The Distractable Nurser (8 mo. old)

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
The Distractable Nurser (8 mo. old)
8
Thu, 10-29-2009 - 10:35am

Hi ladies, I'm hoping to find some BTDT advice, or just some plain ole encouragement to hang in there! Here's what we're dealing with...

I have gotten myself so worked up recently about Rheanna's nursing habits. Let me give you some background, she has always been a distracted nurser, even from a very young age. She hated for me to talk (or anyone else really) while she nursed, looking up at me with disgust like 'Mommy, why would you be speaking right now, I'm busy' -- which only progressed into popping off the breast at any sound (or something she thought she heard), god forbid my husband or dog walk in the room, it's all bets off! We went through a nursing strike and bottle preference when I first went back to work at 11 weeks and I had to completely reteach her to latch, suck vigorously, etc. It was fun to say the least, but that gives you an idea of how committed I am to continuing to breastfeed and pumping at work at least up until the first year.

It has just been so hard recently, I can't get her to nurse at all during the day hours, which means on the weekends no nursing between 9am and 9pm and on weekdays, no nursing at all after I get home from work, I have to wake her up when I go to bed around 9/10pm for a dream feed, and then she'll nurse in the mornings just fine. It's so bizarre, it's not that she won't latch, she will, but she just won't suck vigorously enough for a let down. It's driving me crazy and stressing me out considerably. I'm going to try a 'nursing necklace' in hopes that helps her concentrate. She has also taken to plucking, tugging and flicking my nipple, the one that she should be nursing from! LOL. It's such an interesting journey, but something I'm not willing to give up on. I guess if all else fails, I can supplement with solids and bottles during the weekdays and on the weekends just nurse her at night, solids during the day.

Oh and to clarify, when I say 'no nursing' this is not without me trying, I put her to the breast OFTEN, and as I mentioned before, she will suckle but just won't actually draw the milk down to eat! I try to keep every experience positive, not forcing her...I know all the tricks from our previous nursing strike. That time she wouldn't even nurse at night, now she is fine at night, just during the day/waking hours...I'm really at a loss.

I read about self weaning and know it's rare, especially as young as she is, but I really think she's over milk during the day, she's just too busy. Even her bottles she is less interested in...she didn't take her third bottle yesterday for my mom and only drank half of one of the other two. Daycare always gets it in, b/c I'm sure they force it down, whereas my mom won't. She has always taken in less milk than than most infants, averaging 20-25 oz a day, now it's more like 20 consistently.

summersiggie09


Photobucket


pumping

summersiggie09

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 11-02-2009 - 8:35pm


It sure sounds like you’re experienced with nursing strikes and distracted nursers. The first thing I always recommend is to be sure your lo isn’t ill. Sometimes babies are more vulnerable to a nursing strike (and eating/drinking strike) if they aren’t feeling well.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Tue, 11-03-2009 - 7:32am

My DD was fairly distractable.

Will she nurse if you go into a darkened bedroom and lie down with her?

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
Tue, 11-03-2009 - 10:29am

Hi Kathy, thank you so much for your response, I'll try to answer all your questions, hopefully this will clarify :0)

"The first thing I always recommend is to be sure your lo isn’t ill."

She may have had a small cold/congestion, but nothing major, although you never really know what's going on inside, she definitely seemed 'herself' in every other way. This is a great thing to keep in mind though, and has been the case in the past, so thank you.

"It sounds like you’re doing ok but the experience at daycare may be impacting her."

I agree and have always kept in mind what I've learned on these boards about 'how to give a BF baby a bottle' etc, even made my mom (watches her 2 x days a week) the handout from kellymom. I would say this might be the issue, but she only goes 3 days a week to daycare and yesterday, they did write on her sheet that they left an oz. at the end of a feeding, which makes me feel like they aren't forcing it as much as I thought. Also, her primary DC teacher is back from a month long vacation, I think she's more in tune to how to bottle feed a BF baby. I love her for that!

"It’s not uncommon for babies, especially easily distracted babies, to prefer the faster flowing bottles and begin to spend less and less time at the breast."

Yes, I have kept her at medium flow only b/c she was consistently not finishing her bottles at DC and I thought she would prefer the medium flow to slow flow (we were doing better with nurisng at the time). This was also during a growth spurt, she was actually taking about 3 oz more in her bottles overall than she does now, I reduced after seeing she wasn't coming close to finishing.

"Are you pumping? Is all her milk ebm? Is she taking lots of solids?"

Yes, I pump at work, twice a day in a 9 hour total day. I get roughly 12 oz, and that's what she gets at DC. 3, 4 oz bottles of EBM. She has never had formula. On the weekends since she started refusing to nurse during the day, I try not to give her bottles at all. I pump once in the middle of the day on Sat/Sun just to keep from getting too engorged. This seems to be working okay. As far as solids, it's the same on the weekdays as the weekends. She gets fruit and oatmeal in the morning, usually the fruit is homemade peaches, pears or apples. She gets a green veggie in the early afternoon, then since stopped nursing in the evenings, I added in a solid meal before bed, which is usually us playing with finger foods and/or me trying something new like last night it was black beans and cous cous. yummmm. I only added this third meal in to supplement her lack of nursing. She also gets sips of water or watered down juice with her meals at home, out of a cup, not a bottle. She is definitely into her solids. I have taken it very slow. We didn't start until she was a week shy of 6 months, then I progressed very slowly due to an immediate issue with constipation. She's absolutely in love with the solids though. Shows an interest she never showed for nursing, bottles or breast. I try not to give too much into it and I always offer the breast before any solid meal.

