My baby is just shy of 2 weeks old and nursing has been going well (at least, I think it has) for the past week. It started out a bit rocky, my nipples were all cracked, he didn't seem too interested, I thought he was starving, cried all the time, etc., but since the 2nd day that my milk came in it has been a lot better.
Well, these past few days my baby is showing some different behavior and I'm wondering if anyone has any clue what it could mean. When I'm not lying down nursing him at night, I typically hold him in the football hold to nurse on my left side specifically because in the first week of BFing he latched on really quickly on my right side while laying across my stomach, but struggled to latch on my left side, so my husband suggested I hold him in the football hold to mimic the position that he was in while nursing on my right. It worked.
Now, he is suddenly having a lot of trouble latching on on the right side and has no issues with the left (the opposite of how he started). He can ultimately latch on the right, but it takes him a long time and he is acting like he is starving the whole time. For the past 2 days, once he does latch on each breast, he starts fussing a few minutes into nursing. Tonight it has escalated into him pushing off of my body with his arms and legs, unlatching often then frantically trying to relatch, moving/shaking his head around while he is still latched on (which HURTS) and breathing heavily, and if I pull him away out of frustration, or if he unlatches himself, he starts crying/screaming and desperately tries to latch back on as if he is starving. He fusses more on my right side, the one he is now having trouble latching onto immediately, but he will also fuss on the other side too.
I leak milk constantly so I don't think I am struggling from a lack of supply. When I'm done nursing, even if he sucks for an hour like he did tonight, if he has not fallen asleep, he will still root and suck on his fingers. He nurses anywhere from every hour to every 3 hours during the day, and during the night it is more like every 3-4.5 hours. His poops are mustardy yellow with lots of green seediness and we change his diaper probably about 8 times a day. He is a little peanut and I'm constantly worried that he is not gaining weight or something (we go for his 2-week check up Wed) so this new behavior has me a little worried, not to mention frustrated. Any ideas as to what is going on?
I encourage you to find the support of a lactation consultant or to contact your local La Leche League leader, so that you can have someone IRL evaluate the situation and make sure your babe is getting enough milk and ha a good latch etc.
But in my uneducated understanding of what you describe. .. .I know my guy had a lot of shifting opinions about which side and how easy he could latch etc. For awhile it seemed he preferred the right, then the left. At two weeks they are still just figuring this whole thing out (as you are) and just getting the hang of latching and how to manage the flow of milk. I wouldn't worry too much about what side he "prefers" or doesn't. Also, its possible he is still carrying some soreness/imbalance from birth, esp. in the head/jaw and that can make them prefer one side over the other for awhile. The latch can be a bigger problem, but again, he is still learning. . .so as long as you can get him to latch on well (even if takes multiple tries and seems frustrating) I think you're okay. You'll be amazing a a couple more months how he won't need any help at all from you to find the nipple or latch on!
As for the fussiness once latched on. . .it may be that he has started to anticipate your let down. He may be an eager-beaver and may be impatiently waiting for that first rush of milk. Alternately, you may have a heavy let-down and he may be fussing/struggling when it first shoots out at him. Both of these things will resolve with a little more time.
Hugs mama! Sounds like you are doing a great job! Its really hard in the beginning esp if you don't have anyone around you to reassure you that everything is going well. Just keep trying to remember that you are both still new at this and still learning. Very soon it will be super easy! I know this from experience.
P.S. my guy at that age nursed almost constantly. Literally. I would let your LO nurse as often as he roots and acts interested, even if you think he has just nursed a lot. Your milk supply is still being set at this point and the more he nurses the better your supply will be for the long term. Newborns need to suck a lot, both for calories and to help regulate their whole system.
Me= crunchy mama to one rambunctious toddler, born on October 1, 2009. And one sweet little baby born January 19, 2012.