Breastfeeding Question: Why is my 3 wk old pulling off my breast every couple sucks?
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Elizabeth - posted on 09/26/2009
My bubba does that too, and she does it for a few of reasons. My little one is 12 weeks old, and I now look and see what else she is doing/what else is going on, and most of the time we work it out.
My aunt is a nurse/La Leche League, and after watching her feed last week she (my aunt) commented that if she's coming off and going back on without showing any signs of distress, then not to worry about it too much. Bubba will sometimes cry, sometimes not, so now I don't worry if she doesn't worry. Sometimes bubba now comes on and off and looks at me to grin, so I know she's just having fun (at 3 weeks, your little one only has crying to communicate anything to you).
If she is upset, I check to see if she needs her nose cleared. A little bit of saline solution or breast milk up her nose makes her really squeal, but it helps unblock her nose and then I use a baby nose aspirator (or my mouth - ew!) to help suck the mucus out of her nose).
I also look to see if she's drawing her knees up to her chest when she feeds as that usually means she's windy and needs a good burp. Also, if her little belly feels almost 'hard' and she just won't burp then she might need a good baby-fart to make herself comfy. I've found that putting her on her play mat and helping to cycle her legs and/or giving her my pinkie finger to suck helps move wind from her intestines and soften up her belly. And sometimes, I've found that feeding her while standing up works best (a bit fiddly to manage at first - helps to have someone else nearby if you're worried about dropping her!) - I think maybe there's less pressure on her belly as I hold her differently. Our bubba is often calmed down by white noise, like the sound of our clothes dryer, so a few times I've taken her into the laundry until she's calm, then latched her on, and when she's demonstrated that she's not going to come on and off, I slowly walk back to the couch I normally feed her on and slowly sit down again (spending an entire feed in the laundry - not my idea of comfy!).
I also have very fast letdown (on one side in particular), so sometimes leaning backwards, or feeding her while lying down on my side, or changing which breast I offer her helps. I've also noticed that bubba is less worried by fast letdown when she's sleepier. Sometimes, even though she's obviously hungry, I can't get her to feed without crying until she's had a bit of a nap, the poor sausage. So I'll take her for a walk or just hold her until she's calmed down.
If bubba has sicked up and then swallowed it back (poor thing!) she's also pretty fussy for the next couple of hours - seems to upset her to swallow (and I know that if I've thrown up, my throat is a bit sore too).
In summary, those are a few of the reasons I've found with my bubba. I know that thrush is also meant to make babies fuss when feeding.
I hope that one or two of those helps you a bit. You'll come to work out what your baby is trying to tell you, but it can be very upsetting when she seems to be starving and yet doesn't want to eat. She's not rejecting you or your milk, she's just frustrated by something and isn't old enough to really know what she wants. Good luck!
Elizabeth - posted on 09/28/2009
Thanks Lynlee :D - Lisa's situation sounds very similar to mine, so I happen to have done a lot of reading on it! Our little one is having another bit of a love-hate relationship with feeds at the moment. It's 50-50 whether she'll wail at my boob, or grin maniacally at it. Fortunately we've got over that 6wk hump, and she sleeps very well at night (so I do), meaning I can see the light at the end of each of those dark, unhappy feed tunnels. I recall the 3 week mark as being particularly miserable for all of us because we really couldn't envisage it ever getting better. But all those unhappy feeds and nights of colic were made up for by her first smile. So hang in there Lisa! :D
I don't think it's correct to say that babies that feed almost constantly aren't getting anything. They're maybe just taking longer to get what they need, or maybe they just really enjoy what they are getting - even if they're not very good at expressing it yet. At 3 weeks old, the only real pleasures in life have got to be snuggles and feeding - so no wonder they want so much of both! My little girl was less overwhelmingly interested in food once she had other things to entertain her - I thank my mother every day for the play mat with accompanying mirror that she bought us.
Lynlee - posted on 09/28/2009
What great advice Elizabeth has given! Don't worry too much about your baby feeding for extended periods of time. Our son would feed for 1.5 hours each time and feed about 12 times a day to begin with. Your baby may be having a growth spurt so it is normal for her to be feeding constantly. Breastfeeding definately gets easier. It took about 3.5 months for us for suss it out and I ended up feeding him until he was two! Once babies hit the three month mark, all of a sudden they start feeding much more efficiently so keep going!
