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Sudden refusal of right breast
16 week old


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Future-self

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

For the last 48 hours my 16 week DS is refusing to fed from my right breast - he yells, cries, squirms, arches his back, pulls off and the most I can get him to do is two or three minutes immediately after letdown but he mumbles and grumbles for most of that even with his mouth full. He's a slow, methodical feeder usually and it takes him 15-20 minutes on each side to do a feed so 2 or 3 minutes can't be draining the breast.

  • There's definitely milk there as it ends up on his face and fills the nipple sheild when he comes off.
  • The flow is slower from the right but I've tried switching and doing it first, then second after the left, then starting on the left but switching to the right after a couple of minutes - but nothing helps.
  • I'm expressing that right boob after each feed ATM as I'm worried about supply if he keeps refusing

What on earth is going on??? Can anyone shed some light? We'd finally reached a good feeding place after such a rocky start where his weight gains are now fabulous, he's happy, I'm happy and suddenly this  sad.gif


#2 deejie

Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

Both my children have refused my left side around the 3-5 month mark. The flow on the left has never been as good as the right, even though with DS2 there was certainly not difference in supply. Both would latch on, if I really pushed DS2 in particular I might get a minute or two of feeding but they would be fussing, squirming and tugging the whole time. Put them on the right side, gulping away happy as can be! I think at this age they become fussy. Why work harder for milk on one side when you can have it gush on the other? Too clever for their own good original.gif Nothing I could do after a while could entice either baby to take it.

It may be worth clearing any medical problems with your GP (? ear issue) particularly if the refusal is recent and acute. Alternatively, could there possibly be discomfort in the neck area making feeding on that side uncomfortable (? chiro/osteo check).

If the refusal turns out to be a chronic problem, there is really nothing for you to worry about supply and nutrition wise. DS2 has been feeding off the right side only since 4 months of age and he is now 12.5 months. DS1 fed off the right side from a similar age until he self weaned at 23 months. The preferred side picks up in supply to cope with the increased demand and is capable of feeding your child on its own. Your baby will definitely not go hungry.

The only downside from feeding from one side long term is that you (temporarily) become a tad lopsided wink.gif

Good luck!

ETA-- if the flow is a bit slower on one side, have you tried feeding without the nipple shield to improve accessibility and flow? Just a thought.

Edited by deejie, 06 January 2013 - 07:28 PM.


#3 Future-self

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:03 PM

Thanks deejie - reassuring to know that there's the option of one breast doing all the work! I've fought pretty hard to get this far so any issue makes me a bit panicked I think.
He didn't sleep as well as usual last night so I wonder if it's all related but he doesn't seem to be in pain and moves freely on his mat rolling in both directions with ease. I might check with the GP tomorrow, thanks I didn't think of ears or pain being the issue.
As for the shield, I was hoping to really concentrate on perhaps not using them this week and have been researching more tips and tricks above what the LC suggested. Trouble is, DS's attachment really is poor without them and my trials last fortnight without the shield them left me with a sore, misshapen nipple. sad.gif

#4 aidensmum

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:08 PM

Ear infection was my first thought?

#5 Future-self

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

QUOTE (aidensmum @ 06/01/2013, 08:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ear infection was my first thought

hmm  So, it would be the lower ear on that side that could be the culprit if infected? Or could it be either ear?

#6 feralisles

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:19 PM

Both of mine did this OP, but I can't remember if they both rejected the same side!  I never found out why, but ended up feeding from one side only with no problems at all (and I don't have big boobs LOL!)  I think once they start to take less from one side the supply in that breast diminishes, which gets them more frustrated and more likely to refuse.  It is a bit of a vicious cycle - at least with the diminishing supply you aren't likely to get mastitis if he does stop taking that breast altogether.  Isn't it amazing that supply is regulated in each breast individually!
And in case this happens to you, the lopsidedness is definitely temporary.

#7 Felix101

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:49 PM

I had the same thing happen with DS around 4 months too.

