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What is going on here?

547 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  lalemma
My son is three months old. Sometimes at night, during his last long feeding before he goes to sleep, he'll get cranky and frantic at the boob. A lot of popping off, grumbling with the nipple in his mouth, kicking his feet, etc. Often, we'll switch to the other breast and he'll be okay for a minute, but then it'll start up again.

I don't think this is related to anything I've eaten.

I don't think it's that he isn't getting as much milk as he'd like (I can hear him gulping and can see milk leaking out of the corners of his mouth).

I don't think it's gas. what else could it be? The only two things I can come up with are that he's just letting off steam to relax enough for sleep, or that he really isn't hungry and just wants to comfort-nurse, but is grouchy that he keeps getting milk.

Any ideas? These bouts last about a half-hour and eventually he always calms down enough for sleep. He gains and wets really well, so in addition to the gulping/leaking clue, I doubt this is related to low evening supply.
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My 12 week old son does this too, pretty often. We've been sticking to a nighttime routine with him - bath, pjs, nursing, rocking, bedtime. He is always happy as a clam during the bath, but usually towards the end of getting his pjs on he gets cranky, and then it carries over into nursing. Sometimes, I get up and take him into another room and he'll nurse better there. Sometimes I take him off the breast and rock him for a bit to calm down, then we try again. Sometimes switching sides helps.

I don't know what causes it, but we're dealing with it, too. I think maybe, like you said, it's his way of "letting off steam," like he's just overstimulated from the day. In our case, anyway, I tend to think that it's less related to nursing than to his general mood at bedtime...
When my 1 month old does it it usually preceeds a poop by a few hours and it seems that he is uncomfortable internally but is trying to comfort himself with the boob. He often spits up afterwards as if he swallowed way too much milk. Then once he leaves me a present in his diaper he is happy as a clam and suckles some more then goes to sleep.
That's just my guy though...
I would say it's just some weird and extra suck-y phase... our dd is just now 3 months plus a week, and she's been acting just like this. Her kicky-ness usually happens in the morning, though.
I thought it was nipple confusion because it coincided with my return to work; I got her different bottles (breastflow) and she does that grumpiness with the bottles too! Just randomly, though. Just like she randomly grumps at the boob. I cannot for the LIFE of me figure it out, and I know it isn't food related because I eat an assortment of 5 different foods because she reacts to everything else.
Saturday, I was home, so she did the mini-boob freakout in the morning, I had to "trick" her by having her suck my finger and then substitute the nipple, but then she ate fine the rest of the day and even nursed while being held in an upright position (!!!!) that evening without complaint.
I assume it's just a 3 month old thing, and that it will pass. I sure did feel a whole lot better when she got mad about the bottle, though.
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My two-month-old does this too. I also thought it was nipple confusion, but now I think he just does it when he's tired and fighting sleep. I haven't heard about him doing this with the bottle, though. We just switched to the breastflows.
Hmm - interesting.

I'm wondering if this is associated with going through a developmental leap. He's having a really hard time settling down at the end of the day, these past few nights. Has anyone noticed this behavior going along with mastering a new skill, or a growth spurt?
it coincided with the "stormy" phase on the weeks of wonder chart. Have you looked at one of those?
dd (around the same age as your dc) is over the fussing at the boob/bottle now. for now. it seemed to coincide with rolling over/grabbing feet/some hand control. also, she seems to have made some cognitive leap, but it's hard to describe what that would actually be, just more autonomous, aware, and interactive.
she's starting to teeth atm, though, so here we go again with the fussy times.

Originally Posted by lalemma View Post
... he really isn't hungry and just wants to comfort-nurse, but is grouchy that he keeps getting milk.
My guy was born 1 day before yours.

When I suspect this, I just slip my finger in his mouth in place of the nipple. Does that work?
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You know, Hildare, I think you may be right about him being in a Wonder Weeks phase - thanks for the reminder.
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