Having a rough time right now and in need of support!!!!

Valerie - posted on 04/19/2009 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I have been so stressed out with breastfeeding lately. Amarah (5 months) has been so fussy at the breast for what seems like a month or longer. She started getting distracted at around 4 months which I know is common at that age. But this has become more than just distracted. Just about anytime I go to feed her she starts screaming bloody murder. As soon as I get ready to feed her and lay her on the boppy she immediately tenses her whole body up and prepares to resist me. Today was the absolute worst! We were both in tears. Is this what a nursing strike is? She still nurses and I'm not uncomfortable or having to pump. I thought a nursing strike was when they flat out refused to nurse. Sometimes when she is nursing she starts rubbing really hard on the side of her face. I thought it might be teething but have yet to see an actual tooth coming through. Can they be teething for a month without any sign of a tooth? Thought it might be an ear infection but took her to the dr. and nothing. When she does nurse, she's constantly pulling off and crying or she will nurse but whine and groan and cry while she's nursing. A couple people in my other groups suggested GERD but isn't she too old for that? And even when she's not nursing, she is still super fussy. She doesn't like her bouncy seat. Doesn't like her jumperoo. Doesn't like just being on the floor. It's like I have a fussy newborn! And what really puzzles me is that she is sleeping absolutely fine! If it was teething or something else, wouldn't she be waking up throughout the night? I know that me being stressed out is not helping the situation. I just don't know what's going on with her or what to do anymore! I feel like I'm forcing her to nurse and I'm afraid she'll start rejecting the breast altogether!

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Karen - posted on 04/22/2009

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I would do a little more looking into GERD. This happened to with my then 3.5 month old baby (now 5 month). GERD symptoms apparently peak at 4 months. The reason I say this is you mentioned she doesn't like her bouncy seat, being laid down etc. If your baby does have GERD then these things would make the pain worse.

I would suggest holding her upright (and calm) for about 30 mins after feeding, having many small feedings, sleeping her on a slight incline, and cutting the dairy out of your diet.

These things worked for me and now my happy baby is back.

Good luck to you!

Chelsea - posted on 04/22/2009

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This sounds like a textbook case of thrush to me. Common signs of thrush:
1- fussy at breast
2- pulls on and off the breast while eating
3- white spots in infants mouth (NOT ALWAYS)
4- sore nipples (NOT ALWAYS)

The way to rule this out/ treat it is so simple. Just go to your local pharmacy and pick up Gingen Violet. Apply to your nipples and you babies mouth twice a day for up to four days. There are no side effects aside from the very small percent of infants who get a little bit of a sore mouth (not painful). This will do no harm as it's natural if your baby doesn't have thrush.

If it turns out not to be thrush I would say that it is a nursing strike. There are many things that can help a nursing strike.
1- Praise your baby for latching on and hold their attention by singing and talking through the feed
2- Do not feed a bottle unless you have to if you're away from the baby
3- Nursing while walking
4- Place the baby on your breast above your nipple and they will usually latch on their own
5- Nurse in the bath

If it's not thrush I would suggest that you contact your local lactation consultant to discuss the normal course of a nursing strike. REMEMBER THIS WILL PASS!!! Don't stress your baby will not starve herself.

Anna - posted on 04/22/2009

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I'm so sorry you are having such a difficult time! My little one did the exact same thing around 4 or 5 months. He didn't completely refuse the breast, but he would arch his back and scream, eat a little then push away, so I started offering the breast less. He was EBF until about 5 1/2 months, and I always fed him on demand. I would offer the breast just about anytime he seemed a little bit interested. He began showing the same signals for hungry as tired, which really confused me. I would bring him to the breast when he was actually tired, then he would fight me like he was fighting a nap. I thought he was fighting the breast, but I figured out that he was sleepy, not hungry. I started to pay a little more attention to the clock and wait if it seemed he may not be hungry yet, and fed him as soon as he woke from a nap. It worked for us. It seems like you have received a lot of suggestions and I'm sure you will figure out what is going on with your little one soon. Best of luck to you!

Samara - posted on 04/22/2009

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Just thought I would add that my health nurse told me that when babies are teething it really hurts them to be on their backs. It puts a lot of pressure on their ears, and hurts them. If you use some sort of pillow that lays her down flat perhaps that is the issue? Otherwise good luck. I know my son fought me when there was something he wanted to look at, and even now at 14 months he still gets distracted very easily and fights to get off to look at things. I hope you can persist and that she gets through this phase and starts eating nicely again. It is so annoying and frustrating when they muck around when you want them to nurse. And it definitely hurts your feelings when you think they don't want you.

Anna - posted on 04/22/2009

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have you tried a la leche meeting? i know they really helped me when i was having problems. good luck and best wishes. no one ever tells you how hard it's going to be. take care.

Lauren - posted on 04/22/2009

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i have a couple of suggestions: 1) keep in mind that babies can sense your tension, if you are stressed when it is time to nurse, she will respond by being stressed and tense, just try and relax and have it quiet with no distractions, play some soft music if it helps 2) it may be teething because they can have teething symptoms months before the first tooth shows up 3) i have seen some people suggest supplementing, but keep in mind that breastfeeding is supply and demand so supplementing can hurt your milk supply, if she is hungry she wouldn't fuss while nursing it would be afterward.

April - posted on 04/22/2009

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Quoting Valerie:
its the same thing as baby tylenol :)


April, thanks for sharing your story with me!  I haven't tried the Orajel yet but I think I just might have to give it a try.  What's tempra?  I really hope this is just teething.  Otherwise, I really think I might just go insane.  I want my baby back!!!!





Quoting April:

Hey Valerie,
First of all I'm sorry to hear that your going through this. My baby just recently went through almost the exact same thing about a month ago. He's 6 1/2 months now .He also did the whole fighting me and pulling away screaming whenever I tried to nurse him , and it also lasted for over a month,and as a result he started losing weight because absolutly hates bottles. ( I waited to long to introduce it) He is EBF. ( I fed him a little rice cereal and EBM using a dropper during the day) .He was also fine at night. He did although wake to nurse quite a bit at night waking to eat to make up for the lost day feedings . I know how you feel,. Its hard I know, but don't give up sweetie you'll get through it :D Whenever i tried to breastfeed Lucas he would also scream and fight with me and tense up, with his back stiff . It was very frustrating and i cried as well right along with him. I also thought he had an ear infection but also wasn't the case. I thought he might have had reflux. Its apparently not very common in breastfed babies, but isn't unheard of , maybe that might the case??.. My sons pediatrition prescribed lucas zantac, but I'm not sure if it helped. I know that in my case it was in fact the teething, and the sucking made it worse for him. Once his tooth finally cut through he was totally fine. Thank God... ya I found gripe water, a little oragel. and some tempra. quite helpful. :) Good Luck and I hope I was helpful
-april





 





 

Melanie - posted on 04/22/2009

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We went through this too! It is soooo frustrating, I know. We got out of it by going back to basics. I have a toddler too, and so my hubby had to step in and handle him for a weekend while my little one and I had a "naked weekend", i.e. skin-to skin for 3 days straight non-stop. She slowly got back on, but it was tough. She doesn't take a bottle so she was losing weight. Once she got back on, she would only nurse at home in a quiet room. I managed this by going against everything I stand for and popped in a DVD for my son and gave him snacks and told him to be quiet for mommy (desparate times call for desparate measures). Little by little, I introduced more background noise and now she's much better. I think I got so much into a routine that she was like "hey remember me!"

Carra - posted on 04/22/2009

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I know this is a hard time, but don't give up! Your baby may have gas, and swallowing air while crying/latching makes it worse. I have used gripe water for both of my boys and it works wonders. It is all natural, and has tummy soothing ingredients like ginger and fennel. It is available at most drug stores. Also, try pedaling their legs like they were on a bicycle and gently push their knees towards their chest to try to expel some gas. That helped my little ones. This too shall pass, we are all here for you!!

