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Thread: Nursing Strike

  1. #1

    Default Nursing Strike

    Hello,

    This is my first time posting on a Forum. My son will be a year old in 2 weeks (which is why I'm posting in the toddler section) and after almost a year of breastfeeding, he has suddenly stopped.

    Here is some background. On Friday he came down with a fever which lasted for about 48 hours. On Monday he seemed fine but after his afternoon nap he woke up not quite himself. I could tell he wasn't feeling well but on Mondays he sleeps at my mom's house because I work early on Tuesdays. When I went to pick him up on Tuesday afternoon he was obviously uncomfortable. He nursed for a few minutes and then lost interest. That was the last time he nursed.
    We took him to the pediatrician that night and it was determined that nothing was wrong (no ear infection, sore throat, etc.) and that he probably had a slight stomach virus.

    That night when I tried to breastfeed him, he violently refused the breast; kicked, screamed, cried inconsolably, hit my breast and pushed them away. He did take a bottle. Any attempts at breastfeeding have been the same since.
    This is especially upsetting for me because my son, ever the grazer, would breastfeed all of the time for nourishment and comfort. We even thought he might be breastfeeding too much and now the idea of breastfeeding seems traumatizing to him.

    I had considered starting to wean him but this cold turkey weaning is not what I think is best for him or me. I am a mess. I need help. I am not trying to force the issue with him (I don't want to create any more negative associations) but gentle offers, skin to skin and pretending like his favorite dolls are nursing (yes, I'm that desperate!) have not worked. We do not co-sleep so trying while he is sleeping will not work. My pediatrician even suggested letting him get very hungry but me and my husband are not comfortable with that tactic.
    Where can I seek help on this? Has this happened to anyone else?

    Thank you in advance for any support I receive.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    1,938

    Default Re: Nursing Strike

    Hi mama,

    I think you are right, this is a strike, not weaning. And strikes will usually end, but sometimes it takes time. I know it's really nerve-wracking but it sounds like you are doing the right things in terms of gentle offers and skin-to-skin. This link has some additional suggestions you might find useful:
    http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    Even if you don't co-sleep, is it possible to try to nurse baby as he is falling asleep at night, or catching him before he wakes up, when he's still in a half-asleep mode? Or at the beginning or end of naptimes? Often striking babies will nurse when half-asleep.

    It sounds like being sick is what started this strike, so it's also quite possible that as he recovers from this illness, he will be back to his usual grazing ways.

    Hang in there! It is stressful when baby strikes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: Nursing Strike

    Agree with BFWMom. Also, if you don't want this to turn into weaning (and it sounds like you don't) I strongly suggest you start pumping at least a few times a day to maintain your milk supply. Strikes can last a few weeks sometimes, and if you don't pump it's likely you'd nearly dry up by then. If you don't have much or any milk that will be frustrating to your baby when he is ready to come back to the breast, and could end in complete weaning. I'm sorry you're going through this It must be pretty rough, for both you and baby.

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