You might have been breastfeeding beautifully for some time, with a baby who seems like they cannot get enough milk, until one day when they just refuse the breast. This is called a nursing strike. A nursing strike is when your baby refuses to feed, for seemingly no reason at all. Knowing how to handle a nursing strike will help you deal with what your baby is going through, and hopefully get them back to feeding as soon as possible.
Why Do Nursing Strikes Happen?
There are several reasons why your baby might go through a nursing strike. It could be something on their side, such as teething, the start of an ear or throat infection, or even a stuffy nose. All of these reasons might put them off wanting to feed. It might also be something on your side, you may have a reduced milk supply without you knowing. The taste of your breast milk might also have changed. This could be due to a new pregnancy or medication. A nursing strike might also be due to a change in their schedule or just you using a new perfume. There are so many reasons why a nursing strike might happen, so go through these reasons and see if any fit.
How To Handle A Nursing Strike
If your baby starts with a nursing strike, you need to remain calm and patient. In a way, a nursing strike is your baby letting you know that something is wrong, so be patient, caring, and gentle and help them through it.
Here are ways to deal with a nursing strike:
- Try to change feeding positions, your baby might be uncomfortable in a certain position.
- Walk around or rock your baby while you nurse. The motion might soothe them and help them to feed again.
- Nurse your baby while they sleep. Babies are more likely to nurse during their sleep.
- Do skin to skin with your baby. This will help them feel comfortable and safe. Skin to skin also helps promote breast milk production for moms.
- Avoid distractions during feeding time. Between 6-9 months, your baby will start noticing the world around them more. This might cause them to become distracted and forget all about their feeding. Try to find somewhere quiet and calm to nurse.
- Take your baby to visit the doctor if you cannot find the cause of the nursing strike after a few days.
You will need to pump breast milk during a nursing strike. This is to help ease your breasts as they full up and to have some breast milk on hand for your baby. You also need to keep expressing to ensure that your supply does not drop, as it can be hard work to get your supply back to normal again.
Getting Back To Breastfeeding
It is so important to remain calm and collected during a nursing strike. If you show panic or frustration, your baby might be against feeding even more. Pay extra attention to your baby to find out what might be causing the nursing strike. It will hopefully be over soon and you will be back to your normal feeding schedule.