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Impatient 4 month old....help!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My 4 month old has more then doubled his birth weight (almost tripled it). He's a pretty happy guy most of the time but we have a difficult time when it comes to eating. He seems hungry to me all the time no matter how much he nurses. He's never really been a big nurser, meaning he doesn't ever do it for comfort. He only nurses to eat. This proposes a serious problem when it comes to let down. He won't wait for it. He barely latches on to the breast before he starts screaming. He won't even give it one good suck most of the time. Clearly this proposes a problem because I basically have to force his mouth to the breast and it takes forever for me to let down because he's not sucking on it. As soon as the milk lets down he sucks it down in a furry and then wants the other side. He's usually still a little fussy when the milk is gone and seems unsatisfied. Well, he was showing many other signs that he was ready for solids. Grabbing at our food, no tongue thrust. We recently decided to test out some sweat potatoes and see how he took to it. He is now eating once a day at dinner time. (Please don't flame me, I followed my intuition on this and it's not really something I want to debate about). He gobbles down more food then I've seen 9 month olds eat and still seems hungry sometimes. He gets really worked up if we don't feed him fast enough. He grabs the spoon and shoves it in his mouth. His poops have improved and his mood improved and his sleep got better. We seemingly eliminated the 2 straight hours of hunger screams at the end of the day by introducing food.


Well, it was short lived because the last two days he's been a mess again. I'm not sure if it's a supply issue, or that he's just impatient and that hungry. My breasts never feel full. They always feel 'empty' until I feel the let down and then I know I have milk. With my first, though I would have periods of feeling really engorged if she hadn't eaten in a while, and it doesn't seem like he's nursing that much more frequently. He probably nurses about 12 times in a 24 hour period plus eats at least one jar of baby food at dinner time with some water. He's been known to crush the one jar and get well into a second. Last night, after more then an hour of screaming from him and refusing to nurse (or at least to wait for the let down) I decided to pump and feed him with a bottle. Basically I wanted to know if it was possibly something in my milk (time for an elimination diet perhaps?) or if my intuition regarding the let down was correct. I managed to pump 2oz only but gave him it in a bottle right away and the boy downed it in about 60 seconds flat. It made me want to cry because I just felt like I'm not giving him what he needs. greensad.gif


So I know the next step is probably to contact a lactation consultant to see if there's anything I can do. I don't plan on giving him ANY more bottles because I don't want him to refuse the breast all together (some of our nursing sessions don't go this badly). I'm also willing to cut the solids out completely but I just have a feeling that this isn't an intolerance but pure hunger. Should I supplement (ugh, I hate that thought)? Increase the solids? Try and catch him for nursing sooner? I've also thought this could be teething (he's showing some other signs of teething as well) but it's been going on for upward of 2 months and he hasn't had any teeth break through. Is this possibly a supply issue? Is there anything I can do to assist the let down happen sooner? Any advice would help!

post #2 of 13

4 months is a really common time for mothers to feel like they don't have enough milk.  Most of the time they do - it is just baby's behaviour that has them doubting themselves, coupled with the normal loss of the 'full' feeling.


So chances are your milk supply is fine!


oh oh, my baby is fussing.  Will write more later.


OK, I'm back.


Ways to increase your confidence in your milk supply: 1) weigh baby.  Average growth per week is 4-5 oz at this age.  2) count diapers.  You want 4-5 heavy wet diapers (4-6 tbsp of pee) in 24 hours.  If diaper out put and weight gain are good then you know you have enough milk



Ways to help baby cope with nursing at 4 months (hopefully more mums can chime in here):


-switch breasts to get letdowns.  Baby is finished with the right, give the left.  He then gets fussy on the left? give the right again.  Keep switching until he's done.  The milk left in the breast after a good feed (your breasts are never empty) is often nice and rich and satisfying.


-avoid the bottle if possible because of the fast flow.


-nurse lying down, or in a dark room.


The more we nurse the more milk we make, so keep on nursing, Mama! thumbsup.gif


Some more really good links that may help: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/breast-fullness.html


Edited by PatioGardener - 12/7/10 at 11:39am
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you PatioGardner! I'm beginning to think it's just the 4 month stage as well. I forgot about this time with DD. Although, she was a GREAT nurser. She nursed around the clock for 3 years. DS has been fussy in general but the nursing is what's really getting to both of us.


He is definitely gaining weight. He's not starving by any means, but he acts like he is. Diapers are wet, pooping well. He nurses much better at night. I think mainly because he's half asleep so he's just doing it instinctually. Also, I tend to get to him as soon as he starts stirring so he's not starving when he's put to the breast. During the day though, it's a nightmare at least 3-4 of his nursing sessions. Switching breasts is a good idea, but I don't think it will work in our case. The problem is that DS won't even really ever latch on, much less suck to get the milk to come out. He basically put his lips to the breast and lazily latches and if milk doesn't hit his tongue he screams. He'll scream for 30 seconds and then try it again. He looks up at me as if to say, "where' the milk woman!?!" then he screams again. This goes on sometimes for almost 10 minutes because the more he screams and doesn't suck the longer it takes for my milk to let down. I've started stimulating the opposite nipple to try to create a let down from basically nothing. I try to close my eyes and breath and picture the milk coming out. Then once the milk does let down he's focused and intensely nurses. But as soon as the let down stops he stops nursing. He basically wants it to shoot out into his mouth and do 0 work.


At this point, I guess my concern isn't so much about if he's getting enough. I just need to find a solution to this for my own sanity. It's really sad and frustrating to watch. It's starting to get to me. I just want calm, nice nursing sessions and I'm not sure how to get us there.


Anyone else BTDT or have any other advice?

