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Comfort Suckling?

  1. #1
    hannah.e.law is offline Registered User
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    Comfort Suckling?

    My 19 day old son has started having a hard time resettling after his 2am feed. The only thing that seems to settle him is sucking some more, even though I know he shouldn't be hungry. Instead of his usual vigorous suck he'll just suck mostly with his lips and without swallowing. He'll suckle, settle, and then wake as soon as I put him down. At first I thought it was gas or such that was bothering him, but last night it was 3 hours and tonight we're going on 4 hours.

    My routine is to change him when he first wakes, feed and burp as many times as he needs until he stops searching for my nipple after burping, and then I'll settle him down in his crib. If he's still fussy I'll burp and rock him a bit, maybe change his diaper if he seems really uncomfortable. For the most part this works, but the 2am feed is really hard for him for some reason.

    Could it be that he just needs that comfort suckling (but for over an hour or more!)? Or is there something else I'm missing? I'm not keen on introducing a pacifier, but my nipples never get a chance to recover and are becoming tender (after they finally got used to BF!) Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    Why are you not keen on pacifiers? We love them in our house! Babies definitely need to suckle for comfort and it's a good way to stop them doing it on you! Friends who didn't allow the pacifier now wish they did. One sucks their thumb and one literally sucks a bottle all night long, and she's 4...

    Pacifiers don't ruin teeth like thumbs do. Ifyou decide to try it my tip is to take it out of their mouth when they are asleep so they don't need it all the time and wake up when it slips out. We've never had any problems.

  3. #3
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    My son wasn`t a suckler when he was a newborn, though he was a mighty sucker in the early days. I was never sure about how much milk he was getting. How do you know he shouldn`t be hungry?
    My routine was when he woke, I would feed him one side and then change him to rouse him a bit and to give his digestion a few moments to settle and then I would offer him the second one.
    If he`s really just after suckling and it`s keeping him awake (at 19 days I`m surprised), then you might want to think about a pacifier. I wasn`t keen on introducing one to mine, and didn`t until later and it was rejected. But like I said, mine wasn`t a suckler until much later when he found his hands - now he`s very happy. I`m sure your little one is still quite strong with his sucking of your nipples so I can understand why you don`t want him sucking on them. I would reconsider a pacifier, especially if it means more sleep for you and comfort for him.

  4. #4
    hannah.e.law is offline Registered User
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    Mostly I guess I'm not keen on them because at least if he's sucking on my nipples, he might be getting milk if he wants it. I'm pretty sure he's getting enough milk because I have plenty and he "empties" at least one side if not both at every feed. He has plenty of wet diapers and is gaining lots of weight too.

    Also I don't want to introduce a pacifier too early, (I'd heard 6 weeks was the earliest you should think about introducing one) because of the long term implications of forming habits and so on. He found his hands and his thumbs quite early on, (like day 1) but this past week he seems to have lost interest in them. Not sure why, and this may be what's leading him towards the comfort suckling.

    One thing I am concerned about is that he seems to really be straining to poop. Could this lead to him being uncomfortable at night? I know BF babies don't get constipated, but he really works hard at it!

  5. #5
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    0ze_Kid is offline Registered User
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    I am with aussiegal - I see nothing wrong with the pacifier (or dummy as I say). I suspect the nurses use them in the hospital (and I mean that in a nice way, nothing sinister).

    I would like to add that maybe bub has reflux? DD had it and was very unsettled until she went on meds (not that she was that settled after that but feeding and sleeping did improve). I would feed, put her to bed and she would sleep for one cycle and want to feed again to re-settle so I did. Once we had her diagnosed with reflux I would feed (and she would fall asleep during feed) but keep her elevated for 10 minutes before putting her in bed (plus having her bed elevated like they do in hospital). The 'dreamfeed' thing didn't exist for me as I was always up for 45 minutes+ but it made for a happier baby.

  6. #6
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    my girl was a HUGE comfort sucker... after our first night at home with no let up from her, i sent hubby out for a pacifier. she used them a LOT for the next two years. when she got to about 20 months, she decided that she didn't want them anymore. she has refused them ever since.

    i strongly suggest you try it, if only to give yourself a break. i know you're doing this on your own and with everything else going on, you don't need to be sweating the small stuff.

    i know if i hadn't introduced it with my daughter, i would not have slept at all for the first 2 years almost.

    i would also check out the possiblilty of reflux.

  7. #7
    sherwes is offline Registered User
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    My son was also a big comfort sucker. I sent my husband out to buy a dummy when he was 3 weeks old as my nipples were just soooo sore.....

  8. #8
    LeahH is offline Registered User
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    I had exactly the same problem with my son in the early days but it was after the middle of the night feed onward til morning around 4am - 7am. Very unsettled, fussy, gassy and wanting to suck.

    First thing I did was totally rule out hunger by giving him a bottle of EBM at the middle of the night feed (did this at 3 weeks and had no nipple confusion). Still had the same problem.

    We introduced a dummy but it didn't make a huge amount of difference, he was still very unsettled.

    Like Ozekid, we decided it was probably reflux because of the straining noise, being always at the same time of the night, bringing his knees up and the desire to constantly suck (sucking gives them comfort/relief from the acid rising). We elevated his head in bed more and after all feeds and began medication (went for takepron as the zantac was too gross tasting).

    Things improved slowly and now he's 3 months he settles much better in the night and we've stopped the reflux medication. We've kept his head elevated though (he's in a hammock so this is easy to do) and the dummy is still there.

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