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What To Do If The Baby Suddenly Starts Refusing Breast?


A breastfeeding strike can be triggered by a baby's sudden refusal to breastfeed for some time after months of successful breastfeeding. The baby is usually attempting to communicate with you that something isn't quite right.

A breastfeeding strike, however, does not always imply that your baby is ready to be weaned. Breast-feeding strikes are frequently brief.


Causes of Breast Refusal

  • Discomfort or pain: During breastfeeding, teething, thrush, or a cold sore can cause mouth pain, and an ear infection might cause pain while sucking or laying on one side. A vaccination-related irritation or soreness may induce discomfort in a specific breastfeeding position.

  • Illness: Breastfeeding can be challenging for your infant if you have a cold or a stuffy nose.

  • Distraction or stress: Fussiness and trouble nursing can be caused by overstimulation, delayed feedings, or a protracted separation from you. Your intense reaction to being bitten during breastfeeding may have the same impact. Sometimes a baby is simply too preoccupied to nurse.

  • Unusual Smells or Flavours: Your baby may lose interest in breastfeeding if your scent changes as a result of a new soap, perfume, lotion, or deodorant. A breast-feeding strike can also be sparked by changes in the taste of breast milk, which might be induced by the food you eat, medicines, your menstruation, or being pregnant again.

  • Decrease in Milk Supply: If you use a pacifier or supplement the h formula too often, your milk production may suffer.


Is it a hunger strike?

Think about the following questions - they may let you know that all is well and that even though your baby is refusing some feeds, she is contented and healthy and getting sufficient breastmilk for her needs. If you're still concerned, a thorough examination of your baby by a medical professional may be reassuring.


How to bring the baby to the breast?

  • It's your job to persuade the baby to latch on to the breast. Attempting to compel your baby to breastfeed is not recommended. Forcing a baby to the breast does not work, it is stressful for the baby, and it might lead to breast aversion. Baby will grow to trust that breastfeeding works as he improves at nursing and can get more milk via nursing. He will also have more patience when latching.

  • Wear clothes that you can take off easily so that your baby can quickly feed. In the extra fraction of a second that mom takes to lift the blouse and undo the bra, the baby may become irritated. If possible, spend time in a warm environment where both mom and baby can be naked from the waist up.

  • Skin-to-skin contact can help your infant nurse more effectively and gain weight more quickly. Keep your baby as close to you as possible, and give him plenty of chances to nurse (even if you don't succeed). Get skin-to-skin with him shortly after a bottle feed (or however you're supplementing) when he's asleep. In this manner, the baby can sleep and wake up happy, skin to skin at mum's chest, and mom will be right there to detect the first hunger signs. These are excellent baby steps, not failures if the infant moves toward the breast and then falls asleep before even mouthing the nipple or sucking twice.

  • Avoid putting pressure on the baby to nurse. Offer in a very gentle manner and act as though you don't mind if he declines (it's easier said than done, but try not to exhibit frustration — your goal is to avoid pressing baby to nurse). Holding the back of the baby's head or pushing or holding the infant to the breast is not a good idea. If your baby pulls away from the breast, don't try to entice him back in right away; instead, try again later. If your infant becomes irritated when you offer the breast, reduce the pressure and simply make the breast available (plenty of kangaroo care!). Lots of skin-to-skin time with baby, where he is cradled at the breast with no pressure to nurse, can be beneficial – provide control to your baby, so he decides if and when to feed and when to stop.

  • Frequently offer the breast. Breastfeeding can be done at baby's favourite area, in his favourite posture, in the bath, while walking around, while lying down, with baby upright, baby flat on his back, in his sleep, just as he is waking, or any other way you can think of, i.e. any time, anyplace.

  • Sleep close to your child. You'll receive greater skin-to-skin contact with your baby if he or she sleeps with you, and the baby will have easier access to the breast (see this information on safe co-sleeping). If your baby isn't in the same bed as you, put his or her bed next to yours or in the same room so you can catch early feeding cues, nurse more easily at night, and get more sleep.

  • Next, when he's completely calm and tired, or even asleep, start providing the breast for comfort. Nursing in the side-lying position, which allows for less body contact, may be beneficial. Begin working toward full breastfeeding if your infant is willing to take the breast for comfort.


Take Away

It's a nursing strike, not weaning when newborns abruptly quit nursing. Self-weaning rarely occurs before the age of 18-24 months, and it is nearly never abrupt.


We often hear moms asking us, "Will the baby nurse while sleeping or after he or she wakes up?" This is typically one of the finest times to give it a shot. You might also try nursing while lying down or walking about. For further information on persuading baby to nurse, see the tips at the top of this page.


You'll want to express milk as long as the baby isn't nursing as frequently as previously to maintain your supply, be comfortable, and avoid the risk of clogged ducts and mastitis.


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