Baby latches and pulls off?

I'm an exclusive pumper at the moment but LO and I are working on breastfeeding.  Per our pedi's and LC's recommendation, we try nursing 2x a day and I give her bottles (of breastmilk) the rest of the time.

These past couple of days, LO has been doing this thing where she latches but keeps pulling her head back and off of her latch, then does it again.  She works herself up and gets mad and too frantic to nurse, so when she does that I end up giving her a bottle.  She pulls off too vigorously for me to try to hold her head in place - she just won't stay on.  I mentioned it to the LC but all she said was all babies do that.  LO has been doing it a lot lately and we really haven't been able to nurse at all. Any suggestions for when she does that?  I've tried giving her the bottle for a few minutes then putting her back to the breast but that doesn't really seem to help.

She has a great latch when she stays on, and she's getting stronger and seems to be able to suck a lot.  But this pulling off thing is tough, and it seems like once she starts doing it the session is shot.

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Re: Baby latches and pulls off?

  • DS does that when he is tired. I switch sides until he calms down. Sometimes we swtch back and forth 3 to 4 times before he stays latched. It is frustrating though.
  • One of my babies did that in the beginning.  I came to realize that my letdown was a bit slow and he was getting agitated.  He did not latch well until he was one week old so he had bottles before that and I think he had gotten used to the easy flow of it.  If I were you I would attempt to put your LO to the breast more often and then give a bottle.
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  • I also switched from EPing to EBFing, and it was a tough road.  Are you using a nipple shield?  That helped us a lot.

    When my son get hysterical (usually overtired or during his evening fussing session), he sometimes gets too upset to latch.  Today, I offered him the pacifier for a few sucks to calm him down, then tried again.  It worked for us.

    Good luck! 

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  • mchupiemchupie
    10000 Comments 250 Answers Sixth Anniversary 250 Love Its
    DD does this when I have an overactive letdown.  It took me a while to figure out that this was the cause.  When she does this, I just prop her more upright so gravity isn't working against her.
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  • My LO does this a lot.  Sometimes she needs a break to burp.  Other times I switch her to the other side.  Usually one of these two options works.  When I burp her she screams (bc she's still hungry), but once she burps and I put her back on she's fine.
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  • Mine did that a lot in the beginning too. Sometimes it was because my letdown was too fast and he couldn't keep up. Sometimes it was because he was so hungry and my letdown wasn't fast enough and he would get upset. Lol, he was finicky a lot in the beginning. I think it was a little bit of him learning how to nurse. We tried giving him a bottle (of breastmilk) at 2 wks and it was a disaster. The bottle let out more milk than my nipple and so he would get too much milk at once from the bottle. It could be that she isn't used to having to work as hard and is getting frustrated by not getting as much which could be why going to the bottle then back to the breast doesn't help? When mine got really frustrated I found that sticking my finger or a binkie in his mouth to suck on helped calm him down enough to slip the nipple back in. You could try to get your milk going before you start nursing so she gets the taste of milk in her mouth as incentive to get her to stay latched? Good luck! She'll eventually get the hang of it!

     (Oh and when we first started using the bottle, he wouldn't go back to the breast very easily. He actually refused and didn't eat for 4 or 5 hrs (at 2 wks old). I think it was because of the difference between the bottle texture and my nipple texture.)

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  • It took me a good week and a half to figure out that my LO was doing this because he needed to be burped. He needs to be burped about every 5 minutes while we are nursing.... not sure why. Sometimes he doesn't at all, but when he gets squirmy and pulling off or fighting with me, it means that he has a gas bubble and needs to be burped. 

    I'm sure this is not the case for all babies, but it was for mine! 

    edit: every once in a while it's because of an overactive letdown, but i can usually tell the difference, because he acts just slightly differently. Be sure to watch your LO really closely so you can learn the signs of what they need! 

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  • Thanks so much for the responses, everyone, sorry I'm so late to read them.  Lots of great suggestions!  I haven't been pushing DD to nurse as much until now because our priority was getting her to gain weight (the NICU folks told us not to let her get too agitated or scream too much because it burned up too much energy), but she's been gaining really well and is getting chubby (so cute, the cheeks kill me) so I'm trying more to get her to nurse.

    I'll try all the suggestions here and see how it goes.  Sometimes when I blow gently in her face that seems to help her get on track, too, like she gets distracted from whatever was making her pull off.  Thanks!

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