I also wanted to chime in on the other post you gave me the link to, as far as visualization and breathing techniques. This has definitely worked for me in the past. In fact, I attribute yoga breathing and visualization to my somewhat easy labor. Also, closing eyes, deep breaths and visualization is also a HUGE part of what helped with her initial nursing strike at 11 weeks. I did so many of the things you mentioned. Maybe even from your exact post, it all sounds so familiar. I did deep breathing, visualized flowing milk, waterfalls, milk geysers, etc. I also sometimes picture her at other ages, as a toddler, a little girl, all the good times we'll have, etc. Sometimes it's just enough to distract me from the stress/anxiety of it all and elicit the let down. I am VERY aware of how my body responds to stress and like you, I would get more and more worked up the more frustrated she gets at the breast. I've learned not to do that any more, as much as I can control it. Part of that for me is allowing her to come out of nursing position when she wants to, b/c I don't want her to associate those positions with frustration.

Another poster also asked me if she'll nurse in a quiet, dark room and unfortunately no. This used to work, but since she's a bit older, she still won't relax or 'turn off' in this environment. I've tried humming, singing, talking to her, but if she's not into it, she'll sometime suckle through, but not suck vigorously enough for a let down.

For now, I've allowed her to continue nursing at night on demand and waking her up in the evening for a dream feed. Not sure what else I can do at this time.

The most important thing is that she's happy and healthy and that is definitely the case!

Thanks again for you advice and support!

summersiggie09


Photobucket


pumping

summersiggie09

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 11-14-2009 - 1:56pm
Sounds like you are already doing all I can think of and then some! I'm sorry we don't have any easy or fast working answers for you. Just keep up the supply as best you can and bf when she will. I think you're doing a great job. Keep us posted.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Sun, 11-15-2009 - 9:41pm

One thing that does jump out at me a bit is that you're giving 3 meals at 8 months old. Usually we wouldn't recommend a third meal until closer to 12 months. Sometimes we see that babies are just filled up by all the solids and just not as hungry to work for the nursing. WOuld it be possible to ratchet back on the solids a bit or at least not offer more for a while?


Dana


Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
Mon, 11-16-2009 - 8:27am

Dana, you're right and I agree. I actually only added the third 'meal' after she started cutting back significantly on milk during the day. I was worried there was too much time between her last bottle (4ish) and her first dream feed (10ish). I have actually cut way back on her solids this week, not fully by choice, but she has a virus so she's not interested in solids and coincidentally has been nursing again. I'm not happy she's sick but it's given us a chance to work BF'ing back in and allowed me to give her comfort when she needed it most. We've had some amazing moments in the past week, just a sick little babe and her mama! :0)

I wanted to ask, at 8 months old, is it worrisome that she is down to roughly 10 oz of BM when she's away from me? I had been giving DC 9 oz in the beginning, then she went through a growth spurt and was up to 15 oz which I could barely keep up with, then we dwindled down to 12 oz for the past few months, but now she's not even taking 12 easily. It seems she's more comfortable with 3 oz bottles, partly b/c she only has the concentration for about that long. When she's with my mom I don't worry, b/c I know she'll push the bottle away and my mom will stop feeding her, but if I give DC more, they'll try their hardest to get the milk in even if she's not into it. So I like to only give them what she'll take without a huge struggle.

summersiggie09


Photobucket


pumping

summersiggie09

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Mon, 11-16-2009 - 8:59am

Well, I'm certainly not happy she's sick but if she's nursing well while she's awake, maybe it's an opportunity to get her back in the habit of nursing regularly during the day.


Nope, it's totally fine for me to only have 10 ounces of milk during the workday. That's actually what we'd typically see. Now, we'd typically see the baby nursing once or twice in the morning, a couple times in the evening before bed and at least once overnight. Is she doing that now or is that not happening?


Also, have you ever tried pumping just to the point of letdown so the milk is right there when she latches on and she doesn't have to work for it? Do you do compressions while she's nursing?


Dana


Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
Mon, 11-16-2009 - 9:07am

On a normal day when she'll take 10 oz or so during the day, she will not nurse before bed, but I wake her up at 10ish to nurse (I'm full so she gets no less than 6 oz or so then) and then she nurses in the morning, so on average only twice in the night, but I would say those two feedings are a good 12-15 oz total. Lately she's been up an extra time at night and I'll feed her then as well, but I think that's more being sick than anything.

I have tried pumping to let down and then nursing her. Occasionally this will work, but I have come to the conclusion that this baby knows what she wants and what she doesn't. It's not that she's not patient enough for a let down, if she doesn't want it, it doesn't matter if the milk is right there, she'll push me away with certainty and refuse it. Sometimes I can get her to take a little, maybe an oz or two that way, but most of the time, if she's not into it, it's not happening.

If I'm trying to get her to drain the breast, I will do compressions, I also do this when I pump.

summersiggie09