Breast Feeding Baby – Coping with babies on a nursing strike

Breastfeeding may seem like a natural and easy process, but it is not always so. It can be difficult for mothers at times, more so when a baby refuses to take your breast. This is when your baby goes on a nursing strike, and may not take your breast. You could have been successfully breastfeeding for several months, after which the baby may refuse to nurse abruptly. There are several different reasons for this, and each cause has its own solution. Breastfeeding mothers should be aware of the reasons behind babies refusing to take their breasts, so they can better cope with it, without leaving the baby hungry.

Babies normally go on a nursing strike between three to eight months of age. It normally lasts a few days, to up to a week but these few days can be upsetting for the mother. She may feel neglected, unhappy or panicked if the baby refuses to take her breast. Moreover, the babys refusal to take the breast can cause engorged breasts or blocked ducts which can lead to discomfort and pain. To avoid this, you should make sure that you pump your breast a little before feeding the baby. This not only keeps your milk flowing, but it also ensures that you have ample milk for your baby as she returns back to feeding.

Here are some of the most common causes of breast refusal:

Breathing problems The baby could be suffering from a cold or stuffy nose, leading to breathing problems. In such a case, you should make sure that the baby has enough breathing space while breastfeeding. You can also try and pump milk from Lansinoh Double Electric breast pump or Medela Advanced to feed the baby. Changing your nursing position can also help.

Infections Certain infections such as an ear infection can cause pain and discomfort for the baby. An ear infection can also cause problems in sucking and swallowing. In such a case, try feeding your baby at frequent intervals, so that the baby is not left starved.

Teething When a baby is teething, usually around the sixth month after birth, it can lead to discomfort, causing the baby to refuse to take your breast. Mothers can start using breast pumps at this time to feed their child, if they are afraid that the baby may bite them. However, with patience and persistence, you can easily continue feeding the teething baby.

Some teething babies are afraid to take the breast from the fear that mom might yell if he tried to test his bite at her breast.

Breastfeeding after a prolonged interval If you have been away from your baby for a while, like when going to work, the baby may feel neglected and stressed, refusing to take the breast when you come home after work. To avoid situations like these, you should plan in advance if you decide to go back to work, so you can gradually take the baby off breastfeeding.

Low milk supply If you are not producing enough milk, the baby can refuse to take your breast. Usually mothers who are cross-nursing face this problem. You may also feel reduced milk supply if you have introduced a bottle or pacifier to the baby, or if you have not breastfed in a while. If you plan to continue to breastfeed your child, make sure you maintain your milk supply, by massaging and pumping your breasts.

Adopted child An adopted child who has already been introduced to bottle feeding, or was already nursing at another mothers breast will refuse your breast. However, this should not discourage the adoptive mother and she can get the baby to breastfeed her by giving a lot of attention and skin to skin contact.

Getting the baby to your breast Mothers can take several steps to get the baby back to their breast. Nursing strike should not last more than a week, and with the right attention, you can get the baby back on feeding your breast in just a few days. Here are some solutions to cope with babies on a nursing strike:

Give your baby lots of attention By keeping the baby close to you and giving her attention, you can make the baby feel comfortable with you. Using a sling can allow you to keep the baby close to your breasts when you are not feeding.

Minimize distractions When you are trying to get your baby to your breast, you should make sure that there is minimum distraction. You can move to an empty room and dim the lights with some soothing music to get the baby to breast feed.

Nurse the baby before she sleeps When the baby is feeling sleepy, you can be more successful in getting her to nurse. The baby will not create a lot of fuss and will easily take your breast.

Vary your nursing position Some babies might not be comfortable with the position in which you feed. Try changing different positions to find the most comfortable one for you and your child.

Continue to offer your breast If your baby is on a nursing strike, do not give up. Instead, keep offering your breast at more regular intervals. Frequent feeding will make sure that the baby is getting some milk from time to time and will not leave the baby completely hungry.

If your baby goes on a nursing strike, never give up. It is completely possible for you to start nursing your baby again within a few days. All you need is patience and persistence and you will be happily feeding your baby in just a few days.

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