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4wk old not draining breasts. Please help!

13778 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  wombat
Hi Mamas. I know someone out there can help me.

My 4 wk old son is not draining either breast when he nurses and therefore is nursing ALL THE TIME. He latches on, nurses momentarily, then falls asleep. He's not getting any of the hind milk and is not getting his little belly full. I think this is why he's such a very fussy baby. He's not happy unless he is nursing or sleeping--and he won't sleep unless he's in my arms. The instant I lay him down or hand him off to DH, he wakes up and cries. I spend most of my day holding him, which is fine, but I also have a 2yo who needs mama too. I've tried nursing him skin to skin, rubbing his head, tickling his feet, etc. He rarely (maybe once a day and not for very long) has the quiet alert time. I've been getting plugged ducts because of it.

I do wear him/nurse him in the sling and that helps a bit with the "I need Mama constantly."

I'm going to take him in for cranial sacral work. My midwife and lacation consultant both think it may help.

I pumped for the first time tonight and Daddy gave him a bottle. Now he's just hanging out contentedly--I know it's because he finally got some good hind milk and is satisfied. How can I get him to nurse long and hard to drain a breast? Help!
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I would NOT use bottles. That will make the problem worse. I would also not pump at this point. If you really think he's not getting enough hind milk- block feed. Stay on one breast for several hours. FWIW my dd almost never "drained" my breasts but she was fine.

What have you tried so far to keep him awake for nursing?

Some suggestions:

- get your baby naked as soon as he starts to fall asleep. Change his diaper to wake him up again.

- Try "switch" nursing, where you switch sides every five minutes to try to keep the baby awake.

- Try compressing your breasts gently, and massaging the milk towards your nipple. This will cause milk to pool at the back of your baby's mouth and encourage him to start swallowing again.

That's all I can think of right now, hopefully someone else will have some more ideas.

I hope he gets less sleepy soon!

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I don't think it's a bad idea to pump here and there to prevent clogged ducts and encourage your milk supply to stay where it should be....some babies are extra sleepy and it takes them a bit longer to "get" the whole thing. of course, not getting enough food makes them sleepier, etc etc- but I definitely agree on not using a bottle. use a little cup, like the little dixie cups people buy for their bathrooms sometimes. just small amounts- but always encourage nursing first. a bottle at this point could lead to some serious issues.
it's not the nicest thing to do, but sometimes a damp washcloth across the head can help keep baby awake too. keep in mind that as long as baby has 6 wet diapers per day he is getting enough. sometimes a few sips here and there add up more than we think. I realize this is even more difficult with a toddler! just keep doing the best you can, I had an extremely sleepy baby - even though she was always bottlefed her breastmilk, she still had to be jostled awake to eat for at least the first month, and eventually she just woke up to the world around her and now eats plenty! good luck
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but by punping you increase your milk supply and if baby is ot drinking it all down that can lead to clogged ducts because you are overly flow. your milk should regulate in 24 hours. good luck i have no toher suggestions, oh i agree with no bottle, especially that young.
I don't really have any helpful suggestions, just wanted to give you a BTDT. My dd nursed constantly (seriously, I did almost nothing else) for the first six weeks of life. It just takes awhile for some babies, I guess, but it does get better.
I've only pumped/used the bottle once. I wanted to see if my theory was correct--that if he got the good hind milk he would be a happier guy--and I was right. I don't have any plans to pump regularly or bottle feed. This was a one-time thing. Now I need to figure out how to get him to do that on the breast.

When he nurses, he sucks a few times, then slips off the nipple, then latches back on, sucks a few times, slips off the nipple...and on and on. It's like my nipple is made of water and it's too slippery for him to get a grip. Or, he latches on, sucks a few times, then falls asleep and flutter sucks. I want him to latch on, stay awake, and suck like hell for a good 15 minutes or so.

I'll try only nursing him on one side for a while to see if he'll drain one side at least.

Originally Posted by yellowwood mama
When he nurses, he sucks a few times, then slips off the nipple, then latches back on, sucks a few times, slips off the nipple...and on and on.
Is he latched on properly? Another idea might be to try expressing some milk before nursing him, latch him on after the let-down.
Since he only sucks for so long, is your milk letting down close ot the end of his few mins or after the fact and keeping your breasts very full? You may be too full for baby to latch properly, causing him to slip off. Maybe try expressing some milk off before putting him on? Or, is your letdown very active and he pulls off? You could pull him off as you let down and let some milk drain, then put him back on? Has someone else critiqued his latch? (LLL leader) That could be very helpful. Also, has anyone checked his frenulum for tongue tie?
Just some random ideas, I would need more info to be more helpful.
I really think it sounds like a latch issue.
I agree with get the latched checked out, either with some help from an LC or LLL leader. If he's not latched on well, he can nurse til the cows come home and not get enough milk/get to the hindmilk.

Have you tried breast compressions? That helped us to get a better transfer of milk til we got the latch improved.
I also think it sounds like a latch problem. How's his weight gain? If he's not gaining well, I'd suspect latch problem even more. My dd had a high palate and COULDN'T latch on well. Her behaviour was like what you've described. Although with high palate you'd probably be having some major nipple pain by now. What does your LC think about his latch?

A newborn who isn't getting enough milk (I wouldn't worry too much about hind milk per se) will get sleepy/uninterested at the breast. Was he born early? Some early babies get fatigued quickly before they can take in enough milk.

It's important the LC diagnose it properly because poor latch can really affect your milk supply. I had to pump a lot to restore my supply with my dd.
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