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Does anyone else have to do sneaky sleep feeds due to outright breast refusal?

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#1 deejie

Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:53 AM

I am feeling pretty down today.

I have battled intermittent bouts of breast refusal (more refusing than accepting) with DS2(13m) for 4 months. He never took a bottle or had any other milk, so I have no idea why he is this way. At 10 months, an LC I saw successfully got him back to the breast. He would feed before his day nap, before bed at night and then reverse cycle and feed all night. Frustrating, but hey, at least he was feeding.

I had a good month where he would accept the day feed before his nap after lunch, but for the past 5 days have had outright refusal. Screaming at the sight of the breast, arching his back, pushing away. He will (surprisingly) go to sleep very happily without the feed. Offering at other times of the day produces the same behaviour. Now the 7pm BF before bed is starting to go the same way sad.gif

Problem is: he will only sleep for 40min without the day feed or the feed before bed. This tells me he still *needs* it, even if he doesn't think he *wants* it (if that makes any sense). So I let him go to sleep without it, then ten minutes in to the sleep, rouse him gently and being 90% unconscious, he will happily take the feed and sleep for 2 hours through the day or do a 3-4 hour stretch until 10 or 11pm when he feeds again. A comfort feed somewhere in the night and a big one between 4-5am.

All my tricks the LC showed me are failing miserably. He will *not* feed when he is awake. Has anyone else been in this situation where their baby will only feed when they are asleep? I have no idea what to do from here sad.gif I can't help but feel terribly rejected sad.gif

I remember telling myself in the middle of his terrible breast refusal episodes that I would be thrilled just to make it to a year with this child. But now we're at 13m, I still don't feel ready to stop sad.gif


Edited by deejie, 22 January 2013 - 11:54 AM.

#2 Mummy Em

Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

Sorry to hear that. It hasn't happened to me, but i have heard of it happening to other women so you are not alone. I can't offer any ideas though, sorry.

#3 brindle

Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

Yep. My DS2 was the same from about 8 mths of age. I was keen to keep going too, but he wasn't that interested. He wasn't taking a bottle either. Just keep for food and cups... and being part of the activity around him.

I ended up BF to 12 mths, but getting him sleepy from his cot in the morning, and doing a sleepy night-time feed too. Just gave up with the day-time stuff unless he really seemed keen (usually over-tired). I figured 2 BF a day was pretty good going.

Don't feel rejected - at 13m your fella is growing up and busy. As with food, all we can do is offer - it is up to them whether they take it or not.

#4 lucky 2

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

Hey deejie, sorry to hear you are feeling down.
I suppose you do have options, you keep trying to get him to take feeds when he is awake and he keeps refusing or starts to take some or he doesn't and you stop offering, thus weaning has occured.
Or you keep doing the sneaky feeds if it value adds, ie longer naps, you feel better getting some breast milk into him.
What might tip you one way or the other is the impact it is having on you rather than him and I could see that a mother could forget that aspect.
Could you give him an extra magnificently nutritious snack prior to his day nap to see if that will help him sleep longer?
I think the sneaky feed in the evening is pretty ingenious.
You can continue to do that as long as you wish, I've not heard of it but kudos to you for coming up with the idea.
Or you do what I did, sort of accept the refusal (begrudingly) but refuse not to give breast milk, express and give it to him by another method, which hopefully he will take, in a cup would be the easiest for you. If he refuses the cup you could put it in his food (fresh milk ideal) and maybe he will eventually take it in a cup.
Which sounds easiest? Maybe there are other options but you are doing your best re techniques for coaxing a baby back to the breast.
Best wishesx.

#5 iwanttosleepin

Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:47 PM

I gave up with the breastfeeding at 11 months because my DS just refused.  First it was the day feeds, then the night feed and then eventually the only one he would want was 3am.  Game over little fella!

He never had a bottle and just moved to food including cows milk.

#6 beaglebaby

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:12 AM

I think you've been totally ingenious to find a way to make him feed and sleep, well done.  DS2 (now 4) went through refusal at 8-9 months, it lasted several weeks and we never worked out what caused it.  I expressed and added milk to everything he ate but he wouldn't drink anything from a cup or bottle.  I tried feeding him in the usual places, strange places, outside, in the bath, while he was sleeping etc etc, nothing worked.  I saw a LC and the most useless GP I've ever met!  I was a mess.

