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Thread: 5.5 month old refuses to nurse

  1. #1

    Default 5.5 month old refuses to nurse

    My son is refusing to nurse. We've been successful at breastfeeding until the past month when he went on a nursing strike. We pushed through and things got better for about a week but he's back at it again. He cries, pushes me away, turns away from me. It's very stressful for both of us. I think he prefers a bottle to the breast, probably because it's less work.

    Because of his refusal to nurse, I've noticed a decrease in my supply. Could this continue the cycle? Refusal to nurse causes decreased milk supply which causes more refusals to nurse?

    I'm pumping and giving him my pumped milk but I can't keep this up permanently. I'm not pumping enough. Any suggestions are welcome. I want to continue nursing him and I know my supply would increase if I could just get him to breastfeed!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I live in Jonesville, NC

    Default Re: 5.5 month old refuses to nurse

    Try when he is calm. Try nursing on one side and pumping on the other so the milk lets down faster. (A fast letdown always helps when my baby is fussy at the breast). Try getting in a warm bath together and nursing. Try different position than what your baby is use to and nursing when he is in a semi a sleep stage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 5.5 month old refuses to nurse

    great ideas from momat37.

    How often does and for how long has baby gotten bottles? were bottles introduced during the first strike or before?
    Babies can be inadvertently trained to associate bottles (and pacifiers if those are used as well) as the way to eat and be comforted. And yes, it is theorized that some baby's learn to expect the faster flow of bottles. This is why paced bottle feeding is so important. But there may be something else going on as well.

    If you think the issue is bottle "preference" aka nipple confusion, there are lots of things to try. I would suggest avoid bottles when at all possible and when bottles are given, make sure they are small and given in a breastfeeding supportive way.

    How do you know your milk production is reducing? This is a common concern around this age, but is often a false alarm based on normal changes in breastfeeding habits, breast feel, and weight gain. Yes, maintaining production when only pumping or mostly pumping (instead of nursing) can be an issue, certainly. But this is also frequently a false alarm or at least not as big an issue as a mom may think. See this article for more on how to tell if low production is happening and what to do about it: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp...es/low-supply/

    What kind of pump are you using and what is it's condition?

    Here is more info on what might happen when a baby is given bottles (even if the bottle contains breastmilk)

    An infant is not going to take in much more each day than a baby requires to live, move, and grow normally. If any portion of what a baby takes in is not directly form mom’s breasts, then baby will take less from mom’s breasts. Why not the opposite? Why would not baby refuse the bottle and nurse more? Well, some times that does happen. But in most cases, because a baby has much more control over how much he takes in when nursing, and very little, often no control over how much he takes in when being bottle fed, baby ends up getting more and more with the bottle and baby will nurse less and less. This is how a breastfed baby becomes a bottle fed baby. It is the dark side of supplementing, even when supplements were needed. This trend can be reversed, with some effort.

    I would also suggest that bottles, when given, be given via paced bottle feeding technique. See info linked below.

    Bottle feeding the breastfed baby: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    Video demo of paced bottle feeding: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...FD00534CAAC56E

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