Lately I am having a really hard time to get my almost 4-mo-old to nurse at bedtime. He generally nurses to sleep at bedtime, but recently he has REALLY been resistant to it. (He typically nurses just fine during the day, and the 3-4 times he wakes in the middle of the night). I think I am timing his bedtime well (ie when he shows that he's tired), but he just won't settle down to nurse. I have tried nursing him side-lying (often his favorite during the day), leaning back/cradle hold in my bed, and while bouncing on the birth ball (bouncing has always calmed him well), and nothing is really working. He just rears his head back and cries and tightens and squirms. The only thing that has worked the past several nights to calm him has been to give him a pacifier and bounce him, and then when he is close to sleep, I'll yank the paci and stick my nipple in his mouth to "trick him" into nursing (although, I usually guess wrong a few times first, thinking he's calm enough, and end up doing the "paci to boob switch" 3 or 4 times before I'm successful -- when it doesn't work, he just freaks out and starts crying/squirming again, so I put the paci back and continue bouncing). Often times he will "fall asleep" with the paci/bouncing combination, before I've been able to get him to nurse well, so I put him down not knowing what else to do, but he wakes and cries within a few minutes (which makes sense to me since I know his belly isn't full). Tonight this entire process of trying over and over to get him to nurse/"false alarms of sleeping" took me an hour and a half to get him to finally sleep for real. I feel like I have to "break his spirit" to get him to nurse :( It makes me so sad! And frustrated that he won't sleep/I don't know how to help him. He does not seem to prefer one breast over the other (his behavior is the same on both sides) and he is showing no signs of illness. He is definitely an easily distracted nurser, but this is all happening in our darkened bedroom with a sound machine going, just him and me. I am a new mom and would really appreciate some suggestions! Thanks!!!
Both of my babies have gone through this stage at least once...usually related to teething or a developmental burst.
The thing I've found that worked was nursing in a carrier "on the go" to sleep. Or just trying to tank them up really well before bedtime and walking to sleep instead of nursing.
I've used my Becco carrier, Mayawrap or Ergo for nursing while walking. My fave is the Mayawrap..my babies both have loved the snug closeness with that carrier and I think it helps as a sort of a straightjacket during times of overstimulation.
I've done the paci or finger to boob trick too!
Just keep trying different techniques and baby will surely switch it up on you again soon. Keep up the good work.
I went through a similar spell with my 3 month old. Also had to do the boob paci trick lol. She got to where she would only "really" nurse if she was half asleep and then just as quickly as it started, it stopped. Now she nurses fine. I'm also a new mom so I don't really know why it started to begin with but I can say she now mostly nurses fine.
this post reminded me there may be an underlying issue - do you have a very fast letdown or oversupply?
I had to "block feed" my baby for a while to help with this issue. When they get mostly foremilk from having an overabundant supply, it can make their bellies gassy too, which my babies have rebelled against with resisting nursing.
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13