When Your Baby Goes on a Nursing Strike
Why did your baby suddenly refuse to nurse? Read on to find out.
Deciding between bottle and breast when it comes to feeding your baby is, for some mothers, a much thought-out decision. This is especially true for mums who return to working outside the home after the birth of their child. So for those mums who choose to breastfeed but whose babies go on strike (refuse to nurse), the issue becomes even more stressful.
A nursing strike happens when a baby refuses to nurse after having done so without a problem since birth.
Why babies go on strike
There are a number of reasons that babies quit nursing. Some are easily ‘fixed’, while others may take a little more persuasion on mum’s part to get things working again.
1) A stuffy nose or cold
You know what it is like to have a stuffy nose and try to take a drink, so think of what it makes your baby feel like. They will resist sucking because it makes it so hard to breathe.
2) An earache
Ouch! Earaches are painful enough on their own, but when you add sucking to the problem…and the pain.
3) A cold sore or thrush
Cold sores often break open when a baby tries to suck, causing pain and burning sensations. As for thrush, if you’ve never had it, count yourself fortunate. It hurts. About the only thing that feels tolerable in your mouth is something cold.
4) A fever
If a baby is hot, being pressed against a warm body may cause them to be restless. When the issues are medical conditions such as earaches, stuffy noses, thrush or fever, getting the proper medical treatments and medications should take care of the problems.
5) A change in the taste
Mums need to watch their diet carefully while nursing. Whatever you eat will affect the taste of the milk. If the baby does nurse, though, some foods can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. The taste of your skin could also change due to the soap, lotion or perfume you use. Funny tasting milk can be fixed by making dietary changes. Cut out the spicy, gaseous and acidic foods (or at least keep them to a minimum). As much as we all like to use luxurious smelling soaps and lotions to keep our skin soft and smooth, you’ll need to squelch using them on your breasts. A light baby lotion will suffice and do not put anything but nipple cream on your nipples.
Sucking causes gum pain in many babies during teething. Teething pain can be soothed with all-natural teething pills or topical numbing agents. Using 15-30 minutes before feeding should take care of the problem and allow baby to nurse pain-free.
7) Preferring a bottle
If your baby uses a bottle during the day while you are at work, they may decide they prefer the bottle.
When a baby reaches the age of 5 or 6 months, they are realizing there’s a great big world out there for them to see and explore. They may come to view nursing as an impediment to their exploring. If your baby is distracted, because there’s so much to see and do, try to nurse in an area they are familiar with and one that is quiet and allows you and your baby some solitude. Changes in routine and surroundings often cannot be helped. When these things occur, it is important to keep your baby’s routine as unchanged as possible as well as familiar blankets and bedding.
9) Too much milk
If a mom has an excessive supply of milk, it may come to quickly, causing the baby to feel frustrated-possibly even choking or gagging. Take the time two or three times a day to express some of that excess milk and freeze it for use in a bottle.
10) Overuse of pacifier
Overuse of a pacifier may satisfy a baby’s urge to suck, causing them to be less interested in nursing as long.
11) Nipple confusion
Does he usually get a lot of bottles? Did you upgrade to bigger teats? Stop all bottles and persist with the breast.
What else can I do?
Try to keep other aspects of your baby’s routine as normal as possible during the nursing strike. Give him or her extra love and more physical contact.
Keep track of wet diapers
If you are worried if your baby is consuming enough fluid – do keep track of his or her wet diapers. As a general guide, look our for at least five to six wet disposable diapers per day – or six to eight cloth diapers.
Don’t take it personally
Remaining calm and not taking your baby’s resistance to nurse personally will do more to help than just about anything. Your baby can sense your nervousness and will take their cue from you. Just do your best to assess the situation, make the necessary changes and love and nurture your precious little one.