Breast aversion? - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding Challenges > Breast aversion?
Go_Vegan's Avatar Go_Vegan 11:31 PM 07-20-2012
I have an almost 3 week old and we are really struggling to establish nursing. I had a natural home birth with no trauma, but he refused to latch from the very beginning. I began syringe feeding with donor milk on day 1 and have been pumping every two hours with a rented hospital grade pump since day 3. He latched on day 3 with the nipple shield and we began bottle feeding ebm that first week. He's healthy as a horse and gaining weight great. My supply is strong and I am no longer using donor milk.

He sucks beautifully on the bottle and loves the pacifier (which I am trying to drastically cut back since he's still not nursing). We have had several sessions of him latching and nursing for 10-15minutes, including one time at 1 week at the doctor's office when we used the lactation scale and he'd gotten 68 cc's from the breast! Things went downhill since then and he became more and more upset at the breast. He's a very easy newborn (I'm a postpartum doula so I've seen lots) and really only cries when something specific is wrong. But when he is hungry he FREAKS out.

I'm working with an IBCLC who is encouraging me to take it slow and offer the breast only when he's relaxed and/or half full. We are doing lots of Skin to skin and I'm trying to reduce paci use.

He doesn't appear to have anything wrong with his mouth, his tongue touches the top of his mouth when he cries. He is perfectly capable of gaping wide for the bottle.

Anybody else experience this? It seems to be a personality/frustration tolerance thing. He just doesn't want to work for it!

As everybody who has done it knows, the pumping/feeding/attempting to nurse cycle is exhausting. I'm supposed to start watching my 7 month old niece again at 6 weeks and I'm terrified that I'll never be able to take care of both of them and keep my supply up with pumping. Tell me this is going to get better!

clairebear3's Avatar clairebear3 03:58 AM 07-21-2012

Well it sounds like you're trying really hard blowkiss.gif  It sure can be exhausting, pumping, bottle feeding, trying to nurse especially when they are  feeding that often, haven't got much advice but just wanted to say your great for persevering!


Does it make a difference if you pump a bit of milk of first so that your breasts aren't as full?  Is your letdown maybe to fast for him.


Congratulations with your precious little one!

Jessimaca's Avatar Jessimaca 08:46 AM 07-21-2012

GO Vegan~  Wow your story sounds so much like mine hug2.gif  You can read the whole story if you want in the exclusive pumpers tribe.  I don't have any excellent advice for you.  I've tried everything too!  I think our LOs have VERY similar personalities because your description is my baby to a T.  And, it's interesting how we both work with moms and babies-- doesn't that make it even more horrible?!  It has for me.  I'm a lactation counselor and I was so looking forward to nursing!!!!!!  I've really struggled with depression since.  My LO is now 3 months old :-(  we are not any closer unfortunately.  Lets keep in touch on here and support each other okay?  I hope for your sake that you LO latches because as you know the pumping and feeding is just awful.

gemasita's Avatar gemasita 07:18 PM 07-21-2012

I was a birth and postpartum doula before having kids...we had a lot of problems breastfeeding.  Go figure!  (Great homebirth though)


I know you've heard of flow confusion.  Maybe he needs a little breastmilk to through an SNS to get him going?  My DS was very patient and would wait for my milk to let down, despite using bottles.  But I think he was just a very patient breast-feeder (not so much a patient toddler!).


I just wanted to bring up, before assuming it's all personality, could there by ANYTHING causing him pain?  I don't know what it would be but could he have thrush or does he bf'ed better on one side?  Could you try some chiropractic or cranio-sacral therapy?  That's just the only other thing I can think of - is that he's in pain instead of just a lazy nurser.

Go_Vegan's Avatar Go_Vegan 05:07 AM 07-22-2012
Thanks for the replies ladies. We took him to the chiropractor when he was 2 weeks and while he enjoyed it, it didn't seem to effect breast feeding. My midwife wants me to try craniosacral. I don't see any evidence of pain, but I'm willing to try anything.

My let down is really quite fast, I squeeze milk into the reservoir of the nipple shield before attempting to latch so he doesn't have to wait for it. I don't think my flow is too strong either, because he doesn't gag or anything.

the thing that's most frustrating is that he CAN do it. Just last night I put him on when he was calm and not starving and he suckled for 10 minutes. This gives me hope, but the whole thing is just so emotional. My IBCLC recommended I only try 1 or 2 times a day so we don't make him mad, which I'm grateful for because trying can be so stressful.
gemasita's Avatar gemasita 07:43 PM 07-22-2012

Yes, for a long time, I could only handle attempting to nurse once a day.  I was afraid we'd never get to full-time nursing with a start like that but we did!  Hang in there!  Take the "trying" at your own pace.

Go_Vegan's Avatar Go_Vegan 09:48 PM 07-22-2012
Gemasita, how old was your babe before you started multiple nursings per day? Exclusive breast feeding?

I am the full time nanny for my niece who will be 7 and a half months old when I get her back at 6 weeks. I am terrified that I will not be able to keep up the pumping with a 7 month old and a 6 week old. I know I need to stop worrying about the future and focus on today, but it's so hard.
LLQ1011's Avatar LLQ1011 11:23 PM 07-22-2012

I had this issue. Baby was in the nicu for the first 5 days so I pumped for the first four weeks. For his sleep nursing I started putting him on the boob because he was less likely to get frustrated. I also used a shield a bunch. IT WAS A LOT OF WORK. AND Tears on my part, and his part. It took me probably a month of a lot of work. On the boob off the boob. Taking the pacifier away helped. I wish I never gave him one because i feel like this was a hurdle for us. Good luck mama. I also had to try every position under the sun. My bf also helped me  a bunch, Sometimes his calmness helped us because baby and me were frustrated.

Go_Vegan's Avatar Go_Vegan 01:06 AM 07-23-2012
How did you wean him off the paci? My babe LOVES it, especially when he's tired. We're definitely not at the place yet where he can comfort nurse, and I feel so cruel taking suckling away from him when he so clearly craves it.
LLQ1011's Avatar LLQ1011 01:18 AM 07-23-2012

I just took it away. He didn't really need it the more he nursed on the boob the more he would spit out the pacifier. But my sons personality is not to comfort nurse at all even now. If i offer the boob and he is not hungry watch out because it is meltdown city. He very much associates boobs with food and me holding him as comfort. i think because his favorite position to nurse is laying down so i'm not holding him.


If he needs it let him have it. I would try a shield though to help him transition. Sometimes the shield I would use just enough to get the milk going and then I would take it off when he pulled away.


Breastfeeding is not easy. The first 6 weeks were so hard. BUT now its so worth it. I look back confused as to what was so hard. Thank god for my baby journal to remind me. 


The biggest thing for me was getting him on the boob when he was too tired to fight me. Or totally asleep anyway. This really helped get him used to it. 


Also my dbf literally would step in and finagle the baby onto the boob. I don't know if he had a better angle or what but sometimes that other eye is nice to kind of give your brain a break and let someone else try to fit the puzzle pieces together.


Your baby will get it and be such a pro it will be shocking. I remember once my son nursed for an hour straight. I was so excited I couldn't take him off. Then he projectile vomited everywhere. I felt so bad for over feeding him.