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

32 views and only 1 reply? Anybody?

post #5 of 13

I agree with the first poster about breasts not feeling full anymore - my DS is nearly 4 months and i noticed a few weeks back that i rarely feel full, and he sleeps 6 hours at night!  My LO gets especially fussy at the breast when he is really tired - (i thought ALL babies liked to nurse themselves to sleep!) but when he is really tired he will latch on, turn his head, let the nipple pop out, relatch, turn his head  - until i stop him...which is usually pretty quickly, i try the other side, and he will often repeat the behavior - if i know hes just really tired, i will put him in the sling and walk him around the house, he konks right out.  So, i HATE to say 'try nursing your baby less'  - but , since you mention weight is not an issue - and this is only affecting 3 - 4 nursing sessions / day, is it possible he isnt hungry at that time?  - Like i said, i would hate to advocate nursing less often - but maybe take a second look at his behavior, and his intake for the whole 24 hour day - he may be getting what he needs already.  Good Luck!

post #6 of 13

My son also had a weird fuzzyness to latch on around 3-4 months. What helped was to walk around, bouncing him a bit, and trying to latch him on that way (not very easy :-), but it worked). Once he was latched I could sit down again.


post #7 of 13

Did I mention that there are some days when my guy will only nurse lying down in a dark room when he is sleepy?


I think that 4-8 month stretch can be rough!


post #8 of 13

MamaB21 - Hope things are going better by now!


I'm new to the forum, and so I realize this thread hasn't been active for a few weeks but I'm having the same issue - with my 5 week old!

DD latches on alright, but then she goes crazy after the letdown, even though there is still milk flowing out and I'm compressing my breasts into pancakes trying to keep her happy. Then sometimes she starts choking and gagging on the flow and so I start doubting the issue and wonder if the flow is too strong for her, and not the other way around...


It's usually an evening/nighttime issue for us, but now I loathe the idea of nursing in public with her screaming and moaning about the flow... At home I usually try to get her to latch back on and keep working it for about 5 minutes, then I give up. The weird thing is as soon as I put her vertical in my arms she calms right down like there was no problem - except I'm often left with a half-full breast and am concerned about her not getting enough hindmilk in this scenario. Switching breasts doesn't seem to work for me either; as soon as she's upset she just doesn't want to nurse. So we go back to bed together, and then she's up within an hour starving and sometimes we repeat the whole scenario all over again.


She's peeing tons and pooing well, and gaining weight really well. Her poos look normal (though are often very frothy...).


My main concern is - if she latches off and I can soothe her and bring her back to sleep should I be concerned about her not emptying the breast completely? For the first 4 weeks we always emptied the breast completely and so I wasn't worried about a milk imbalance.


Any suggestions/reassurances would be great!redface.gif

post #9 of 13

I think that your idea of trying to offer a feed earlier is a great one to try for a day or so. 


Does anyone think that hand expressing for a bit might settle him down a bit? Babies can smell the breast milk and if there is already some coming, he might get less antsy.


Teething... breastfeeding can be soothing or actually painful for teething babies. If you start to feed him before he's super hungry, you could ice his gums or use some other method and then feed him.


Best of luck!

post #10 of 13

oh where to begin.  i have a 9 week old and have been through all of the above.  my lactation consultant thought that the "fussiness" (screaming relentlessly at the breast, total nursing strike in the evenings) was related to the fact that i had gone back to work and she'd gotten a taste of the bottle and it's fast nipple.  so here were her suggestions:

always offer the breast, try for no more than 10 minutes.  go on to something else then try again.

offer when she is quiet or nearly asleep (this seemed to work the best for me)

offer before she's hungry (i.e. quiet and content)

pump often to increase supply and encourage faster let down

STAY HYDRATED, the more hydration the more milk and better let down,

do as much skin to skin as possible, wear baby with your shirt off and him/her in just a diaper


other things i have found that helped (because i also was nervous to nurse in public with such a frantic display)

calm her with the pacifier and pull the old switcher -she'd usually give a few good sucks and the milk would let down, even if she pulled off, it was right there the next time she latched.

switch breasts often and go back and forth, just as Patio Gardener suggested

preform a quick pump to get my nipple in shape and start the let down so she'd get a mouth full on the first latch (hand expression never worked for me)

bouncing on the yoga ball with her at the breast, as soon as she was calm, latch her during the bounce, once latched, move to a chair.

singing to her, dunno, she seems to like my out of tune vocals. (i think it tricks her into thinking I'm calm because part of her freak out is probably related to my inner freak out)

finally, and i don't like this one, but as a last resort, give her an ounce or less by bottle, then pull the switcher


good luck, i know I'm still struggling with this so i look forward to other replies.



post #11 of 13

Regarding latch I had to do what Carma mentioned, move about, create motion as my son latched and nursed. I read in Dr. Sears book that some babies need the motion to organize their sucking muscles. Also for what it's worth, when I take an alfalfa supplement  I get an increase in supply within a day. Not that you need it, I tend to do it when I think my son is going through a growth spurt. I've only taken it a few times but am impressed with my body's response to it. Also per your feeling of empty breasts, it quite normal at about the 4 month mark as others have said. Actually my leaking stopped and I stored the breast pads about that time, yet my supply was fine.

Your little guy sounds as if he is taking in plenty of milk, I would likely try the dancing about and motion to see if he'll calm down and latch on while waiting for let down.

post #12 of 13

I had another thought, perhaps he is not getting enough rich fatty hindmilk to satiate his hunger for a while.

Kellymom has a great 'faucet' analogy about how breastfeeding patterns effect how much hind milk baby takes in: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron.html#whynot 

post #13 of 13
Hi, i have exactly the same problem...wondering if anything worked?
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