4 days old- refuses to nurse - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-11-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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my intention was to exclusively BF. We worked with the LC at the hospital and she latched/nursed numerous times, even a couple of tomes w/o help. Things seemed to go swimmingly. She fed a couple of times late afternoon before our hospital discharge, and right about the time we thought we'd be leaving, it was obvious she wanted to nurse again, but the doc was coming in... Our ride was on the way... So we delayed that session. But then the doc was late, our ride was late, it took forever to get the car seat in the car, traffic was terrible... And then it was many hours that she'd been wanting to feed and hadn't.

That night, we tried numerous times, but it made her crazy! She screamed until she was hoarse, she pulled back.. She'd lightly suck once or twice, but she hasn't latched since we were in the hospital. Yesterday, we gave her formula feedings because shed screamed for hours off and on and my attempts to get her to latch were completely futile and just made her mad.

This morning, I pumped for about 20 mins. My milk is starting to come in, so I tried to put her on afterward and I put milk on my nipple and her lips. A couple sucks then but hysterical screaming and pushing away AGAIN!

I want to BF because its better for her, but I am so tempted to say fuck it. This kid wont let me hold her more than a few minutes w/o staring to root and then crying hysterically. My partner gave birth to our 3 year olds, and they were never able to latch. We tried a couple LCs and they were no help. My partner ended up pumping for a year and we supplemented nearly half of what they ate with formula and they turned out ok. Mind you, I don't have the patience or stamina for a year of pumping.

I know she can do it, but how do I get her to persevere and not get frustrated? The longer I make her wait w/o eating, the harder it is to get her to latch w/o freaking out. But if I feed her formula, she's getting used to the quick fix. What am I supposed to do??
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#2 of 11 Old 11-11-2012, 07:53 PM
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Okay, I think you guys will be all right.  First of all, a lot of newborns, having had a bottle, get discouraged by the minimal flow on the start of a nursing session, especially if they're really hungry, so the first thing to try would be feeding BEFORE she's super-starving - like, basically, any time she's awake.  And, pump just a bit, until your milk lets down so you're flowing really well before you pop her on.


If that doesn't work - if possibly you have a very STRONG letdown and she's put off by the gushing - pump until your letdown subsides a bit and then put her on.


If you do feed formula, DON'T use a bottle.  You can cup feed a newborn easily - this video shows how - and it will be less like boobs-only-easier for her. 


Another thing that might help is letting her self-latch.  Sit reclined and hold her so she can bob her head around and find your nipple without you helping her.  It may just be that she's not comfortable in whatever position she's in.


Hope this helps. 

Postpartum doula & certified breastfeeding educator, mama to an amazing girl (11/05) and a wee little boy (3/13).

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#3 of 11 Old 11-12-2012, 02:07 AM
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Im so sorry you have to deal with this, Zeeee. I did and it wasn't fun. However I did get DD to EBF after 10 weeks of bottle feeding and she's still going strong at 19 months. PP had some great tips for you and I'd like to add a few. I explained in detail the approach that worked for us in an older thread; here's the link:

The biggest thing I can recommend is to make the breast a no stress, happy place. As pp said offer it when baby isn't hungry. This will give her a chance to learn when she is content and has the patience to try - one hour after a feed worked well for us. Relax and don't take refusal personally. I know it's hard to do but babies pick up on tension and any session where I was keyed up was a guaranteed failure. Kellymom is an amazing site for BF info and they talk about refusal to latch/nursing strikes. I found it very helpful:

Don't be discouraged! She is sooo young, her habits are not established yet. I should have transitioned DD earlier but we had medical issues with DH and had to leave DD with grandparents often in the early weeks. Even after 10 weeks of just bottle feeding she made the transition in a couple of weeks. It's certainly doable. Make sure you pump lots to establish supply and just offer the breast often in a no pressure way. I'm confident you two will have a fulfilling nursing relationship. Btw it's also a good idea to see an LC to get hands on help. I wouldn't be here without lots of guidance and support from a wonderful, experienced LC. Good luck! Feel free to post or pm if I can help any further. Congrats on your sweet baby girl smile.gif
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#4 of 11 Old 11-12-2012, 08:57 AM
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I also had a baby who refused the breast. In his case he had tongue tie, high palate, a recessed jaw and traumatic birth. A craniosacral therapist was able to get him on to the breast but then we had a long up hill battle to get him sucking efficiently enough to get all his nutrition from me. However by 7 weeks he was exclusively breast fed.


I went to a lactation clinic and saw a specialist MD. In our case the lactation consultants couldn't do any more. This is what she had us do. It goes against what LLL consultants will tell you but, they couldn't help me and this doctor did!


1. Feed every 3 hours

2. Nurse for 10 minutes only on each side, working up to longer

3. Bottle feed the rest of the meal using a slim nipple bottle. Use this as an opportunity to teach the baby how to latch on. She recommended the DR Brown bottles. IIRC they have a slower flow and no bubbles

4. Pump on each side


It was hard work but worth it in the end. 