Valerie - posted on 04/22/2009

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Thank you so much for your words of support!  I do think it's got to be teething.  I took her to the dr. for the 2nd time in 2 weeks just to rule out an ear infection and the dr. told me she has a slight upper respiratory infection and it looks like she's teething slightly.  I think she just said that for my peace of mind. ;) I'm hanging in there!


Quoting Nicole:

Ever since my 5 month old son started teething about a month ago, the only time I can get him to nurse without fighting me is when he wakes up between 2-4 am. I think it is because he's still so sleepy. With my daughter (now 2) I nursed her with no problem from day one until her 1st birthday. So this is hard for me...I would rather just nurse him when we are together. But I've spent too many days crying over him not taking to the breast that I have given up on even offering it to him during the day. He seems to like the bottle better. So I pump 4 times a day, and he recieves that for his meals. It hurts me that he refuses to nurse, but I'm glad I'm still able to give him the best milk out there. I'm happy though that he at least takes to me once a day. I'll take whatever he is willing to give. Them I can still get the closeness. I know it is frustrating, but we all get through it somehow. Good Luck!!


 

Valerie - posted on 04/22/2009

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Thank you!  I keep telling myself that.  I'm 99.9% sure it's teething but there's always that little bit of self-doubt that wonders if it has something to do with me and that's not helping the situation.  I just need to be tough and hang in there and this too shall pass!


Quoting Jennifer:

Funny I read this its just a phase. DD went through it and it stopped shortly after she turned 5 months old, it started when she was 4 months old.


 

[deleted account]

Ever since my 5 month old son started teething about a month ago, the only time I can get him to nurse without fighting me is when he wakes up between 2-4 am. I think it is because he's still so sleepy. With my daughter (now 2) I nursed her with no problem from day one until her 1st birthday. So this is hard for me...I would rather just nurse him when we are together. But I've spent too many days crying over him not taking to the breast that I have given up on even offering it to him during the day. He seems to like the bottle better. So I pump 4 times a day, and he recieves that for his meals. It hurts me that he refuses to nurse, but I'm glad I'm still able to give him the best milk out there. I'm happy though that he at least takes to me once a day. I'll take whatever he is willing to give. Them I can still get the closeness. I know it is frustrating, but we all get through it somehow. Good Luck!!

Jennifer - posted on 04/21/2009

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Funny I read this its just a phase. DD went through it and it stopped shortly after she turned 5 months old, it started when she was 4 months old.

Valerie - posted on 04/21/2009

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Thank you!  It's so nice to hear that there are others out there going through the same thing.  We'll get through this!  They're only little once, right?  Now I just need to keep telling myself that!


Quoting Elis:

Hi Valerie. My baby is going through the exact same thing. I don't know what it is. He is hungry, so I get ready to feed him and the minute his ear touches the bobby he screams bloody murder. He does exactly what your baby does. I worry a lot because he also hates bottles and I am paranoid he is not eating enough and may lose weight. I don't think it is an ear infection or GERD. My baby is 3 months old, but he seems to be content, he is just fussy when I try to feed him. I don't think he is teething, but I guess it could be a possibility. i am sorry I can't help you, but I had to share I am going through the same thing.


 

Valerie - posted on 04/21/2009

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April, thanks for sharing your story with me!  I haven't tried the Orajel yet but I think I just might have to give it a try.  What's tempra?  I really hope this is just teething.  Otherwise, I really think I might just go insane.  I want my baby back!!!!


