Reluctant Eater

Trish - posted on 06/27/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )




My baby is 8 weeks old and is not putting on enough weight. She often refuses the breast and when she does feed she will only feed for very short time. We've been told to supplement her feedings with formula/expressed milk but that still is not working and she hates the bottle. All day she feeds every 1 1/2 to 2 hours but only for about 5 mins at a time. She has become quite a lazy sucker as well since i have a very fast letdown reflex and she doesn't have to work at it. As soon as she has to -she stops feeding. I've been using a haberman bottle when i try to top her up to improve sucking. Even with feeding all this time my milk supply is slowly decreasing and expressing after each feed is not really helping. Can anyone suggest how to get her to feed longer? I'm absolutely exhausted and have no time for anytihng but to feeding/expressing for her. i think she would sleep longer in between feeds if she fed for longer.


View replies by

Virginia - posted on 06/27/2009




Wow... there are three of us!! I went through the exact same thing, at the exact same time as well. And I can said, persistence is what helped. I did not go to a bottle because I knew that would be the end, and my lactation consultant just kept saying try formula. My doctor was concerned because my son was on the lower end of the weight gain spectrum, however, was voiding wonderfully!!! Really, poops and pees are how you need to judge what your daughter is getting, not weight gain. I know doctors and professionals give you all of this advice and can scare you by saying that your child is not gaining enough etc. but you need to trust that your body can do what it is supposed to for your daughter. My son went through this for quite a while before he seemed to settle into enjoying breastfedding and really being satisfied. He is what I call a frequent feeder. He metabolizes food quicker and just needs food more often. Research frequent feeders, this helped me. Also, he had major sucking problems because the hospital put him on formula and really confused his sucking reflex. I ended up going to a soother, that was rounded like the breast, but not too much like the breast because sometimes he just wanted to suck, not feed. This allowed him to go slightly longer in between feedings, therefore he was hungrier, and the sucking followed because he wanted more. Do not jump on the panic train just because the 'professionals' have because you are the professional for your child. You know best, and I trusted my instincts that my child was happy and safe and waited it out. I also did alot of research through the La Leche League and found alot of comforting information, including that first children are harder to breast feed because Mom's are lacking in confidence. Don't give up... my son is three months old, and is happy, developing well, has had several impressive growth spurts, is advandced as far as hitting milestones, and is now a great feeder. Still does not like to excessively suck... but doesn't need to because my breasts have adjusted to him and my let down is fast, but long now. Have trust that you are doing the right thing. I went on Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek from the pharmacy to try and increase my flow so that there would be more with each let down. Everything combined, I am a breast feeder for life!!!! Actually now that I am really thinking, I took formula in a syringe and would express just a little at the end of my let down so that the sucking and stimulation would stimulate a new let down. I also ended up going from breast to breast alot because each let down stimulates the next so when the let down finishes in one breast switch to the other right away. I had to keep checking to ensure my son was still swallowing and the minute he stopped I switched fast. It looked crazy, took work, and gave me sore arms, but worked at lengthening the let down and filling him up.

Melanie - posted on 06/27/2009




I went through the exact same problem when my baby was the exact same age as your baby. First, what do you mean by "enough" weight? It took me a while to realize that my baby has a quicker metabolism than some and just gains slower than other babies. Is your baby still voiding well (wet diapers) and seem happy/healthy? Is she generally hitting milestones (at 8 weeks that may be starting to smile)? My doctor was getting me to supplement too, but my baby also refused bottles. I was forcing her on the breast which made matters much worse. So here's what helped me TREMENDOUSLY:

1) Breathe. I know it is stressful, and your baby feels it. Your baby will NOT starve herself. Don't force your baby to the breast. Don't even hold her head there. Get back to basics: i.e. skin-to-skin in bed, in the bath, in a wrap or sling. It may take at least 3 days, but allow her 24/7 access to the breast but allow her to find the breast herself as opposed to you "giving" it to her. She will take it when she is hungry enough, believe me. Also, try feeding when she's sleepy.

2) Rent a hospital-grade pump of you don't own one. Pump every 2-3 hours (i.e. for every missed feed). Only a hospital-grade pump will keep up your supply, and you'll be so pleased at how fast a pump will be (10 minutes if you get a double pump!).

3) Forego the bottle---it will not bring her back to the breast, it will only teach her that there is another option. Yes, you must feed your baby. Try a cup or a syringe to feed her your expressed milk for now, at least until she's back on the breast regularly and without stress.

4) When she does take the breast, do breast compressions when the flow starts slowing down. Dr Jack Newman has great videos on YouTube on how to do a proper compression.

5) I don't know if your baby takes a pacifier, but what helped me was when my baby started to freak out of the breast (let me re-phrase that: she'd freak out at the SIGHT of the breast!) I'd let her suck on her pacifier, when quickly switch her to my nipple. It may work with your finger: i.r. get her to suck on your finger and then insert your nipple.

Good luck and please don't give up. This is a temporary, fixable setback that you can overcome. It will require a few days to a week time investment, but it is well worth it.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms