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Two Possibilities...
by: Heather ;-)

Ann,

Sounds like you've both had a rough couple of days!!! Breastfeeding is often like that, with the ups and downs. The good news is that it does level off and become more of an "up" eventually. The bad news is that you still have those downs to get through...

Here are some thoughts...

1) Her tummy is upset. Have you eaten/drank anything different in the past week? Any new vegetables? Broccoli and bell peppers used to give me girls terrible gas... Does she seem constipated to you? (Here's some tips on figuring that out.) Here are some ideas for curing constipation, if you think she may be. I would also call your doctor and ask if you could give your infant 1-2 tsp of prune juice mixed in with a bottle of breastmilk. (I would call b/c she's only 7 weeks...) Prune juice was always helpful with my girls.

2) She's frustrated at something. My oldest, Lauren was very impatient with her nursing, which was difficult at times. She wanted to get a TON of milk right away... You could try using a supplemental nurser. This is a bag that hangs around your neck and has a tube that you place next to your nipple. You can fill the bag with formula or pumped breastmilk. This enables impatient eaters to get the milk they want, but you are still being stimulated at that same time, b/c she's sucking.

I'll give this some more thought today and see if anything else comes to mind.

with care,
Heather

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Doing Better...
by: Ann

Heather,

Thank you for your quick reply. I would say nursing has been the most challenging thing I have ever done... far more so than completing my dissertation! I keep telling myself, "Give it one more week..." every week and we are now on week #8. Woo-Hoo!!

I have examined my diet and the only thing I can think of would be pumpkin pie. While I have had apple cinnamon oatmeal quite a bit with no adverse affects, perhaps the combination of cinnamon with dairy is a double threat. Sadly, I will forego the pumpkin pie to see if that is the offender.

I took my daughter to the pediatrician yesterday and she said it is likely she is just compressing a number of bowel movements into fewer. She says this begins from about months 2 to 4. She also took her temperature rectally... to try to get things moving. Well, it did! She had quite a bowel movement all over the exam table. She did feel better afterward so I was thrilled. I now have a new trick to try should this happen again.

Upon closer inspection of her new feeding challenges, I have noted she is getting choked by the let down reflex. I have no idea why this is causing a problem now because it never has before. She will latch, begin nursing, and as soon as the let down reflex goes, she sputters, lets loose, gasps for air, spits out the milk, begins coughing and also pushes away. Often, she will begin to scream, kick, and flail her arms. I am wondering if it is just too much too fast... but I can't really control that. She gets breast milk all over her, me, the nursing pillow, etc... She also ends up sucking in more air than normal leading to more spitting up. When she is tired, this behavior leads to screaming and flailing as I have never seen before. Do you think she will move past this? I hope she does soon because her refusal turns into a big mess.

Thanks so much for your advice. I would love to be one of those moms who nurses for longer than a few months but a person can only take so much rejection. :) (Oh, and I have been working with a LC.)

Ann :)

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A final comment...
by: Heather ;-)

Ann,

I only have a second, but wanted to give you my cheers that she had a bowel explosion (isn't it funny how happy those things make us moms? )

I had forgotten about the 'ole rectal temperature trick...I'll definitely have to add that to my constipation article. Thanks for reminding me about that one!

8 weeks is awesome! You've made it past, in my opinion, the hardest time - when your milk supply is getting established. It really is a feat - when you remember that you're feeding every few hours! That's a lot of sessions under your belt (and every one of those is successful, since if they weren't you wouldn't have any milk at week 8!)

I have heard of what you've described - about the choking after let down. You could try to express a little before each session, so that your breasts aren't releasing so much at the beginning. You could also pump every few sessions and give her the milk with a bottle. Since she's 8 weeks old, it's unlikely she'll have any major nipple confusion. Bottle nipples have varying grades of holes to help control the amount of fluid baby gets with each suck. It's possible that by occasionally using a bottle, she'll get used to the higher volume.

Good for you - meeting with an LC - it's something I did and highly recommend. Too many moms try to "Do it alone" and then feel bad that nursing is a struggle for them. If only breastfeeding were so easy for all of us!

On the bright side, isn't it interesting to see her little personality taking shape? Baby temper tantrums are always amusing to me (toddler ones are not! ) because it is such good evidence that that infant has an opinion and she's going to tell you about it!

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