Impatient Nurser

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shiregirl's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 09/23/10
Posts: 390
Impatient Nurser

My little guy was born last Thursday, and we're having a nursing issue I could really use input on:

Generally, things are well. In the first few days, he was cluster feeding and you could tell he was hungry, so I was really glad when my milk came in. It made a big difference at night: instead of waking me up every 20 minutes to nurse, he would sleep a few hours in between. My supply isn't quite up to demand yet. I am drinking tons of water, and I also started taking fenugreek. My supply was a little wimpy with DD too in the beginning, and I don't think we could possibly nurse more to get it established. He is a long nurser, like DD, he'll stay on each breast for half an hour or much longer.

Our big issue uually only occurs in the afternoons and at night, we don't seem to have this problem so much during the day. He is a very impatient nurser, and so sometimes he will get so angry if he wasn't able to latch on the first time, he will turn red and start screaming and flailing his arms around. It's impossible to get him to latch on after that, no matter what I try, and so we have to work really hard to get him calmed down. Then when he's calmed down, we put him to the breast, and a lot of times, he's right back to screaming again, once my nipple is within 3 inches of his face, because it didn't happen soon enough, or on the first try. Then if we can get him nursing, he's still kind of worked up, and moving his arms about, and often one of his arms will hit me in just the right way to break his latch, and then the angry starts again. It's REALLY frustrating, especially at 1 in the morning! It's also kind of scary, it's colic-like crying, very intense. What to do? And when will it end? And is it common, or does it mean anything? Last night I was worrying about it... does this mean he has autistic tendencies? Does it mean he's going to be an angry, violent person? Sigh. Worries, and baby blues have kind of got me about lots of little things, but I am trying to have a sense of humor about it. But I really could use some advice/reassurance about this one.

We've tried changing nursing positions when this is going on to get him to latch, and sometimes that helps, but often it doesn't. We have definitely tried swaddling, but if you swaddle him when he's in one of those moods, it makes him even angrier. So far we have not been able to successfully swaddle him where his arms stay down. They are perpetually bent up like a boxer, near his face, and swaddling him is hard, even when he's calm. He always works them out. If I could swaddle him and get him to stay swaddled, he'd sleep better, too, because often it's his arms breaking free that wakes him up.

PookieB's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 09/05/07
Posts: 631

Sounds like it could be gas or acid reflux. My son had it from the beginning and would scream and break off during a feeding. Have you tried the football position propped up? We had get success with that and gripe water in the first month. He's on Zantac now. I hope things get better!

mommycarrie's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 09/07/06
Posts: 358

He's so new, I would just hang in there. It sounds like you know what to do, and I wouldn't worry about him being violent, he's just a normal baby. It sounds like he wants his milk and as he gets to be a better nurser everything will be fine. If you're still worried you can always call an LC from your hospital or find your local LLL group.

Hang in there :kaos3: :kaos3:

carg0612's picture
Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
Joined: 09/23/09
Posts: 1554

You are doing great, really. You may try moving him to a different surrounding as well. for example if you are in the living room when he has latch trouble and then his temper flares try walking him to a different location - even someplace with some white noise like a fan or noise machine. That can often help soothe and distract baby from his frustrations.

Above all try your best to relax yourself as well. All of my babies alwasy seemed to know when I was upset or frustrated and they would feed off that - a vicious circle of frustration.

I think he's really new and some of this is just him working it all out too.

This might sound really weird but when my last was first born and he was really screaming and upset I could only get him to latch on in a sitting position. I would have to support his body and head and get him latched on upright - no kidding. This lasted about 2 weeks and then we were able to get good latches in other positions. But until he was almost 8 weeks old when all else failed I nursed him with him in an upright position.

Part of that was his reflux I think. But whatever works, ya know?

Maybe your little Sammy has reflux? Talk to his ped.

GL - you really are doing great so hang in there!!!

TiggersMommy's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Congratulations on your LO! You're doing an awesome job! The first few weeks are rough and it could be a bunch of things like others mentioned. Try and see a LC and go to a Moms' group sometime soon (as soon as you can fathom the idea of leaving the house). It REALLY helped me to talk to other moms in person and to know that it's normal for things to be less than "textbook" in the beginning.

What makes you suspect that your supply is low? His fussing at the breast is most likely a discomfort/new to BFing thing than a hunger thing.

In about a month you're going to look back at these first few weeks and it'll seem like you have a whole new baby! BFing will be soooooo much easier! GO MAMA GO!

Cherrykitten's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 07/03/08
Posts: 700

i'm sorry you're going through a rouh patch. i would really suggest that you see an LC, try calling the hospital you delivered at and see if they have an outpatient clinic. they may also have the number of a LC in the area who can come to the house for a visit. Something like you're describing is really hard to diagnose/correct without seeing it in person.

daniellec.parker's picture
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 09/06/09
Posts: 895

Alaina was that way. That's really the reason I used nipple shields for as long as I did. If Aiden was happily latched and nursing, he would get upset when she got upset. And that was almost every time. Her mouth was so small in the beggining from being early that she just couldn't open wide enough to get a good latch. It took some work, but after she got the hang of it, she did great. Keep up the good work. Sounds like you're doing everything right.

Kayla1981's picture
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

If you think he would do better if he was swaddled then I cannot recommend the Miracle Blanket enough. It was the only swaddling blanket that would keep our daughter's arms down. She had to be swaddled to sleep and we continued to swaddle her until around 5 months. It's a little pricey but we just bought one and would use it quite a few times before washing it. Our first one got a very small hole and they sent me a replacement so I also like that they stand by their product.

I also agree that he is just new to nursing. I think if it were reflux then he would be getting mad after he started nursing, not before. It sounds like he is just a little frustrated because he is just ready to eat. I suspect that very soon he will learn to latch quickly and he will be much happier.

White noise may also be another good thing to use. Do you have The Happiest Baby on the Block? We dealt with literally hours of crying until we got that book and it really helped us learn to settle our DD. Maybe you could try his techniques when your son does get frustrated and then you can get back to nursing as soon as he is settled.

I also agree that it's important for you to try and stay calm. I know it's frustrating and hard not to get worked up but just try taking some deep breaths and relaxing all the muscles in your body. Even now I have times where I know I'm tense and it seems to affect my letdown. But if I just focus on my daughter, take a deep breath and relax then it seems to help my body do what it needs to do.

You are doing a good job! Just keep at it and things will get better. Pretty soon it will be smooth sailing.

ETA: Do you think if you offered a little sooner then he would be less hungry and maybe less antsy? Maybe you could just do that until he learns to latch better? Just a thought.

am_leigh79's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 04/25/09
Posts: 23

I was thinking of a lot of what Kayla said. My DD also needed/liked swaddling for longer than most babies. We swaddled til about 5-6 months old. I would try that with nursing, we did that and it really helped her learn to organize herself.

Happiest baby on the Block is invaluable!!!!!

Kayla1981's picture
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

How are things going Katie?