I just kept expressing to keep supply up, and kept trying every other feed (but not letting him get frustrated or cranky - just one or two quick attempts then on to the other side). He got back on after a few days like nothing had ever happened original.gif

I also suspected ear infection, and had him checked out by a doc, but he was fine. Someone also suggested it could have been teeth, but I think he just wanted to keep me on my toes...

#8 lucky 2

Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:44 PM

Maybe get the GP to have a look in his mouth too, has he got a tongue tie that's been missed or is there another reason why he is needing a nipple shield or you get a squashed nipple? eg inverted or short nipple.
If you don't want to answer my q. please ignore it original.gif , I'm pretty nosey.
Ear infection crossed my mind too, it often isn't this though but it's important to cross out medical causes.
Often it passes so it's great you are expressing instead.
Perhaps consider sitting in bed or in a recliner chair/lounge, recline to abour a 45degree angle and put baby on your chest.
He may be able to find your breast with or without help and have a feed this way rather than him lying across you so one ear is up or down.
This is called baby led attachment and the link below explains it and has photos.
https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/attachment-breast
It crossed my mind and might be worth a try in a situation of breast refusal as it takes the pressure of you and baby.
If you start with a baby who is just waking and calm then this might help, he may attach without being fully awake.
You can still use the shield if you need to.
It might be worth seeing the LC again to have a go at bfing without the shield.
All the best.

#9 libbylu

Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:50 PM

My DS went through a breast refusal stage at 4 months, with one breast being worse than the other - he was soley breastfed.  It lasted for about two weeks.  I had most success with the night feeds and early morning feeds - it was better if he was sleepy.  He seriously must have hardly drunk much that whole time and my breasts were engorged and very painful.  It was quite stressful. Then he got over it all of a sudden and continued feeding as before.

Another thing to check for is that your DS doesn't have an ear infection and it is painful for him to lie on that side.

#10 Future-self

Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:06 AM

DH held him on the 'bad side' to settle him last night and DS was fine so no pressure pain from the ear. I've also checked his temp a few times and not up and he did his normal good nights sleep last night so I don't think it's an infection.

QUOTE (lucky 2 @ 06/01/2013, 09:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you start with a baby who is just waking and calm then this might help, he may attach without being fully awake.

Thanks, this worked a treat this morning and the 5am feed went off without a hitch whilst he was half awake  original.gif  The 7am feed he was a bit grizzly but I stripped him off, went skin to skin and he stayed there even though it lacked some enthusiasm. He fed long and lustily from the good side straight after too so I expressed a little longer off the right.


QUOTE (lucky 2 @ 06/01/2013, 09:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe get the GP to have a look in his mouth too, has he got a tongue tie that's been missed or is there another reason why he is needing a nipple shield or you get a squashed nipple? eg inverted or short nipple.
If you don't want to answer my q. please ignore it original.gif , I'm pretty nosey.

Nosey is fine. original.gif  The shields frustrate me but it seems they are here to stay. The LC identified my left nipple as slightly inverted but the right is 'normal' . I've had the Paed and my GP as well as the LC and an MCHN  check his tongue since leaving hospital but apparently it is fine so not the reason for the poor attachment. I shape the breast, try baby led attachment...my nipple always ends up either 'lipstick shaped' or red raw. I'm admittedly a bit scared now to mess with it all since it's working with the shields (well, it was until he decided my right boob was evil) but really would dearly love him off the shields, even just one.

Thanks libbylu & Felix101 I'll keep offering and hopefully it's just a passing phase with him too!



#11 lucky 2

Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

Great to hear your baby has consented to some contact with the evil boob!
Skin to skin is always worth trying, it cant hurt and it may help.
I suppose you are stuck using the shields if your nipple cant get deep enough in his mouth without it.
There is no harm in trying every now and again with out the shield, it still might happen as his mouth is getting bigger and your nipple might get more stretchy.
All the best.

#12 kwiggle

Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

DS did this for a while, then a few weeks later refused the OTHER boob.  Babies are strange creatures unsure.gif .  My only advice would be to keep expressing in the hope your supply will remain ok.  Could also give you a good freezer stock for later.




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