change in the house. He might be teething. He might have earache. There are lots of things that can be upsetting him. Try to remain calm and cuddle him till he calms down too. He might reject you because he doesn't want any more milk even after only 5 minutes. Try not to resort to a bottle of EBM too quickly. I would try just to exclusively feed over the next few days. I am sure it is something that will pass as it is very common.

jojo76 Fri 29-Jul-05 20:49:49

Hi Magscat, not a naive question at all, and thanks so much for your replies, my sister is also a childminder and our mum is our assistant, so i do have the possibility of getting them to watch the little girl while i feed, and i think thats what i will have to do and see if it helps, but im not sure it will though as he does the same thing in a darkened quiet room sometimes too!!! arggghh!! He doesnt seem overly unsettled or like he is absolutely starving though, i dont think, he is waking more in the night though so probably is hungry....
I have been trying to pump loads during the day too, to try and increase my supply, do you think this would help?
Blonde in london, thanks for your reply too, I have always done one sided feeding, but have tried swapping him over now, which does help , he goes for the first bit of milk (the quencher??) in both boobs but doesnt stay on for the rest of it, so not sure if it really helps or not....

LittleStarsweeper Fri 29-Jul-05 20:52:28

Get the bottle out. Youve done the good stuff and given him a good start. I had a terrible time feeding DS and it was a relief to swap for the bottle. I got my life back!

Ruthiebaby Fri 29-Jul-05 21:57:05

For what it's worth, my sons feeding suddenly changed when he was around 4 months. He went from taking half hour, sometimes more, to having only 5 mins worth and his weight is/was fine.

He also sometimes stops and screams, I put him on the other breast if this happens which always does the trick.

alux Fri 29-Jul-05 22:01:27

my dd started to feed quickly at @ 10 wks too. Now she takes no more than 15 mins at night feeds and that is both breasts. especially in the evening I need to switch breasts to keep her going as anything takes her off. someone walking in the door for eg.

jojo76 Sat 30-Jul-05 10:38:09

thanks girls, its reassuring to know that its not just mine that does this, I think that it is the bottle that has put him off, im going to persevere...swapping sides does seem to help, as does thinking calm thoughts!!! I have decided to go to breast feeding clinic on monday just to talk to them about it too, hopefully that will be some help, and if he still is losing weight when i get him weighed, i will try the feeder bottle i think and see if that helps. I suppose when hes weaned, which wont be too long, it wont be quite so much of a worry. thanks for all your help everyone, im hoping that its just a phase and he will be less stressed while feeding soon!!!!

Magscat Sat 30-Jul-05 20:13:10

Hi JoJo. Is he actually losing weight or just not gaining as much as he was? My dd went from gaining 8oz pw to just 3oz pw when she went through her worst distractable phase - overall though her weight gain was fine. It's normal for it to go in fits & starts.

I'm sure the expressing will help boost your supply, or at least maintain it while he's not feeding as much and hopefully the clinic will be able to make some helpful suggestions & reassure you a bit. Good luck

hermykne Sat 30-Jul-05 20:54:40

my ds was 11lb 2 at birth and i fed him myself , in the beg probably up to 4mths maybe 5, he had lots of feeds but it had settled into a patern, sometimes it be 3hrs sometimes less,
he lost weight and by 6 months he was lean looking, although still breast feed and on solids,
he is still breastfeed, 1 today, and a lean little boy, but as healthy looking and happy, at 8mths i recuded his feeds to a morn and even one, thus freeing me a bit, and he took to water after 2/3 wks for during the day,
he has a good appetite, always eats well in the evening, and sleeps thru from 7.30 til 6.30

you can breastfeed and your baby will lose weight but it DOESNT mean he is unwell or unhealthy.

as kate bush sings " dont give up"

i am not against the bottle once a day either, good idea imo, if he'll take it, mine did occasionally

jojo76 Sat 30-Jul-05 21:13:26

hermekne, thanks, that does help alot, any advice is greatly appreciated and im glad to hear your little one is doing well, i think my ds is going to be a lean one too. I think he is just going to be tall and slim like his dad! My ds has definitely gone to 3-4 hour feeds more or less, although now i am making sure i feed him 3 hourly, but before this he was feeding on demand, which was loads, so maybe thats why his weight was gaining more in the beginning. I like the bottle in the evening, it gives me a break and dp a chance to spend time with him, and also i dont have to worry if i have to leave him with anyone for a couple of hours as i know they can feed him if hes starving! I dont really want to stop giving it...
thanks for your advice, it really encourages me not to lose hope!
magscat, he was 11.2 at eight weeks and was 13.3 at nineteen weeks. so he has gained but it has really slowed down. the health visitor said it wasnt a drastic drop in weight gain but that we did need to do something about it. She recons it is just a hiccup and that it will pick up again, i had a tummy bug recently which i think may have affected my milk?
Today has been better, hes taken more milk, as ive been distracting him from crying by swapping sides, or walking around the room with him and them putting him back on again. It has been much better as i have just let him stop when he wants and go back for more when he wants rather than stressing about getting him to latch straight back on again. It will be interesting to see if he has gained weight when i go back, and hopefully the bf clinic will be encouraging. The expressing has helped to increase my supply too, so thats good, i think....
thanks again for your help everyone, ill let you know how it all goes at the clinic on monday!