My advice, see a good therapist (craniosacral, chiro, massage), then try to find the best lactation consultant you can. Good luck! 

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#5 of 11 Old 11-12-2012, 10:40 AM
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You're describing my son's behavior at that age to the t. It was so damn hard in the beginning. The others have given some good advice. What worked for us was just giving him bottles of pumped milk until he finally started latching on a few days later. Just keep offering at different times and in different positions. And try your best to reduce your stress level when trying because the baby can sense it and will become more upset. If it makes you feel better, a few months later it was like nothing had ever gone wrong and it took him 3 years to finally wean lol. Once you both get the hang of it, BFing is SO much easier than messing with bottles and formula, not to mention so much better for the baby.

Mom to a bright & energetic 6 y.o. boy  blahblah.gif   With my sweetie for 10 years now  blowkiss.gif  Registered nurse  caffix.gif

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#6 of 11 Old 11-13-2012, 11:05 AM
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 You say that, "this kid wont let me hold her more than a few minutes w/o staring to root and then crying hysterically."


You might just need to let her hang out in your arms, crying, and let her feed whenever - absolutely whenever - she feels like it.  My first child was a model of nursing and then sleeping peacefully, while my second baby was great at the hospital, just like yours, and then became so demanding and wanting to nurse and pulling off and going back on and crying and pushing away that I definitely cried a few times from feeling inadequate, or incapable of making her happy.  I think it was easier for me to keep going because I knew I was fine at nursing with my first child. 

Unlike Boot, I think that keeping schedules and time frames out of nursing is what is best for babies.  It's not very natural to enforce a 3 hour rule with a tiny baby that has a stomach the size of a walnut.  I found that finding a space where it was just me and the baby, so no one to watch and make me uncomfortable, no helpful "advice", no pressure to get her to stop crying, and no distractions for me or her, really helped.  And once it starts working a bit, online television is a great way to zone out and just let the baby nurse for as long as she wants!  I found the best way to breast feed well is to let that be something that you always make time for, and to really just give over that time to the baby.  You can't put a time limit on it, and you can't schedule it around life.  But that's kind of what is cool about it too.  It really is a chance to slow yourself down and have some time that is just you and a tiny human.  I also never pumped with either of my children, and I found that my problems with bf'ing were far less than my friends who did start pumping right away.  If you are concerned about nursing on the run, nursing shirts are awesome.  Once the baby is established, pumping seems to cause less difficulties.

I see you posted this a couple of days ago, so I hope it's going better for you.  I wish you well, and hope you can keep with breastfeeding instead of the bottle.

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#7 of 11 Old 11-13-2012, 03:11 PM
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Breastfeeding is hard at first....but the joys/rewards make it so worth it!  If you're pumping (and not giving formula) then at least babe is getting the good stuff and not being exposed to potential allergy triggering substances (e.g. cows milk in formula).  Feeding with a dropper or spoon (or even cup) will help prevent nipple confusion (and further breast refusal).  Sucking from a breast requires different muscles than sucking from a bottle nipple.  Tongue and palate development (and speech) is helped by breastfeeding.


Has anyone looked in your baby's mouth to check for lip and tongue tie?  


The easiest way to tell is to first lift the lip.  If you see a thin flap of skin that seems to prevent the lip from fully flipping up towards the nose (restricts it a bit) there is a lip tie.  When there is a lip tie, there is nearly always a tongue tie.  Tongue tie is harder to assess, but this link has some articles that walk you through it (with photos).  www.kiddsteeth.com

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#8 of 11 Old 11-13-2012, 04:59 PM
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Look up baby led mother assisted latching. There are some helpful videos. Some babies respond well to baby led latching. 

Mama to L (7) and A (born 7/15 by VBAC)
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#9 of 11 Old 11-17-2012, 03:19 PM
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Motion. Swaying, bouncing, walking, that was the key to getting my son to latch. I think that my over-active letdown scared him so much that motion was the only thing that seemed to relax him enough to forget everything and just latch on.
My thoughts are with you......you will figure out what works for your baby too. Oh and pp who mentioned just holding and letting baby latch whenever is a great idea. I also found wearing baby in a sling and especially if breast is bare, really encouraged latching
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#10 of 11 Old 11-21-2012, 03:46 PM
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This may or may not be the problem but sometimes a baby will disengage her latch because she actually needs to go pee or poop. So you might wanna look into elimination communication and maybe learn how to do some part time EC and it might help with some of your latching problems. Good luck! This can't be fun.

Andrea Olson, LOs = 5yo, 2yo, + 5month old all ECed from birth
Author | Go Diaper Free & The Tiny Potty Training
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I teach new parents how to ditch diapers with elimination communication at
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#11 of 11 Old 11-21-2012, 04:30 PM
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I'm wondering if the baby may be reacting to your breast milk because of something you ate? Have you tried, or thought about, cutting some of the "major offender foods" out of your diet? Here are some off the top of my head:







*Spicy foods

* Highly acidic foods

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