IS MY SON A FUSSY BREAST FEEDER??

Jennifer - posted on 01/31/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Brief history:

My son is 19weeks old and has always been a bit fussy while feeding(not 100% sure why). My paediatrician put him on Losec(an adult reflux meds) to treat his 'silent reflux' and he is still on them until 6mos.

He had really bad wind as a baby and i could never get him to burp and he used to arch his back and pull off the breast etc. In my personal opinion I think he was getting too much foremilk causing belly aches and he was also choking on my fast letdown and swallowing air.



**My issue today**

Some of his feeds are relaxed and peaceful (maybe half of them) and he happily drinks away while some feeds he pulls off after the first 30 seconds then goes back on. He will do this up to 10 times (like a woodpecker) then finally cries and doesn't want to feed. He doesn't seem to want a feed when he wakes up at 7am even if his last feed was at 10:30pm. Sometimes he will take a feed a couple hours later but I usually have to stand and pat his bum to 'distract him' from pulling off. I have tried to see if there is anything consistent such as certain times of the day, tiredness, breasts too full etc but nothing adds up. sometimes during his bedtime feed he will take 30 minutes on both breasts and be really relaxed and other times I have to keep taking breaks and putting him back on so he has a feed. I am feeding on demand if he asks for it but I am also attempting a schedule which spaces feeds out:

7am, 11am, 3pm, 6:30om, 10:30pm(dream feed), and night feeds if he wakes. Sometimes he doesn't pull off straight away so I thought he was being impatient with my next letdown as he now handles my fast letdown. I have also wondered if I have enough milk? I seem to but haven't pumped to check. Sometomes he will feed happily on the opposite breast if I offer it and other times he is not interested with anything. I stop to burp him frequently but surely he doesn't need a burp the first 20 seconds he feeds??



Has anyone had similar issues with breast feeding? I feel like I am turning him into a grazer the last couple of days because I am constantly offering him a feed because he is fussy and his feed times are so short. If I feel him drain my breast I know its a good feed:)

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Nicole - posted on 02/01/2010

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I like that "woodpecker" description! HA! I know my son does this and it usually is a disctraction of some kind or he isn't hungry or he was hungry and he's satisfied. I was really stuck on feeding him for the same amount of time spaced evenly throughout the day until I realized that nobody really eats that way. I wondered why I thought he should. It was really hard, but I tried to turn my brain off and just listen to his cues instead. As it turns out, his meals all vary in length from day to day and even vary by time somewhat. He might have a light breakfast one day and go for the full buffet the next morning. His appetite fluctuates quite a bit. Plus, I am sure he is draining me much more quickly than before. He is a professional eater. On nights where he sleeps 7 hours straight, I wake up feeling quite firm. He guzzles for only a matter of minutes and I feel very soft and emptied. Maybe your boy has gotten more efficient as well.

This whole overthinking thing has been my biggest hurdle in breastfeeding. We can't measure it, or even see it going into our babies. I can't get anything with a pump at all so sometimes I sit there baffled by my chubby baby growing on the phantom milk...

April - posted on 02/01/2010

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your son is just about 5 months old? it could be that he's going into the "distractable stage". Around the 5th month, babies start to experiment a lot more with mobility and can do more than just lay there and eat. Some babies are already crawling by 5 months and sitting up a few short weeks later.

Jenny - posted on 02/01/2010

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Do you think it could be related to what you are eating? The food we eat can change the taste of the breast milk, maybe he just doesn't like something you are eating? Or it could be giving him gas. I noticed there were some things that would bother baby that didn't bother me. Some offenders can be onions, garlic, broccoli and even drinking a lot of milk.
I like the idea of writing down the times he eats and coming up with a schedule based on that. Also I noticed my babies would start getting very distractable at that age also. Any little noise was enough to make them pull off the breast. Hope it helps, over all I'd say if he is healthy and growing don't worry too much about it.

Hannah - posted on 02/01/2010

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My baby can be fussy sometimes too, she will often only feed during the day if I sit in the chair in her bedroom where it is really quiet and there is nothing to distract her.

And she is really particular about which side she feeds on, it sounds comical, but I think I have a fast flow on one side and a slow flow on the other, and it depends what mood she is in.

Sometimes she will wake up in the morning and refuse the breast right up until lunchtime, and I am thinking wow surely she must be really hungry by now? But I just let her do what she feels and like you, have always just fed on demand.

But I hear you about wanting to get on a schedule, I am going back to work, and need some kind of feeding routine in place for the babysitters to follow.



I'm just wondering how you decided on the times you want to put in place for his feeds? They sound like they are well spaced out, but I am wondering if this idea might work for you:

Instead of trying to get your son to follow the schedule you have set out, why not spend a few days doing 'don't offer, don't refuse' and write down the times he is getting hungry and asking to be fed? The pattern that emerges might give you the schedule he wants to follow.

I know I have tried to feed my baby in the past when she hasn't really been hungry and she has done that 'woodpecker' thing you described, she sometimes suprises me how long she can go without getting hungry.