Quoting April:

Hey Valerie,
First of all I'm sorry to hear that your going through this. My baby just recently went through almost the exact same thing about a month ago. He's 6 1/2 months now .He also did the whole fighting me and pulling away screaming whenever I tried to nurse him , and it also lasted for over a month,and as a result he started losing weight because absolutly hates bottles. ( I waited to long to introduce it) He is EBF. ( I fed him a little rice cereal and EBM using a dropper during the day) .He was also fine at night. He did although wake to nurse quite a bit at night waking to eat to make up for the lost day feedings . I know how you feel,. Its hard I know, but don't give up sweetie you'll get through it :D Whenever i tried to breastfeed Lucas he would also scream and fight with me and tense up, with his back stiff . It was very frustrating and i cried as well right along with him. I also thought he had an ear infection but also wasn't the case. I thought he might have had reflux. Its apparently not very common in breastfed babies, but isn't unheard of , maybe that might the case??.. My sons pediatrition prescribed lucas zantac, but I'm not sure if it helped. I know that in my case it was in fact the teething, and the sucking made it worse for him. Once his tooth finally cut through he was totally fine. Thank God... ya I found gripe water, a little oragel. and some tempra. quite helpful. :) Good Luck and I hope I was helpful
-april


 

Elis - posted on 04/20/2009

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Hi Valerie. My baby is going through the exact same thing. I don't know what it is. He is hungry, so I get ready to feed him and the minute his ear touches the bobby he screams bloody murder. He does exactly what your baby does. I worry a lot because he also hates bottles and I am paranoid he is not eating enough and may lose weight. I don't think it is an ear infection or GERD. My baby is 3 months old, but he seems to be content, he is just fussy when I try to feed him. I don't think he is teething, but I guess it could be a possibility. i am sorry I can't help you, but I had to share I am going through the same thing.

April - posted on 04/20/2009

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Hey Valerie,
First of all I'm sorry to hear that your going through this. My baby just recently went through almost the exact same thing about a month ago. He's 6 1/2 months now .He also did the whole fighting me and pulling away screaming whenever I tried to nurse him , and it also lasted for over a month,and as a result he started losing weight because absolutly hates bottles. ( I waited to long to introduce it) He is EBF. ( I fed him a little rice cereal and EBM using a dropper during the day) .He was also fine at night. He did although wake to nurse quite a bit at night waking to eat to make up for the lost day feedings . I know how you feel,. Its hard I know, but don't give up sweetie you'll get through it :D Whenever i tried to breastfeed Lucas he would also scream and fight with me and tense up, with his back stiff . It was very frustrating and i cried as well right along with him. I also thought he had an ear infection but also wasn't the case. I thought he might have had reflux. Its apparently not very common in breastfed babies, but isn't unheard of , maybe that might the case??.. My sons pediatrition prescribed lucas zantac, but I'm not sure if it helped. I know that in my case it was in fact the teething, and the sucking made it worse for him. Once his tooth finally cut through he was totally fine. Thank God... ya I found gripe water, a little oragel. and some tempra. quite helpful. :) Good Luck and I hope I was helpful
-april

Valerie - posted on 04/20/2009

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Thanks!  I have been trying the teething tablets and they don't seem to do much.  I don't believe anything has changed with me.  As far as pumping goes, everything I have read says that how much you get at pumping is no indication of how much baby is getting.  Babies are more advanced at getting milk than pumps are.  She's still having plenty of wet diapers so I don't think it's a supply issue.


Quoting Jessica:

my daughters teeth started to come in @ 3 mo but she did not have any teeth break through till she was 7 1/2 mo. have u tried any teething tablets or the like about 20 min befor you sit down to nurse. have u changed any thing Like deorderent, soap, perfum that can also tick them of pritty good. have u tryied to pump just to see how much milk that she is getting. you could have drided up and she is pist cause it isnot a confort anymore just a tease


 

Valerie - posted on 04/20/2009

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Thanks for the suggestions and I will definitely look into LLL!


Quoting Abbi:

What you might try is....as distasteful as it sounds.....try taking off your shirt, and just sit her on your lap facing you, and start with a little game she might like....bouncing her on your leg, like a "horsey". Maybe if she goes for the breast first BEFORE you offer it to her. Also, teething very well could be the culprit. Mine teethed and teethed and teethed without a sign of a tooth. No, she's not too early for teething or GERD. I know of babies that are born with teeth. Mine went thru breast rejection, but trust me, it doesn't last long. Just make sure you pump during this time to keep up your milk supply, bc usually when this happened, it wasn't a week later and they went thru a major growth spurt, and it was like they were camped out at the breast nonstop for 2 weeks. When your baby is hungry, she will eat. As long as she is getting SOME nutrition daily, these bouts will pass, and she will be just fine. Do you have a La Leche League in your home town? They are a GREAT support group! Look it up on the web for the nearest group to you. BEST OF LUCK!


 

Valerie - posted on 04/20/2009

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Thanks for the advice!  It's hard to find a quiet place to nurse.  I'm a SAHM and have an almost 3 year old very active and loud little boy as well as my little girl.  Finding a quiet place is nearly impossible!  Maybe it is gas.  We were using the gas drops when she was first born because it seemed like she was having tummy troubles but have since stopped using them.


Quoting Marcela:

Hi,
I know that can be really hard. Relax before nursing your baby and nurse in a quite place (no distractions only mommy time). I was using the boppy and my baby stopped liking it. I nurse him in our bed. He likes that. Maybe you can try it. Babies can have colic and fussy because of the gas. Try some tummy massages.
I hope this helps.


 

Valerie - posted on 04/20/2009

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Thanks for the advice but I would prefer not to give her bottles, especially with formula, because I don't want her to start prefering a bottle over the breast.  I'm a SAHM so I dont' really have a need to use a bottle other than for the occasional break.  She's still having plenty of wet diapers so I would say she is getting enough.


Quoting Jada:

Hi, I am sooooooooo sorry to hear about your experience and I know how frustraiting it can be. I was wonder while I was reading your post if it could be that she isn't getting enough to eat, I would suggest you try giving her a bottle of expressed breastmilk of formula but either is my experience (2 babies and very many nieces and nephews) it could be she is hungry. Take care nad send an update.


 

Jessica - posted on 04/20/2009

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my daughters teeth started to come in @ 3 mo but she did not have any teeth break through till she was 7 1/2 mo. have u tried any teething tablets or the like about 20 min befor you sit down to nurse. have u changed any thing Like deorderent, soap, perfum that can also tick them of pritty good. have u tryied to pump just to see how much milk that she is getting. you could have drided up and she is pist cause it isnot a confort anymore just a tease

Abbi - posted on 04/19/2009

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What you might try is....as distasteful as it sounds.....try taking off your shirt, and just sit her on your lap facing you, and start with a little game she might like....bouncing her on your leg, like a "horsey". Maybe if she goes for the breast first BEFORE you offer it to her. Also, teething very well could be the culprit. Mine teethed and teethed and teethed without a sign of a tooth. No, she's not too early for teething or GERD. I know of babies that are born with teeth. Mine went thru breast rejection, but trust me, it doesn't last long. Just make sure you pump during this time to keep up your milk supply, bc usually when this happened, it wasn't a week later and they went thru a major growth spurt, and it was like they were camped out at the breast nonstop for 2 weeks. When your baby is hungry, she will eat. As long as she is getting SOME nutrition daily, these bouts will pass, and she will be just fine. Do you have a La Leche League in your home town? They are a GREAT support group! Look it up on the web for the nearest group to you. BEST OF LUCK!

Marcela - posted on 04/19/2009

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Hi,

I know that can be really hard. Relax before nursing your baby and nurse in a quite place (no distractions only mommy time). I was using the boppy and my baby stopped liking it. I nurse him in our bed. He likes that. Maybe you can try it. Babies can have colic and fussy because of the gas. Try some tummy massages.

I hope this helps.

Jada - posted on 04/19/2009

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Hi, I am sooooooooo sorry to hear about your experience and I know how frustraiting it can be. I was wonder while I was reading your post if it could be that she isn't getting enough to eat, I would suggest you try giving her a bottle of expressed breastmilk of formula but either is my experience (2 babies and very many nieces and nephews) it could be she is hungry. Take care nad send an update.

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