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Very Unusual Nursing Situation......need help!!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have a very unusual ( at least to me!) situation that I am trying to figure out. My son is exactly 12 weeks old. When he was born, he had a lot of difficulty latching ( I had a peaceful natural birth so he was not having difficulties due to drugs) . He went 24 hours without eating anything and then 30 hours without being able to latch. Finally the hospital suggested I express some milk into a dropper and feed him that way. The lactation consultant advised that I attempt to latch him for 5-10 minutes before every feeding and then feed him with a dropper if he still did not latch. 

Well, I did this for about two weeks with no success before I finally starting pumping and giving him breast milk in a bottle. I still attempted to latch him before most feedings but with no success. He was extremely fussy to the point of choking on his own spit before I would stop and give him a bottle of pumped breast milk. I went to multiple consultations, and nobody could get him to latch. We also ruled out any structural issues with his mouth/tongue. 

Then when he was two months old I noticed he was reaching for my breast, so I offered it to him. He latched no problem and ate like that for two full feedings! Then when I attempted to nurse him a third time, he refused, threw a fit, and ultimately I gave him the bottle. I attempted a few more days to breastfeed him and he refused to latch. 

Then three days ago, he did the same thing. He started grabbing for my breast so I offered it to him. He latched perfectly and ate like he had been nursing his whole life. So far, we have been three days with almost no bottle feedings ( except a few). I LOVE nursing and I am so worried that he will start refusing me again. I just started going back to work, so keeping him skin to skin for most of the day is not an option for me. I would love for him to nurse especially since I am away from him during the day. 

I am confused as to why he all of a sudden started nursing. And also how I can keep this up. I know that some of the lactation consultants where jamming his face on my breast during our consultations, a method which I repeated at home. Did this cause him to become adverse to my breast? I am familiar with the concepts of baby lead latching, but am not sure how to approach this and sustain our nursing sessions when I am able to feed him. 

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!

post #2 of 7
I had a similar start to yours: 10 weeks of pumping then transitioning to the breast. I believe your baby may have developed an aversion to the breast. What you said about him being fussy and choking on his spit before you would offer the bottle really sounds like he has mixed emotions about the breast. If it's his idea, he nurses nicely but if you push him to it he refuses and gets upset. The pushing his face to your breast is a bad way to get him to latch, it is too forceful. The nurses in the hospital did that to us and my DD HATED it! The good news is that you can turn this around but you have to drastically change your method.

1: the breast must be a relaxed, no pressure place, period. At a feeding, sit with your breast exposed and have it available. Have a bottle in arm's reach in case you need it. Offer the breast gently but if he is upset or refuses, give the bottle after a few seconds. When he takes a break, try the breast again but only for a few seconds. If he's not interested or upset, let him have the bottle. An unsuccessful offer should be only a few seconds. Don't let him get upset at the breast. Make it a calm and happy place. It may take many attempts before he relaxes enough to accept.

2: offer the breast when he isn't very hungry. He needs to learn and trust breastfeeding and it's difficult to learn when he is hungry. I usually had really good luck about an hour after a bottle: she wasn't hungry enough to be upset but wasn't too full to try. I offered the breast for a few seconds and usually she took it. I still had a very small bottle nearby in case she got frustrated.

3: have milk easily available. Express a drop of milk onto your nipple to entice him to try. Also make sure you keep up your supply with pumping

The most important thing is not to pressure him and to have no expectations. You offer the breast and it's up to him what he does. It's hard but try not to take rejection personally: he is only learning. Keep offers short and neutral, never force or push or hold him on if he doesn't want it. He needs to learn that the breast is safe, calm and nurturing. It will take time but since he does latch when he chooses I think you have an excellent chance of developing a wonderful nursing relationship. It took us about 4 weeks to go from 100% bottle to 100% breast. There were many rejections and some setbacks. The most helPful thing I did was to remain calm and gentle. The second she sensed tension in me it was all over. I hope you find my experience helpful. Good luck!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you Sky! This was SO helpful. I gave him a little hit of that bottle right before attempting to latch and it WORKED!!! I do think I am so intent on him breastfeeding that I put way too much pressure on the situation, which I know exacerbates the problem. 


Many, many thanks for this helpful reply. 

post #4 of 7
Oh I'm so glad you found it helpful and that already the strategy is working. Just keep at it and make sure that whenever baby gets a bottle you use the slow flow newborn nipples and he gets the bottle at a slow pace to support the emerging breastfeeding relationship. good luck and keep me posted. joy.gif
post #5 of 7

I'm glad he's doing great!  So I'm hesitant to suggest anything else but maybe you can just file this information away for later.  I was just wondering if he had a tightness in his neck that made some feedings or positions painful and others not.  If so, a chiropractor could help.  I was just trying to think if there was a pattern to when and under what circumstances he was refusing.  Anyway, sounds like he's doing great now!

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks again Sky!


Gemasita-I recently started to think that the position might be an issue, but wasn't sure ( glad you brought it up!). Right now, he still fusses and cries for a bit but eventually latches and feeds fine. I also heard that craniosacral therapy might work, but haven't really looked into that or a chiropractor much. 


If things don't improve in the next month or so, I might have him checked out :) Thanks!!

post #7 of 7

Yes, craniosacral can do wonders too!

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