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Thread: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

  1. #1

    Smile 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    Hello -
    I have been successfully breastfeeding my 7 month old daughter up until now. We've had a few bumps, mostly caused by my stress causing slow let-down and her getting frustrated, however, they've only lasted a day or two and we've gotten through it. But in the past two weeks or so, she's been too distracted to successfully breastfeed without assistance during the day. She is fine for about 10 seconds at the breast, doesn't get full milk, and either bounces off to watch her 2 1/2 year old brother, or starts fussing, which includes pulling my hair, hitting my face, grunting, kicking, etc. This has made breasfeading very unenjoyable. The more she fusses, the more tense I get, and milk letdown gets further away.

    What I started doing was pumping to get letdown and then putting her on, however after a week of this, she now seems to expect it and I'm not sure I can continue doing this until my goal of breastfeeding for a year. She was at 6 feedings a day, until I started food about three weeks ago and dropped to 5 feedings. She is not as hungry now that she is getting food, and not as patient with letdown. She still seems fine with the nighttime nursing, as she is tired, but her first thing in the morning feeding is starting to get fussy too. And again, she gets fussy, I get tense. Bad combination. She is sleeping through the night - I pump at 9pm before bed and she gets up around 5. That's our longest stretch and does not seem to be affecting milk supply.

    She would not take a bottle up until a few days ago when I got her to do so out of frustration. I pumped full-time for a whole year with her brother, who completely refused to nurse after I returned to work, so I know all about pumping. But I'm hoping not to pump full time with her - it will be tough with my inquisitive toddler who is facinated with the process. I'm almost OK with one or two bottles a day, but REALLY want to keep up the morning and nighttime nursing, and hopefully nap, if I can.

    I am looking for some advice to help with the fussyness and speeding up letdown. I have to weigh my desire to breastfeed with also caring for my toddler son, and breastfeeding has become very unenjoyable at this point. It was very relaxing, and I'm hoping I can get there again.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    Here's a good article on let down:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/letdown.html

    And here's a link to herbs and such (fennel may help, but I've not read through the whole list):

    http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milks...bal-rem_f.html

    And here's one to an old LLL thread:

    http://forums.llli.org/showthread.php?t=72843

    I've got a fussy nurser, too, but don't have problems with let down thus far. I know you have a toddler, which might make this difficult, but have you tried nursing in a quiet, dark room?

    ETA: is it possible that she's refluxy?
    Elizabeth, mama to Lillian - 10/03/10


  3. #3

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    Thank you so much! Actually, I had missed in my research that fennel helps with letdown - I will try that. I am already taking fenugreek, as I did with my son, which is why I believe I'm not actually having issues with supply.

    She has no other symptoms of reflux, and is otherwise very happy, so I don't think reflux is an issue. She was very gassy until about 4 months, but that stopped and she's had no issue with food.

    It does go better when I nurse her in her room with the lights off and a noise machine going, however, this is impossible if my son is awake, which is at least one feeding, usually two a day. She almost always tries to nurse when offered, and will stay on if there is letdown, so I haven't lost her yet. Today I just pumped to get letdown and put her on.

    Thanks again! Hopefully it will get better, although getting her to at least take a bottle once in a while isn't a bad thing. I've been stuck needing to be around her for feeding since she was born, since she would not take a bottle at all. Thankfully I'm staying home now, so it hasn't been too bad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    that first article is very good. ive had let-down issues with stress and i started singing the same song to LO almost every time I sit down to nurse. the song is a letdown cue and relaxes me, also distracts LO for a little bit to wait for a bit longer. maybe you can try that method? It helps if while I'm singing the song I try not to think about let-down or whether or not it will happen but instead think about what I'm going to do that day or the next day. it also helps me to relax if I take the pressure off myself by thinking that if the letdown doesnt happen, we can try again in an hour, etc. Good luck
    Christine
    Can't believe I've been and a full-time SAHM to Elena (5/2010) for over 2 yrs!
    Mami de mi preciosa Elenita
    http://forums.llli.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=32384&dateline=131170  7429 OakRoseCharms Free Shipping for LLLadies just pm me! My Blog

  5. #5

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    6 or 7 months old is a very commen time to see a nursing strike. Just like you said many babies are very busey. They are realizing that their world is bigger and there is so much to see. 7 months is NOT a time that babies self wean. She is not done nursing. Sadly many moms misinterpret this commen nursing strike.
    The restlessness at the breast is classic for a nursing strike.
    Esspically with a buzzy brother to pay attention to you may need to nurse her in a dark room. Get in extra nursings when she is just waking up from naps. If you want to give her extra milk that you have pumped you can use a spoon or cup but really try to avoid the bottle she will come back to you.
    She will no starve her self give her time and as much skin to skin as you can. Take baths together let her play at the breast.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
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    4,984

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    I've seen mamas on this forum refer to babies at this age as "distract-a-babies," which is a funny way of saying, "dang near impossible to nurse!"

    So your daughter's behavior is normal, but you can also start to teach her some manners - hitting, pinching, biting, etc., means NO MORE NURSING. Most babies learn pretty quickly if you are consistent.

    It is just a phase, and it will pass. I know I have never regretted sticking it out through the rough patches, you know?


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    Thanks everybody for the advice and support. My daughter is actually doing well with a cup at meals, so I think for now I will avoid consistent bottles. It's tough to do the quiet room with the loud toddler, but I'll keep trying and hopefully we'll get through this stage. I HATE washing bottles and pump equipment - used to spend at least an hour a day doing it with my son. So much easier just to nurse....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    I have had the exact same problem with my now 8 month old baby. It started when she was 6 months. The more fussy/distracted she got, the slower my let down. The slower my let down, the more fear that I would have to give up nursing or have to pump all the time. A terrible cycle!! A great trick I learned was getting a manual letdown. This took the pressure off with having to pump to get a letdown and then nurse. It took some practice, but, I mastered the technique by gently rubbing my nipples. After doing this for a month or so, it seems that the pressure came off and my very busy baby knew that she would get instant gratification when she nursed and we are back to a good nursing relationship. Somehow knowing that I could always get a letdown helped me relax. I still occassionally have problems with let down, and I just go back to my manual technique and it works!

  9. #9

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    Hey - I tried the manual let down this afternoon at it worked! Thank you very much for the suggestion - I've tried something similar before without success, but I think with practice that will be a big help.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: 7 month old losing interest in nursing

    That's great! You will be able to condition your body to respond quickly. Now I actually have to be really careful not to brush my nipples or even think too much about it, or my milk will let down. I think it is a really important technique that all nursing mothers should learn (I wish someone had told me that from the beginning. Everyone talks about manual expression being important to know how to do, but you can't mannually express without getting a letdown, and a manual letdown takes practice for many women. One other thing - sometimes when the baby is fussy because she is hungry and I am chasing after my 3 year old, it is hard to get even a manual letdown. I take a deep breath, get my 3 year old occupied, give the baby something different to play with so she is distracted for a few minutes, and then pick up a magazine or a photo album while I get my milk to let down. Just another tip to avoid having to pump first!

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