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newborn choking- help! :(

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm hoping someone can help with this. My son is 1.5 weeks old. He has until this point been a champion nurser. he gained a pound in a week. Was nursing every hour for about 10-15 min, and i would feed alternate sides each time, or if i fed him with both sides he would go about 2 hrs during the day, 3 at night.

yesterday he started choking while nursing. I've read everything available on this and I don't really have any signs of overactive let down. His poop is not green or frothy. letdown wasn't painful, though it is today because i'm spacing out feedings. and i don't spray milk. on the left side i can merely express drops, and on the right there's a small stream after let down only if i squeeze. I don't leak a lot, just a little. 

I have tried feeding him upright, and expressing some (prob too much) first, then pulling off at let down and squeezing some into a towel and this seems to help, but he still chokes sometimes and it doesn't always correspond with let down. I can just hear his swallowing getting a bit disorganized and i know it's coming. if it was a swallowing issue i would think it would have shown up before now. He has nursed wonderfully until yesterday.

I had low supply with DD so i have no experience in this area. I'm doing only one side per 2 hour block now, although admittedly today i've waited longer because i'm just so nervous about feeding him. Can this be dangerous for the baby? It takes a little while for him to catch his breath- i have to hold him on his side and pat him and watch him struggle. When he gets his breath he doesn't cry, and doesn't seem to be put off by nursing- he's crazy about it.

any advice would be greatly appreciated. i don't know what to do- i'm so worried about aspiration or worse. Can worse happen?

thanks so much.

post #2 of 11

With your baby only nursing only 10-15 minutes he may not be getting the high fat hind milk that makes babies feel full. He may be eating too much and that has upset the supply and demand balance. I suggest using only one side a feeding and letting him nurse a long time at one breast, even after he falls asleep. He may nurse 30 min or more on one breast.


www.kellymom.com is a great breastfeeding website.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I figured he is probably very efficient because at the 10 min mark i'd do compressions to keep him going and i'd feel totally empty by 15 minutes. He would usually then fall asleep and not get back on no matter what I did. Wouldn't a pound weight gain in a week mean he's getting the hindmilk? 


I love kellymom. But all i could find was info on overactive letdown and I can't figure out if that's what i have..

post #4 of 11

A baby can actually gain too much weight from not getting enough hind milk. We know now gaining lots of weight isn't a good thing even if a baby is breastfeeding. Gaining a lot of weight could be a sign that something needs to be changed a little in the way a mom and baby are breastfeeding. 


Breasts aren't containers that need to be "compressed". They are modified sweat glands. The milk glands are like small grapes and each one has a milk duct that goes out to the nipple. At the beginning of the feeding is the let-down but after that the milk is made in the gland like sweat and flows to the nipple.


You can't count on "feelings" even if you are an experienced breastfeeding mom. Some women never feel letdowns. One of the reasons the weaning rate is so high in the US is because women think they don't have milk and they actually do. It's very common to feel like you don't have milk at around 6 weeks.


"Finish the first breast first" is what it is sometimes called when a baby is allowed to nurse a long time at one breast. It isn't really an accurate name since usually you don't need to go to that second breast.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

i breastfed my daughter for 2.5 years, just ended that before having him, and i know when sucking slows if i compress a bit it would start her up a little and does the same for him. I do feel letdown, about 5 times a feeding on one side. 

My concern is that he seems to choke even when there's hardly anything left in there- and i'm wondering what can cause this and if it's dangerous. it doesn't seem to correspond with letdown.

I have been feeding him as long as he will go one side per feeding since this started.


post #6 of 11

From what your saying it sounds like it's harder for you dealing with the choking than him right? I've had two babies who've choked and had a hard time with the let down. It really only lasted a few weeks to a month with both. They get used to it and get bigger and stronger and able to handle it. I have a had a big over supply at first that mask it worse but that settles down as well with some time. HTH!


post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

yes i have a very hard time with it because he struggles to breathe and it happens several times a feeding. is that normal/safe? what if the struggling to breathe goes on too long? it's so scary!

post #8 of 11

If you had low supply issues in the past, I would caution you to not attempt to lower your supply now with block feeding. It sounds like your baby is just trying to learn the suck/swallow/breath rhythm, which is very normal for his age. If he chokes, just pull him off and let him catch his breath. As far as aspirating breastmilk, yes, it can happen, but it's far less cause for concern than other food (formula, food) because it will be absorbed. Don't worry there.


Are you experiencing nipple soreness? Are there any other abnormal things going on with nursing? How is his latch?

post #9 of 11

Have you guys seen a Lactation Consultant or talked to a LLL Leader? It sounds like you might need some in person help to determine if this is just a baby who is learning to handle the milk or if there is an underlying problem. When mine sputtered and got choked up it was usually just once during the initial big letdown and they didn't have problems after the first rush of milk. I took them off or they unlatched themselves and then went back at it with no trouble. So it's normal to have this in the beginning to a certain extent. Trust your gut on this however it leads you!


Originally Posted by marywingerden View Post

yes i have a very hard time with it because he struggles to breathe and it happens several times a feeding. is that normal/safe? what if the struggling to breathe goes on too long? it's so scary!


post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

i called a LLL person and am waiting for a call back. But I'm not sure how up to date the website is. There are only two in my area and one didn't have an answering machine and the other didn't answer. There have been no problems up until this started. His latch is great. He is a strong sucker and very efficient. I've had no nipple trauma, pain, cracking, bleeding, etc.

So if he's just developing the suck/breathe/swallow pattern it's strange that he would run into trouble 1.5 weeks in, and not from the beginning. He hadn't choked at all before this. Unless my supply went up considerably and he is having trouble dealing with it. I can't tell.



post #11 of 11

How are things going now?

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