or Connect
Mothering › Groups › August 2012 Birth Club › Discussions › any other slow nursers?

any other slow nursers?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Elodie was born 10 days ago, and we've had a pretty rocky breastfeeding journey so far. She has a very tight jaw, which we think is partly due to my long labor (4 days). As a result, she doesn't open her jaw very wide, and in the first few days I ended up with blistered and bleeding nipples. After seeing a LC and getting a nipple shield, things have gotten a little better. My nipples are no longer chewed up, but they still really hurt. However, now I'm finding out that Elodie is also an incredibly slow nurser. I feel like I'm nursing her nearly around the clock. Literally. Last night I nursed her for almost 6 hours straight, and she still didn't want to quit. Typically, she will take 2 hours (or more) per feeding. And considering that she eats every 2 1/2 to 3 hours... well, it feels like all I'm doing is nursing. She looks healthy, is gaining weight (slowly), and has several dirty and wet diapers every day. I think (and hope!) she is getting enough to eat.


I don't mind the frequency of the nursing; it's the duration of each session that is really wearing me down. I didn't sleep at all the four days I was in labor and birthing, so I went into the PP period on a severe sleep deficit. I know lack of sleep is the name of the game for new mothers, but I'm feeling beyond exhaustion and coping ability keeping up with Elodie.


I guess I'm wondering how long your babies feed for? I know it's a highly variable thing. But is two hours per feeding too long? Or is it within the range of normal? And more importantly, will it get better? Or is there anything I can do? (I've tried switching sides frequently, blowing on her face, tickling her cheeks, pumping her arm--it wakes her up a bit, but then she just slows down again)

post #2 of 15
Have you tried a wet washcloth on her feet? That would really wake mine up.

Also, this won't speed things up, but have you tried side lying nursing so you can rest while nursing? Or laying back in a recliner with baby snuggled in next to you?

I'm just realizing now with this babe that they can actually eat, get full and go to sleep. My first two nursed All. The. Time. I thought that was just what babies did, but evidently they had pretty high sucking needs. I got comfy on the couch and watched a lot of Netflix, slept, and didn't much else. Also, if my nipples needed a break, I would offer my pinky finger to suck on. This worked with DD, but not DS.

Your baby is still quite new. She might wake up more soon, and change her feeding pattern.

Have you tried the soothing gel pads for your nipples?
post #3 of 15
We had this with my son, he was a cluster feeder, for months... It got better. but I too had a long labor no sleep cracked nipples....

No advice but tons of sympathy mama!!!

Oh! Instead of the lanolin, try earth mama angel baby nipple butter, holy cats! This time around I had no cracking when last time it was awful!!!
post #4 of 15

Have you tried a soother yet?


I've found with 3 of mine, the soother worked to "condition" their nursing so they were more effective. I'm not always shoving it in their face to use, but in that sleepy drifting off to sleep stage it seems to help a lot.

post #5 of 15

Are you relaxed while breastfeeding? If you are tense at all (from the nipple pain or exhaustion), your milk letdown might be slower, resulting in your babe nursing slower. I'm not an expert here because I have the opposite problem - I have a freaking geyser shooting out of my nipples and my poor babe is trying to choke down whatever she can. So I find myself tensing up to try and slow down the flow of milk.


I've had friends whose babes have nursed for about 45 minutes at a time, but that's really the longest I've personally heard. My kids nurse for maybe 10 minutes tops, but I don't think that's very common. I just have way too much milk.

post #6 of 15

Sarah, I don't have a lot of advice, but I just wanted to offer some support, I can't imagine how tiring this must be. Lyle averages 10-20 minutes a side, but sometimes needs time in between for burping, waking up, fussing, etc. So often it's about an hour/45 min long project. Then he has fussy evenings where he wants to nurse two hours in a row. That drives me pretty nutso (just sitting still that long!) I cannot imagine doing that all the time. You are doing awesome keeping up with that especially when you are feeling tired yourself.

If I were you, I think I'd try to find a LC and get things sped up a bit, because it sounds like it's wearing on you a lot. Take care of yourself, mama!

post #7 of 15

It is within the range of normal, and it will get better.  *hugs* mama, I was there with my first, and it was miserable.  The good news is, after solving every possible problem we could possibly have, we breastfed to 2 years.  You will too, just stay patient, do what you can to comfort yourself, and remember that this will pass.  He'll get better at nursing, your breasts will get better at producing the right amount at the right time, and you'll start matching up better.