Magscat Mon 01-Aug-05 20:32:32

How'd it go Jojo?

jojo76 Thu 04-Aug-05 22:31:08

hi Magscat, thanks so muh for asking! this week has been manic and this is the first chance ive had to come on here!!
well , it was really helpful on monday at the clinic, the midwife there watched him feed, and although she agrees he is feeding really fast, she thinks that he is probably getting what he needs. so she said what you all did really! she also thought that he should be started on solids in a couple of weeks if his weight drops again, rather than adding more formula ( hes goingto be 21 weeks next week , so i suppose he wont be far off six months...). I feel happier just having had someone actually see him feed who knows what they are talking about and it was just good to be told "dont worry youre doing fine!" iykwim!
thanks again for remembering me, magscat! xxxxx

CheekyGirl Sat 06-Aug-05 17:33:11

This is exactly what my ds, now 7mths, was like from about 3mths. Now, I mainly feed him when he's going for a nap. If he falls asleep on the breast, he'll feed for longer. He only has one feed a day when fully awake, and it lasts about 3-5mins. I know he's getting quite a bit as my let down is fast and I can hear him gulping. When he starts to fuss, I just take him straight off. What worked at your ds's age was swapping sides as soon as fussing began and then switching back to the first one again, iyswim. Good luck!!

loupylou Sat 06-Aug-05 19:49:24

I'm new to mumsnet, but bf my dd, and did some bf workshops. But i acknowledge everyone's different and different things suit different people. Have you tried feeding him facing the other way, or lying down. By the other way, i mean as if holding a rugby ball, tucking him under your arm. Well done for carrying on, as he's obviously becoming more alert he's obviously thriving well on it.

Magscat Sat 06-Aug-05 20:18:10

Hi JoJo -Sorry I've not caught up with your post for a few days & really glad things went well at hte clinic.

Have to go again now as dd has just woken up & is crying!

Magscat Sat 06-Aug-05 20:45:23

Fed her again for the 3rd time this evening - don't know what's up with that girl - one day i'm worried she's not feeding enough and now she's feeding non-stop (including every couple of hours at night .

Growth spurts I guess!

jojo76 Sun 07-Aug-05 21:35:31

Hi Magscat, poor you feeding every two hours at nights, thats a nightmare!! Are they long feeds? I bet you you have that newborn tiredness going on at the moment!! Mine has settled a bit more at night, I have been giving the top up formula at 11, but to be honest he doesnt always finish it. Whereas i used to give a bottle of ebm at bedtime, around sevenish, i now try to get him to have a long bf instead! he did 40 mins tonghtyayyy!!!! Then he woke up screaming twenty mins later and convinced myself it might be because he was starving as he hadnt had enough - ugh its like you said youre paranoid one way or another about them, hes gone off now though so i think he was actually just a bit over tired. HOW KNOWS??!! has your dd settled down now? How old is she? Dont you love the way they just keep you guessing, bless em!
Loupylou , thanks for the advice, i thought about the rugby hold but he is a bit of a bean pole, i mean hes quite long, so i dont know how im going to position him, i might give it a go though, its worth a try!!
Cheekygirl, i have started to swap him, like you say, and it definitely does help, just means that if im out, i end up with both boobs out if i forget to cover one up
Well, we will see on wednesday how his weight is, and hopefully I will get good news and find something else to be neurotic about! thanks for all the advice girls, youre all fab!

Magscat Mon 08-Aug-05 20:07:44

Hi Jojo. DD is 7 months and has never been a good sleeper -big shock after ds who was a total angel sleep-wise from about 7 weeks!
She doesn't sleep much in the day either.

She was a bit better the last couple of nights - e.g. last night she fed 6.30pm, 10pm, midnight then 5am (but didn't settle after initial feed so i went back in at 5.30am).

She had been only feeding for 10 mins or so at night but the last few days it's been 20 mins at least. Plus she's had 3 meals a day plus milk feeds - I'm pretty sure this is a growth spurt following a lean period where she had a cold and her appetite really dipped.

Just hoping the feeding/sleeping will settle down soon. But then we're on holiday in a caravan next week so she'll probably be all over the place then too.

I've booked the week after the holiday off work and I might try some controlled crying if I'm feeling brave!

Lizita Mon 08-Aug-05 20:19:22

You're bringing back lots of memories for me! My dd is almost 2 now.

I had a very similar experience after she was 3 months old, like she was in pain or something. I never found out what it was, she just eventually stopped fussing. I put it down to teething (would've been odd cos no teeth came!) or ear ache. So stressful though huh.
My dd throughout babyhood did not gain weight properly, she went down and down the lines iyswim. She has a pretty tiny appetite and now I just think that she was big when she was born but not her natural weight cos of the amount i ate when i was pregnant I think those weight charts are designed just to stress us all out...particularly bf mums.

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