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Baby fussing and fighting breast
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#1 Tesseract

Posted 10 April 2011 - 09:28 AM

DD 5 weeks and I have had a rough and very challenging start to breastfeeding. But after a few weeks we are finally starting to get somewhere...well I thought we were. She started fussing at the breast, fighting it, crying, punching it away, coming off and screaming, pumping her leg...and when she does suck she is not settled and comes off quickly. At first it was just happening on her less preferred breast in the middle of the night when I was quite full...now it's happening more and more and more...we rarely get a feed where it's not a total struggle. She does it at the start of a feed, in the middle, after a change etc. I try to keep her calm, give her to dad for a calm cuddle etc, then he gives her back to me and the second I try to put her back on it starts again! I'm going out of my brain.

I've tried burping, changing her, letting her suck on my finger to calm her etc. I don't think she's uncomfortable...I don't know what else to do. Sometimes I wonder if she's not hungry - but she has to be hungry! When it's been four hours since her last feed, she's chewing her hand, mouth open looking for it etc. And she really goes for the breast, but then gets really upset about it all, comes off, screams and won't feed.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to just express for her and stick it in a bloody bottle, at least then I wouldn't upset her so much. It's starting to really affect me, I feel like all we do is fight. I know she's a tiny baby and this is wrong, but I feel like she doesn't like me. And I get frustrated with her, which isn't fair on her.

Sorry for the rambling vent. Thanks if you got this far.

Question is: did you have a baby who exhibited similar behavior, any suggestions??

#2 firsttimemummy18

Posted 10 April 2011 - 09:49 AM

I just came on EB to write an almost identical post.. No suggestions unfortunately, but I'll be watching this thread! Only difference is my son is only 1 week old, and this behavior just started last night..

Good luck, if you have any success please let me know!

#3 brindle

Posted 10 April 2011 - 09:52 AM

There are a few things that worked for me...

Try reduce dairy, eggs & wheat in your diet.
See a pediatric chiro or oesteopath. It was a miracle for us.

Good luck

#4 Sassenach2

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:02 AM

A couple of things come to mind - could you have a fast let-down and do you see your bubs dribbling the milk and your breast spraying? If this is the case, then you could try posture feeding - that is your bubs laying on your tummy as you lay down and she is sucking uphill. This will settle down after a few weeks, and it may not happen at every feed, but you could try that to see if she still does the struggling and crying. The other thing I thought of, could she have a neck problem from birth, do you think, or an earache and the feeding is exacerbating the pain. You could have her checked by your GP to see if there is an underlying cause. Also, try the football hold for feeding and a different position may help. If you think it is a fast let-down, you could try feeding from one side only, but making sure you express some off the other side, if it feels uncomfortable.
There is also a new finding (well, I think it is new) called "Wonder Weeks" where babies are starting to stay awake more and be grizzly and the research the author of the book states, that 8 times during the first 12 months, babies have these unsettled times and 5-6 weeks is the first one. The reason they are awake more and grizzly, is that they need to become aware of things, they need to grizzle because they are learning that they get attention and they are growing. It all will pass, but what do you do in the meantime. I hope some of this helps. bbighug.gif bbighug.gif

#5 shelly1

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:34 AM


When my 8 week old is fussy it is due to either forceful letdown (which is worse on one side) wind (try burping) or she is tired and wants to suck but doesnt want milk.

#6 lucky 2

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:38 AM

Hi, I'd suggest taking bub to a LC for a feed assessment, eg feed behaviour is observed and interpreted by someone who specialises in BF management including all of the associated problems/complications. The only way to really get a handle on why a bub does what she/he does is to watch the bub "in action".
For a 5 week old bub, the LC could look at the bfing history (a lot can happen in 5 weeks!) and check bubs body/mouth and your breasts and work with you to improve latch and feeding (if that is the issue) or advise if bub is suffering a medical issue.
For a one week old my suggestion would be the same but of course the issues are likely to be different, often for a 1 week old it can be related to the breast being too full at the beginning of the feed (ie you will need to hand express a little bit of milk to soften areolar prior to the feed) or some other positioning and attachment issue.
It is very hard (almost impossible) to get an accurate idea of why a bub behaves like this with feeding without seeing it, but it is very common and is very often improved with the right kind of help.
I did have a very fussy feeder (more of the OP's variety) who had a tongue tie that interfered with depth of latch and she also developed silent reflux and came on and off the breast screaming. But, we had help in identifying and sorting out all the feeding issues and come 3 months, soooo much easier, so I hope you both can get some expert assessment and have confidence that these feeding issues are most often able to be changed or managed. All the best.

#7 brindle

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:10 PM

I only had a minute to comment earlier... but would like to add something.

I had problems with the letdown during feeding with my DS1. After he saw the pediatric chriopractor this went away. My flow never changed, but my baby's ability to cope with letdown down. Turns out his neck was 'out' and shoulder dislocated. He had also broken his collar bone (this was confirmed with x-ray). (note: No one in hospital or MHN figured any of this out).