One day he started playing with the button on my cardi and tried to shove it in his mouth - it gave me an idea.  I grabbed a nipple shield (we'd never used one before - I still had a brand new packet DS1) and he tried to shove that in his mouth.  So I expressed a little into it, put it in place and let him put his mouth on it and it was like he suddenly remembered feeding!  He wouldn't lie still and feed any more but he ended up feeding until after he turned 2!

Best of luck, I hope this isn't the beginning of the end of your BF journey but if it is you know you have tried absolutely everything possible and given your son a wonderful start to life.

#7 deejie

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:37 PM

Thanks everyone. I am feeling really bummed today. I don't understand why he will take a feed so willingly at night time and refuse the same thing during the day.

QUOTE (beaglebaby @ 23/01/2013, 01:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Best of luck, I hope this isn't the beginning of the end of your BF journey but if it is you know you have tried absolutely everything possible and given your son a wonderful start to life.

The logical part of my brain knows this. The illogical, emotional part feels like a breastfeeding failure. DS1 was a real boobie baby and self weaned just shy of his second birthday, and I kind of expected DS2 be the same, you know? Instead I seem to have this child who seems to have no survival instincts at all. I don't think he eats adequate amounts of solids, yet he refuses his one real source of sustenance sad.gif

I don't really know what to do. My heart isn't in it to keep feeding this way and my heart isn't in it to wean him either sad.gif

#8 crankybee

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:42 PM

Well unfortunately you're being told by your LO that what your heart wants doesn't matter! He doesn't want to be breastfed any more. End of.

#9 deejie

Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:03 PM

QUOTE (crankybee @ 23/01/2013, 01:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well unfortunately you're being told by your LO that what your heart wants doesn't matter! He doesn't want to be breastfed any more. End of.

Just charming, Crankybee. Thanks for that. Way to go in the breastfeeding support forum and all.

#10 axiomae

Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

I know the feeling! I've just been through a breast refusal phase with DD (7 months) where she fought the breast during the day but would have a big feed at the dreamfeed. Oh how I love that dreamfeed! So calm and snuggly original.gif

#11 Isobell

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

Hi deejieI know this thread is a few days old and I hope you're feeling better now. I just wanted to let you know that I am going through a similar thing and also feeling really sad. My 14 month old DS has refused his regular 2 x daily feeds for the past 5 days. I have no idea why, he just doesn't want it at all. I have tried various times of the time but its always the same, he pops on for a second or two, them pops off and rolls away and won't g0 back on. shrug.gif  shrug.gif
In theory I was hoping he would self -wean around now as we would like to TTC #2 and that will require IVF, which means no more BFing. But now the time has come I am not ready and I feel he is too young to really be self-weaning and that I must be doing something wrong. I know it's silly but I feel so rejected by him. So anyway (hug)

#12 SplashingRainbows

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

Hey Deejie

Just wanted to send you a big hug. You've done so well. 13 months is a cracker effort.

You know I know you want to do the best thing by your son, but it sounds like you're not quite sure what that is as he is giving mixed signals. Maybe then, since it might be easier to determine, you could think about what you think might help you best (no doubt the bf rejection isn't easy to take on a long term basis) and give that a trial?

My MIL had one milk addict baby and one who was never keen. FWIW both of them positively adore her (so do I - she is awesome). Both got what they needed throughout their whole lives. While your son might not need or want breast milk right now, it doesn't mean you won't do what it takes to give him the things he does identify he needs. So hard though isn't it - working out the difference when they can't tell you.

I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job.

Take care

#13 deejie

Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

Thanks to everyone for their positive comments and kindness.

He took his 7pm feed before bed last night without a fuss.... thank goodness. The screeching, wailing and general hysteria of trying to get him to sleep without it was enormously stressful. He might refuse it again tonight.... who knows with this child.... but having a good night has much improved my spirits.

I still have to sneak in and rouse him to breastfeed 10min after he falls asleep for his midday nap and if he refuses the evening feed otherwise he wakes in 40minutes in hysteria and won't take it. Or go back to sleep if it's the day nap. Strange way of going about things, I guess.... but it seems to be working okay so I guess I'll just keep on keeping on for now. WIth him still not consuming anything near a decent amount of solids it makes me feel a bit better to know he is having some BM.

He is still waking every 2.5-3 hours overnight and will BF then  if I offer it rolleyes.gif If only he showed such any enthusiasm through the daylight hours.

Having DS1 climb into my lap and bat at my shirt for a BF was so sweet. I am a bit sad I will never get to experience "properly" feeding DS2 in to toddlerhood. But for now I think my aim is to do what I can to get any in to him and enjoy what BFing time we have left.

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