I have a 4.5 month old who has been on a nursing strike for about three weeks now. Whenever I try to feed him awake, he is on for a second and then pulls off and screams. I tried waiting him out once but 9 hours went by without him nursing more than a few minutes to take the edge off! I started giving him two bottles of ebm at night so that my husband could feed him and I could rest, plus the occasional daytime bottle when I go out. I don't know if that caused the problem.
I currently feed him right when he's going to sleep for a (typically 45 minute) nap and right when he wakes up, and he nurses for 3-4 max minutes each time before falling asleep/waking up and rolling away. I pump each side after to fully drain the breast. However, this is incredibly time consuming and hard on my nipples--nursing about 8-9 times during the daytime and pumping 5 times. He wakes at night to nurse every 2 hours as well (less if he's had bottles).
I've read plenty on the subject--he's not really cuddly so skin to skin doesn't help. What's also frustrating is that he doesn't seem to have any hungry signs--the hand sucking, rooting, smacking his lips--he does this all the time, even after a big bottle feed. He always wants something in his mouth (though not my breast when he's awake!). I know this sounds like teething but he's been doing that since 3 months of age, and his gums look and feel normal.
I don't know what to do--I have to pump because I noticed a drop in supply when I started letting him snack before and after naps. Soon my husband is leaving for a job at sea and I will be all alone with the baby and I can't devote all this time to nursing and pumping. I am so frustrated that I'm on the verge of letting my milk dry up and giving him formula.
He has 2-3 bms and about 8-10 wet diapers a day. His weight gain is good.