Elizabeth - posted on 09/28/2009
My little one will have days like that, but they're getting less frequent (she's 12 weeks now and is in the process of discovering and sucking on her hands). Partly, for my girl, it has been those occasional growth spurts, but I also think she's not what would be called an 'efficient' feeder - and she definitely will keep comfort sucking for as long as I let her.
She might just be upping your milk supply (in which case you're doing just the right thing - as frustrating as it might seem). My little one will sometimes give me hungry cues when she's got some gas that she just can't shift - sore belly and hungry belly feel pretty much the same, after all.
It might be worth finding a lactation consultant, nearby La Leche League etc, and get them to check out bubba's latch. If bubba isn't latched on as well as she could be, then apparently it takes longer for her to get all the food she wants.
La Leche League also have something on their website about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance - the theory is that if bubba will want to keep feeding until she gets a certain amount of the fatty hindmilk, and sometimes they get more of the thirst-quenching foremilk instead, so they just keep on feeding. Their website recommended offering the same breast over any feeds in a 2 hr period, as the longer bubba sucks at one breast, the more substantial hind-milk they get and the more likely they are to be satisfied:
This article I found really helpful: http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVSep...
Good luck! And nursing definitely gets easier at around that 6 week mark, if you can stick it out (there are sometimes still some ups and downs after that, but not as bad).
Lisa - posted on 09/28/2009
I'm still quite frusterated.....as of today a friend of mine was over and she was commenting on how she's never seen a baby "on the boob" for so long. Yesterday i fed my baby from 8:00 am in the morning untill 12:00 pm noon when she finally wanted to go to sleep. I've tried everything everyone has told me......I'm really starting to worry that something is wrong. I spend almost every hour of the day feeding her because she's constantly rooting if she's not sleeping or going for a walk in the sling. She was a pretty small baby at birth,..6 lbs, but also healthy and the doctor keeps telling me to just feed her when she wants, but i haven't had a minute when she DIDN'T want to eat. I've been told that switching to a bottle would be a better way of doing things but i'm not sure i really want to do that yet. I need advice.....i don't want to make the wrong decision. Do all babies eat this much? I read stories about women who feed every couple of hours or even an hour in between......sometimes she eats for 4 hours with a few burps in between!! Help.
Elizabeth - posted on 09/26/2009
I found feeding really hard for the 1st 6 weeks but it does get easier for you both if you can stick it out. There is nothing cuter than bubs grinning at you (or your boob!) during a feed! It's stiill upsetting when bubba gets upset during a feed, but I just remind myself that it's a challenge to work through.
Also, if you offer her lots of feeds and she's having lots of wet/soiled nappies and otherwise seems healthy, you don't need to worry about having enough milk.
On La Leche League website it recommends offering the same breast for any feeds within a 2-3 hr period if you have fast letdown as this apparently gives her the chance to get more of the fatty hind milk that you make, and also gives her some feeds with a slower milk flow (as the milk flow slows down as it's siphoned off your breast).
My bubba seems to prefer one breast when she's very hungry (fast side) and the other when she's really just wanting a bit of a comfort feed, and sometimes she'll have been fussing like crazy and then settles right down for no obvious reason when I change sides. I'm kinda hoping her first words are 'left' and 'right' just so I know!
Lisa - posted on 09/26/2009
Thank you for your encouraging post. I've wondered about the fast letdown thing since i started feeding her ...because she tends to get really gassy all the time. Sometimes she cries and cries untill she can poop, and my doctor said not to worry about it because this happens to newborns! I asked him about me trying gripe water and ovol....and he also told me that neither of those things really help. I did try the ovol drops and they seem to help her get the burps or farts out faster without as much crying. ...I really want to keep breastfeeding my baby and I'm hoping it gets a bit easier ...although she is doing quite well, and wants to eat a lot. I was initially worried she wasn't getting enough, but noticed that she's got milk dripping down her chin sometimes when she's finished so that can't be it either. I guess like you said, it's just got to be worked out between us. Thanks!
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