Hope some of this helps you!



PS I was also guilty of just whipping her onto my breast every time she seemed fussy, but she was actually wanting to play or was just getting bored. She suddenly grew up without me realising it and wanted more than just breastfeeding!

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Hannah - posted on 02/05/2010

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That's a good point Ink, maybe some of the time he is thirsty not hungry. I was suprised at how much my baby liked water from her sippy cup, as I had never considered water as being necessary as they get a drink from your foremilk.

But considering his age, perhaps he would enjoy this? And it might also help you space your feeds out, to just offer a bit of water inbetween feeds.

Hope things are settling down for you a bit, let us know how you get on.

[deleted account]

Breastfeeding is a mystery, and there is almost nothing carved in stone.
Only a mother can interpret her child's behavior, only you can find the true answer to what is happening here.
To ME... it sounds like the baby is distracted. My boy would do the woodpecker thing too, (starts hurting after a few times doesn't it!) What worked for me was to continue feeding on demand, but to start dragging it out a bit. When my boy was showing his first signs of asking for milk, I would hold off for ten minutes or so. Find a distraction and see if you can't build the hunger just a bit more. Snacking is a HUGE hurdle that all breastfeeding moms go through, it's very frustrating and can make you feel like you don't have enough milk, the baby doesn't want to feed, and this can snowball into larger problems, like depression.
You will find an answer here, I promise. My answer came when I decided, maybe he's not hungry, maybe he was thirsty and just wanted a sip. Maybe he is trying to build his confidence by proving to himself that the milk will always be there for him, just for asking.

Tami - posted on 02/01/2010

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Love the phantom milk comment! For me, self doubt was my biggest enemy. I was so afraid I was doing it 'wrong', that he was grazing, that he was not getting enough, that he was getting too much, that I would eat something that he would react to... somebody had a post about mommy guilt on here, but my big issue is self doubt. I'm always questioning whether I'm doing it right. :-)

The advice is all good though, listen to your baby, feed when he needs it, and somehow it just all seems to work out.

Jennifer - posted on 02/01/2010

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Yay! He had a mini feed this morning at 7am then was grumpy at 8:30 so I offered a feed and he had a huge one and drained both breasts. He seems ot go off and on the breast so I am going to try to not think about numbers so much and just let him be. If he is hungry he will let me know:) He is definitely feeding faster and is easily distracted! Just when you think you know your baby they change!

Courtney - posted on 02/01/2010

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Try feeding in an area that's quiet and wouldn't cause any distractions. My son does the "woodpecker" thing when there are people talking, or the tv's on. When my son was younger and would not want to nurse, I've swaddled him and tried nursing (Sometimes it worked, sometimes not).

Jennifer - posted on 02/01/2010

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Thanks Hannah:) Today he only had what I would consider a good feed once. He had drinks at other times and I am offering a small amount of cooled, boiled water between feeds because it is so hot where we live. I don't want him to get dehydrated. It is weird because if I do a dream feed at 10:30pm(pick him up asleep and pop him on the boob) and he empties both breasts one after the other? Tonight at his bedtime feed (which is usually one of the bigger feeds) he was peckish and kept pulling off and making a weird face as if my milk was sour. I was at my wits end because even after burping and cuddkes etc he did not want any so I offered him a small amount of formula (1st time ever!!) to see if he was hungry. He hated the taste at first then drank a bit (no more than 30mls) then when I pulled it away he reached out for the bottle?? I gave him a cuddle and took the bottle away and put him to bed. I feel guilty. I do not want to formula feed him unless someone else was watching him and they got desperate to feed him. If he refuses to feed tomorrow morning I am going to pump to see how much milk I can get. I haven't done it in awhile becuase i had no need to. I am unsure of how my milk supply will handle his lengthy time between some feeds?? There is definitely milk there but they arent as gigantic as they used to be (I read somewhere that they settle down but the volume of milk still remains). I am sure i am worrying for nothing but it is so hard to tell if they are getting enough.



I got the routine froma book called Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall. I read a few baby books and hers was a gentle approach to teaching self settling and getting into a routine. She has flexible options listed to suit your babies needs. He never used ti nasp during the days and was really over tired and grumpy and now he naps:)



I was thinking about writing down his feed times and waiting for him to ask for a feed. He used to be ravenous in the mornings but now not so much. If he wakes at 5am and I give him a 'night feed' he drinks lots. I am tryingto avoid distractions but he looks at everything!! Even shadows or lights switches etc.

Jennifer - posted on 01/31/2010

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He is 7.15kgs and has chubby little legs so I am 99.9% sure he is getting enough milk and he has wet nappies. He poos every 5-7 days and it is like soft peanut butter. He was feeding fine for quite awhile and this has just started up in the past couple of weeks.

Jennifer - posted on 01/31/2010

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He is 7.15kgs and has chubby little legs so I am 99.9% sure he is getting enough milk and he has wet nappies. He poos every 5-7 days and it is like soft peanut butter. He was feeding fine for quite awhile and this has just started up in the past couple of weeks.

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