Nursing Strike vs. Self Weaning
My son is 13 months old. He has always been an excellent nurser, until recently. About 5 days ago, he started biting me during and after feedings. He has teeth on top and bottom, so it really hurts when he chomps down!! Every time he would bite, I would remove my breast and calmly tell him "no bite" and usually set him down. I could not help but flinch, and sometimes yelp in pain, but I have tried not to yell too loudly and be as calm as possible. This first happened during the day, and then he fed normally at bedtime. The next several days though, the only time I can get him to nurse from me is in the middle of the night when he is asleep. I have offered the breast several times during the day and evening, and he either doesn't even attempt to latch, or bites immediately. He has had a cold, and I think another tooth is about to cut. So I don't know if those reasons are causing him to go on a nursing strike, or if he really is self weaning. I have read every LLL and KellyMom article and anything else you can Google about self weaning, and I know that babies don't usually self wean until at least 18 months, and that it is more gradual than this. But I don't know what else to think. I am not pregnant, so I know that is not the issue. I am completely clueless, and it is very upsetting. I had really wanted to nurse until 2 years, or let him self wean. But I just didn't think he would self wean this soon, if that is what is actually happening.
Other info: he is drinking whole cow's milk several times a day. I work 8-5 M-F and have gradually weaned down my pumping to only once per day. He receives that topped off with cow's milk in a bottle once a day. Other than that, he drinks out of sippy or straw cups. This started on Thursday, and over the weekend I offered him the breast many times, to no avail.
Any advice anyone has would be very much appreciated. Thanks!!
Re: Nursing Strike vs. Self Weaning
This sounds like a strike. Weaning is not typically so abrupt. I would keep offering the breast in as relaxed and natural way as you can (this can be hard when you're stressing out about the strike!). Like your baby, some striking babies will be more willing to nurse when sleepy, so I think it's a good idea to continue to offer the breast at night. And skin to skin time, taking baths together, etc. You've probably already seen this kelly mom article but I'll link it anyway:
Also, while you're weathering the strike, you might want to pump a little more frequently (for example at home in the evening and morning) to keep your supply up and make sure you don't develop plugged ducts.
Keep in mind strikes can go on for a while, so hang in there - hopefully this one won't last long!