Once his neck was better, he fed better. No more dribbles!!

Nothing is quite that easy, and I also found that when I ate lots of dairy he got "colicky" quite quickly, which affected his feeding and then settling.

By 12 weeks he was fabulous. It was a hard slog - but soooo worth it.

Hope that helps

#8 No girls here

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:24 PM

Every feed I had with DS1 was a struggle like that.  I felt the same as you - every feed seemed like a fight and I definitely felt that it prevented me bonding with him.  After he was about 1 month I started expressing exclusively which we both found far less stressful.

In his case I think he was just highly impatient and extremely hungry (which he still is nearly 7 years later).  Once he could have a bottle and therefore feed much quicker he was so much happier.

#9 Pupalumps

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:26 PM


Edited by Pupalumps, 11 April 2012 - 12:03 PM.

#10 Mamabear2010

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:29 PM

My ds was fussy at the breast because of reflux. I started noticing symptoms around 6 weeks. Similar to what you've described- seems hungry but pulls away shortly after I started feeding.

In the first instance, I suggest phoning the Aust Breastfeeding Assoc counsellors. They will be able to give you some immediate advice based on their experience. They will ask specific questions to help them assess your situation. Whilst eb is helpful, you'd probably get more relevant advice because they know the right questions to ask and have a wealth of knowledge.

From there, you can look at lactation consultants, drs or chn.

Hang in there! The first few weeks can be tough. Hope you have a good night and get some rest.

#11 nasty snaugh

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:42 PM

QUOTE (brindle @ 10/04/2011, 10:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are a few things that worked for me...

Try reduce dairy, eggs & wheat in your diet.
See a pediatric chiro or oesteopath. It was a miracle for us.

Good luck

Our osteo is one of my favourite people in the whole world. It worked wonders for us.

#12 I*Love*Christmas

Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:54 PM

This happened to me too with my DS. Stop start stop start. Scream, kick legs etc. It started from the beginning and at 6 weeks I started expressing breastmilk and feeding from a bottle. He settled right down, began to sleep. I think he may have been impatient. Perhaps my milk flow was too slow. Who knows. After one bottle he refused the breast altogether and so I bottle fed him breastmilk for ages.

#13 popsuko

Posted 10 April 2011 - 11:01 PM

Hi OP & next P. My son did this in those first few weeks, and it was so, so hard. I really feel for you both. But, he is now 14 months old & still breastfeeding.

A few suggestions:

- Expressing & bottle feeding. We had to express & bottle feed DS from 4 days until 2 weeks old. I'd try it to make sure bub is fed, then once she's feeding ok, getting enough milk, happy, work on getting her back on the breast. My advice would be to buy an electric breast pump. We hired at first and it was a total hassle. I've used the one we bought a lot since for other reasons. It was a good buy. Also, if bubs won't drink from a bottle at first, try a different bottle. DS wouldn't take the one we got with the breast pump at first. My brother went up the street and bought a different shaped one with a totally different teat and DS took it!

- See an osteopath who specialises in treating babies. We went to Dion at Health Point in Northcote (Melb). She was fantastic. 3 appointments with her made a massive difference to DS's feeding. He'd had a tight jaw & sore neck from birth. When you're making the first appointment tell them your baby's age and that you're having feeding problems & it's urgent. When I rang to make DS's appointment they said the next one was in 3 weeks and when I told them he was 4 days old and having BFing probs they got him in the next day.

- See a lactation consultant. We were able to see two, both for free, one through the Mercy Hospital and the other through the local council. Call the hospitals in the area & the local baby health centre & explain your situation. I was amazed at & grateful for all the help available. Also, go to a breast feeding clinic at a nearby hospital. I went to one when DS was 3 weeks old, and even though he was feeding ok by then I got some good pracitcal advice out of it. You spend the day there with lactation consultants & other mums & bubs and you even get lunch. And it's free!

- Hang in there. You are doing the best you can for your baby. I remember how hard going through what you're going through was for me. I had the same thoughts & emotions you describe. They run very deep. I hope this post has helped. My thoughts are with you both.

#14 lucky 2

Posted 11 April 2011 - 10:28 AM

Also, go to a breast feeding clinic at a nearby hospital. I went to one when DS was 3 weeks old, and even though he was feeding ok by then I got some good pracitcal advice out of it. You spend the day there with lactation consultants & other mums & bubs and you even get lunch. And it's free!

Excellent suggestion, but unfortunately sad.gif (in Vic) it is no longer possible to do a bfing day stay in any public hospital as it will not receive funding from the DoHealth, they now offer only outpatient appointments (usually an hour in duration) and will not usually offer appts to women who have not given birth at that Hosp.
If you have not got access to publicly funded LC assistance then private LC's are also available.
All the best.

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