First, this HURTS. She wants to do it for about 15 minutes and I can't take the pain anymore. Second, I'm worried that she's not actually eating while all of this craziness is going on.
Has anyone experienced anything like this before? I'm not sure what to do. She seems too young to take her off and stop nursing when this happens, but maybe not? I wonder if my milk supply is low? She was just under 8 pounds at 24 hours and is almost 11 pounds now, so weight gain doesn't seem to be a problem.
Any advice would be very appreciated.
With a baby that's gaining weight appropriately and filling diapers, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If it drives you nuts, try something else for a time-- rocking, carrying around, setting baby down awhile, or whatever seems to work.
Lots of reason, I think, for fussy nursing: sometimes baby just wants to fall asleep, and wants to suck for that reason, and the milk flow upsets baby. A pacifier can help, or a finger to suck. Sometimes baby is annoyed by a slow letdown, or baby is unusually hungry because of a growth spurt, and the flow is slow and baby wants more. Frequently switching sides can help with this, as can having some patience and rolling with it for a few days until your supply catches up with baby's demand. Sometimes your letdown is too strong, and baby feels overwhelmed. Unlatching for a second and letting some milk run into a towel, and then relatching, can help a lot with this. Sometimes baby needs to burp, or needs to poop, or is experiencing acid reflux. In that case, taking a break and putting baby upright and attempting to burp baby might help.
Sometimes baby is overstimulated and tired from a long day, and really just needs to sleep-- they get so tired that they can't calm down and organize their attention enough to nurse well. Keeping the days quieter can help with this. That doesn't mean you have to sit home all day. But when you're out and around, keep baby close to you in a carrier, so that baby can get plenty of sleep during the day. Believe it or not, a peaceful day with lots of naps means better sleep at night, and less fussing in the evenings. Nurse frequently during the day, so that if baby doesn't nurse well in the evening, you're not so worried about overall intake.
When those fussy nursing sessions happen, try for a dark, quiet room. Try lying down with baby and nursing that way. Try to do whatever it is you do to help baby fall asleep. A nice walk outside, with baby in a carrier or in your arms, can work wonders if the weather allows. Even if it's chilly, you can put baby on your chest and button your coat around baby, and with a hat baby should be plenty warm. Even a car ride, if your baby falls asleep in the car, can help a lot.
My DD2 used to fuss like crazy at that age, in the evening, as if she were starving. I'd finally give up trying to nurse and give her to DH, and he'd rock her to sleep. She'd sleep an hour, wake up, and nurse like a champ. She was just too tired to organize her behavior enough to nurse well.
To begin to save the world, we must first nurture the children. Read "The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost" Me-Hubby-11 yo dd1- ; 6 yo dd2- , 6 yo ds1ds2
Usually when Bella does this it's either slow letdown on a side that's almost done, or overactive letdown on the new side! If it's overactive, it'll happen in the first few seonds (with me). If it's that the breast is not producing enough "on demand" for her, she will do what you say, pull off, flail about, get agitated, root around and do that fast, pissed-off baby breathing (ya know? ). Then I know it's time to switch to the other side.
Ruby, my DD is also 6 weeks old and has had episodes like you describe. Our pediatrician recommended swaddling, nursing, then sleep. Works like a charm. DD can't fuss AND, as an added bonus, she sleeps 5-7 hours a night! She wasn't sleeping nearly as well before we adopted this routine.
Baby Girl T - January 30, 2011
6lbs, 9oz 19inches
My instinctive suggestion would be that she's getting impatient when the flow slows...they learn quickly that pulling and kneading triggers a let-down! As a pp suggested - perhaps switch breasts - or try breast compressions?
Interesting. My son is 6 months and seems to need to nurse so much more right now and he's fussy and has been pinching and kneading my breast. O wonder if he's not getting enough out at first and needs to help it along.