One thing that you could try, that the excellent LC I went to last time recommended, is "tongue training".  She had me use a medicine cup to do just a little bit of finger feeding, and while he was sucking and swallowing that, I used my finger to draw his tongue down and out, and to work on getting him to open his mouth a bit more.  Not forcing his jaw to open and relax, but slowly drawing the tongue forward and down.  I did this for a few minutes before every feeding, and it only took a few days for it to start making a difference.  Within a week or so, his latch had improved considerably.  It might be something to add to what you're already doing.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you, everyone, for your helpful suggestions and affirming responses! These are some great ideas to try. Elodie won't take a soother, but the tongue training and other ways of keeping her awake sound like great ideas. Also, I think it's true that I'm not relaxed enough while feeding her. I think it's partly exhaustion and partly the worry that she's not getting enough to eat. So I'm definitely going to work on relaxing myself while nursing.


Also, thanks for the affirmations that it will get better... That might be the most helpful of all. Instead of fighting Elodie's needs, I think it's great advice to try to embrace this time and make it the best that I can, since it won't last forever. It just helps me to know that this is a stage, and a fairly normal one. My mom arrived yesterday, and she'll be here to help for 2 weeks. I got two short naps today as a result, and they were like heaven!

post #9 of 15

Sarah - You could try taking her to a cranial sacral therapist. It sounds like an adjustment may really help w her jaw. Its not uncommon that LO's can have some alignment issues after a long labor and that can really impact their comfort and ability to nurse. Does she seem to have full range of motion otherwise? Or does she tend to turn her head more to one side than the other? The fact that she's pretty fussy and the duration of the nursing sessions both sound like she might have a little something out of place. You should be able to find a cranial sacral therapist that specializes in infants/pre-post partum moms. Its super gentle. I know quite a few moms who were saved by it! :)

post #10 of 15



My little guy has decided the past few nights that he will not sleep unless nursing, so I've been doing side-lying nursing all night long. Not sure how much of the time he spends actually eating, since I do fall asleep, but he won't let me put him in his bed or put away the boob. Somehow, this is more exhausting to me than getting up twice in the night. He also spends anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour (half and hour is pretty average) per side nursing, so nursing on both sides (especially if you include burping/diaper change in the middle) is pretty epic. I know he isn't eating the whole time, but he'll often go through a period of sleeping/comfort sucking only to wake up and really eat again, so it seems interminable. And he's done the back-to-back feeding thing a few times lately. I just keep telling myself that this, too, will pass!

post #11 of 15

Monkey, we are there right now.  Sprout would not release the boob last night.  I "woke up" this morning feeling like a zombie.  She's been at it all day, too.  I keep telling myself that she's working hard to recover her birth weight and shed the last of the jaundice, and it helps to think of it that way, but it doesn't make me less tired.

post #12 of 15

Yeah, I was waaaaaaay zombified this morning. Luckily MIL came over to help, and was able to hold and comfort him some so I could have a little space and eat breakfast and the like. But now my boobs have been super-full all day due to all the night nursing. Siiiiigh. My little guy is also not back to his birth weight quite yet, though he does seem to be past the jaundice he had a week ago. So he does need to eat, but yeah, doesn't make me less tired! And it's frustrating/sad for dh, too, because he really can't do much to comfort the baby due to his lack of boobs. :(

post #13 of 15

So sorry about the pain. grouphug.gif I have a slow nurser here too, found this thread very helpful! 

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

I updated my situation in the "breastfeeding support" thread. It turns out that Elodie being a slow nurser wasn't our biggest problem--she's not putting on any weight. Anyway, the whole story is in the other thread. 

post #15 of 15

My little Lina is a pretty slow nurser too!  Some days I feel like all I do is nurse, mainly because she gets bored (or something) when the foremilk runs out (this is my guess anyway) and goes to sleep, even though she isn't full.  So when I take her off the breast and try to put her down, she wakes back up and wants to nurse again, and we start the process over.  We did that for almost 4 hours last night!  Exhausting.

  Return Home
  Back to Forum: August 2012 Birth Club
Mothering › Groups › August 2012 Birth Club › Discussions › any other slow nursers?