sporadically refusing to feed (sometimes for a day) — The Bump
Breastfeeding

sporadically refusing to feed (sometimes for a day)

My son will be one month (4.5 weeks) old tomorrow. We have had our ups and downs but for the most part things have been good. He knows how to latch properly and my flow has been good for him. Sometimes I do have an overactive let down but isn't forceful enough to make him upset ( he will pull off take a few breaths and relatch a few seconds later no problem). My problem has been at sometimes he nurses great and randomly some days and or nights he refuses a proper latch or the breast all together. He will scream and cry and after calming him if he does latch he will nurse for a min then try to pull back to just the nipple (as if he just wants to pacify and not get milk) but I know he is hungry. He hasn't eaten much plus if he just wants to pacify he normally is content with my finger as a pacifier. I know it isn't a flow issue because I can express with no issues. Oh if I let him pull back on the breast to just suckle, he will do so for a short time and either put himself to sleep or get angry because he isn't getting much (since he isn't really latched). I just don't know if these are off times (because it can be sporadic) and there is not much I can do or if it is an issue I can actually address. On days where he is like this all day it is so stressful. I've read and read and can't find anything. Mostly people chalk it up to flow and I really don't think that is our issue. He will cry and cry because he is hungry but refuses to eat. He doesn't receive any supplement only breastfeeding. He has had a bottle on a couple of days when he got really bad I have had my husband give him a slow flow bottle just so I know he is getting something but have had him feed with me just fine after. Also he was doing this before he was ever given a bottle (has only ever had three) so I know it isn't nipple confusion. Any ideas?
crsanchez87

Re: sporadically refusing to feed (sometimes for a day)

  • That's very stressful for you. It may be something you are eating that might not agree with his tummy, my DS had issues with dairy if I had too much on a daily basis for instance. You can try to see by eliminating things or by keeping a good journal and finding a correlation in food to fussiness.

    The other issue that I might guess at without seeing what is going on is that you may have an overactive let down and it's frustrating for him but he's trying to just deal with it. You could try nursing in a different position or laying down on your back with baby on your stomach, allowing gravity to slow your flow.

    When you are having rough days like that (it's so frustrating to not know what is going on) you could try feeding him when he is just getting sleepy or do a 'dream' feed where he is asleep but willing to latch. Skin to skin during feedings if possible can be helpful and wearing him in a carrier is a great way to elicit feeding.

    Is there a local La Leche League group you could get in contact with? Leaders can be very helpful and have lots of resources.

    Wishing you the best!
    crsanchez87
  • I was having the same issues last night. I think it was a diet issue. Yesterday was Easter and we had a crawfish boil so I had some spicy-ish veggies and sausage from that and I don't think it agreed with him. It was a rough night. He was rooting and making all signs that he was hungry but when he got to the nipple he would suck for maybe 3-5 mins at most then pull off and be angry. Then I'd put him the bassinet and he would continue to make hungry face and I'd try it all over again. We didn't sleep at all.
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  • Thanks for your ideas. I don't think it is over active let down. I do have a heavy let down sometimes and I can tell because his eyes get wide and he gulps and gasps but he doesn't get mad, he just pulls off catches his breath and relatches to keep going. I'm wondering if it is acid reflux but he never spits up or any of the other signs. I drink milk every morning at breakfast but have happy days so I don't think it is dairy or he would be upset every day. Honestly I don't have any food that I eat that is different from day to day that could cause it the days it happens. I've had times where he screams refusing to latch when he was giving me "hungry lips" but then after I spend time relaxing him he latches. He won't latch unless he is awake so I can't dream feed. In the end he is eating and growing so I may just have to deal with the bad for a bit till he is bigger. :(
  • see8esee8e
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    Sometimes my DD does something similar and the usual culprit is a burp/tummy bubble that I haven't successfully dislodged.
  • He is gassy. I have found at times when he gets this way I end up burping him for a longer time than it took to feed him. I have also found that sometimes he is fighting sleep and wants to comfort nurse so he doesn't really want milk. I have finally after some work got him taking a pacifier when this happens instead. Just wanted to follow up for anyone with a similar issue. Thanks for the advice.
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