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Need some support, I'm considering supplementing (also a solids question)

387 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Ruthla
I really don't want to supplement. I nursed my first babe until she was almost 3. I never anticipated feeling like this this time, but Jules is so completely different from Bella, I don't know what to do.

The thing is, I just don't know if I'm producing enough for Jules. For the past 3-4 months, she has been so upset at almost every nursing session, I feel like I'm doing something wrong by not providing more for her. My left side has a very low supply due to recurrent mastitis my first time around, so Jules has always been completely frustrated with that side, pulling and tugging and wrestling. But in the last month or so, she's gotten frustrated with the right side too. Our nursing sessions go like this: Latch onto the left, pull and tug and relatch like 6 times, finally get a letdown and suck for 2-3 minutes, then moan and scream and tug off and on until we switch. While we switch sides she cries and kicks and rages. We latch on the other side and she settles in and sucks until the stronger letdown is gone, and then starts raging again.

This happens at EVERY nursing session. For awhile, I could at least count on night nursing sessions to be pretty peaceful, but now it's happening all night as well. She wants to nurse to sleep but gets so agitated she ends up waking herself up more.

I know supplementing would most likely be the end of nursing because she's so intense and eager for more. But am I being unfair by not giving her as much as she's demanding? I've tried nursing her more often but she actually gets angrier if she hasn't actually given me hunger cues and I try feeding her. I'm eating oatmeal like crazy and it makes a big difference, but not enough to satisfy her. If we believe nursing our babies creates positive associations with eating, am I creating negative ones for her? This is really bothering me.

Here's the other issue. We recently started solids, figuring we'd ease in slowly. Well, Jules had other ideas. She wants everything we eat and gets really mad if we don't give her any (which is often). She snagged a cheddar bunny (like a goldfish cracker) one afternoon and ATE IT! She only gags on purees or cereal. Even directly after a nursing session, she eats quite a bit. So instead of supplementing, should I just feed her more solids? She's only 6 1/2 months old, so I know she should be nursing primarily, and I don't think more solids would solve her frustration with nursing. But if she's eating them with gusto, should I just let her lead (within the acceptable food boundaries, of course)?

I really don't know what to do, I'd love to hear some input. I feel like I must be withholding some kind of satisfaction from her, or else she wouldn't be so upset about nursing all the time
She's growing beautifully, hitting all her milestones etc. She doesn't wet a lot by my standards, but my first was a constant nurser and heave wetter, so my perceptions could be off. In general, she's a relaxed baby. Just in terms of eating, I guess she's very intense.

TIA, mamas.
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Is she co-sleeping and nursing through the night? I would try to increase her nursing sessions first. Have you tried mother's milk tea or something similar? I wouldn't bother with purrees or cereal. Give her solids she can self-feed. Let her eat her fill one meal a day (after nursing) and see how that goes.

good luck!

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If she's producing enough, you're probably producing enough? Can you supplement at the breast with a SNS or the like? Do you night nurse and co-sleep? A lot of babies (mine included) will nurse like fiends at night and very little during the day.

Have you eliminated suspect foods from your diet, just to see if she has a sensitivity?

I wouldn't push the solids too much more because it is soooo much harder to get all the nutrition from the small amounts and limited types of food that an infant can eat.
Thanks mamas. Yes, we are co-sleeping and nursing through the night. She nurses at 11, 2, 4 and 6
! And then she nurses 3-4 times during the day.

Good point about the nutrients from the solids, especially given that she can't eat many foods right now. I have tried mother's milk tea and it doesn't seem to do much for me. The oatmeal helps much more, as I discovered early on when I forgot for two days and had a weeping mess on my hands until I realized what was happening. When I'm not eating it, I don't even get a letdown on the left.
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I agree with the advice to let her feed herself as much as she likes, once a day, and see how that goes. I'd avoid spoon-feeding if I were you, and let her control the amount. Choose nutrient-dense foods like avocado, egg yolk.

You also might want to try offering the breast very often, even every hour if you can. I have definite low supply (due to breast reduction surgery) and struggle to have real letdowns, but I have been able to make up in frequency for what I lack in volume. My dd nurses quite often, not getting that much at each session, but it adds up. Even if you aren't having true low supply, maybe this technique would work for you?

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She's growing beautifully, hitting all her milestones etc. She doesn't wet a lot by my standards, but my first was a constant nurser and heave wetter, so my perceptions could be off. In general, she's a relaxed baby. Just in terms of eating, I guess she's very intense.
It's incouraging that she's growing well and hitting her milestones. I wonder if she just has a different nursing style than your first? Could she be teething? that can also cause that kind of fussiness. I remember my daughter going through a fussy and distracted while nursing phase at about that age. As long as she is growing well, looks healthy, is having wet and poopy diapers, I wouldn't worry about your supply. Even if your supply was a bit down, the best thing to do is just keep nursing that baby. Frequent, short nursing sessions are good at building supply.
my ds1 was almost exactly like that except i DID supplement from about a month on and he completely weaned by 16 wks
he did end up eating a LOT of solids though. he was just more interested in real food rather than formula and never ate more than 16-18oz a day. good luck
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How long has this been going on? Is it possible she's in her 6m growth spurt?

If you do decide to supplement with formula, I'd go with either a cup or an SNS- I wouldn't introduce a bottle because that could seriously interfere with breastfeeding. Maybe offer formula in a cup with her "meals" after nursing?
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