Nursing only at home
My 9 month old son all of a sudden refuses to nurse anywhere else but at home (where I nurse on demand). For the holidays we visited my in-laws and he went for 4 hours straight without nursing or eating/drinking anything. After that he ate a plate of soup with some bread like a hungry little bird (he really must have been starving at this point). During these 4 hours I offered breast twice, both times in a quiet environment, away from other people but he was just super distracted.
He eats three full meals of solids and we do a combination of self feeding and feeding him by spoon. In both cases he shows is very clearly when he's done eating. So far his weight gain, diapers and everything else has been on the target so that does not really worry me but I am concerned what is going to happen if we leave for a longer period of time. He doesn't really drink any other liquids yet. We offer him water and tea from a cup (and he drinks up to 4 sips maybe), he has no idea what to do with a sippy cup and he takes bottle only when there's my milk in it. I guess I can always take a bottle of milk with me?
It just makes me rather anxious that he will get dehydrated if we stay somewhere for a longer period of time and that my milk supply will drop. He isn't showing any other signs of weaning, he is very clear when he wants to drink milk and at home he does it quite often.
Any ideas? Anyone had a similar situation?
Re: Nursing only at home
4 hours does not sound like a tremendously long time for a 9 month old to go without eating or drinking as an occasional thing. So I would not worry to much about that. Distraction alone is unlikely to make an otherwise healthy baby starve or dehydrate themselves.
Distraction that is ongoing MIGHT lead to a full on nursing strike, and that is different. And this is prime age for a nursing strike. During a nursing strike, baby refuses to nurse at all for a day or more-sometimes several weeks! This is a distressing thing you want to avoid if possible. So if you think your baby is particularly prone to distraction I would suggest being careful about going places where there are lots of distractions, in particular, limit time spent at any place YOU might feel uncomfortable nursing. If you are uncomfortable that could impede letdown causing baby to be less likely to nurse.
I also would suggest avoiding bottles as much as possible. Too many bottles (or too much pacifier use) can also lead to nursing strikes/breast refusal. On the other hand, if you would feel more comfortable knowing you have the bottle there as a backup should baby refuse to nurse again, I see no real issue with it as long as it is done only occasionally and you use paced bottle feeding.
Here is a tip I discovered with my last baby that may help- I am sure you have heard that it is suggested to nurse baby prior to any solid meals so baby gets enough milk and does not ‘fill up’ on solids. With my third baby who is now 17 months, I found that was impossible as I was cooking/plating/serving/dealing with hungry kids etc. before meals, and then so hungry myself I had t o eat, not nurse! So instead, at least for the first year or so, I pretty much avoided all water, even at solid meals. I nursed after meals and since baby would be thirsty after eating baby would nurse well.
Re: Nursing only at home
Hmm, I did not even consider a nursing strike. He was and still is a very eager (and slightly impatient) little bird. Starts fussing as soon as he hears my bra unclick! I think for now we are in the 'safe-zone' as far as this goes but I will keep an eye for it. My goal for nursing is 1 year and after that we'll see where this journey takes us really. :)
So far he maybe had a bottle 10 times in his life and we use pacifier exclusively in the evening to help him fall asleep (he spits it out otherwise and my husband and I were actually discussing ditching it completely and ways to do it).
We do try and limit our outings only after meals so he doesn't really feel the need to nurse in public (I was quite shy in the begining, then I got used to the idea and we were okay, now he's being all distracted ;) ) and visiting family happens once or twice a month. I will reconsider all other longer outings for now then.
He gets offered water once or twice a day now, only from a glass but he sees it as a nice thing to play with for now and he does ask for milk after a meal usually (and sometimes I offer).
Thank you for your insight, I do hope he is just in a super distractible phase right now (he literally can't sit still for 2minutes :D ) and that we don't have nursing strike coming our way.