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Thread: Baby refusing breast when I return from work

  1. #1

    Default Baby refusing breast when I return from work

    Hello. My baby is 5.5 months old and has been in daycare since he was 3 months when I returned to work. We initially tried feeding on demand from a MAM bottle because it was the only bottle he would drink from being exclusively breast fed at home the first 3 months. He started to refuse the breast for the first feeding after I returned from work but if I was persistent and offered it to him every time he started to fuss then he would eventually nurse. We switched to a latch bottle and changed the feeding schedule to 2 oz every 2 hours and he started feeding well from the breast again the next day. It has been nearly a month on the new schedule and he is once again rejecting the breast only this time I can only get him to feed if he is very sleepy. Is there anything else we can do or am I just glued to the rocking chair topless going forward?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,740

    Default Re: Baby refusing breast when I return from work

    Hi and welcome.

    Are you stuck in the rocker trying to get baby to nurse? Have you tried other positions, such as side lying in bed or nursing on a couch with you leaned back, baby on you, etc? Both you and baby might be more comfortable with more room at this age.
    How much total is baby fed by bottles each day and how long is the daily separation, and how many times a day/night does baby typically nurse?
    How long before you are home from work is baby fed?
    Any differences on your days off or is baby refusing then as well?
    Any pacifier use when you are home? How about during the workday?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Baby refusing breast when I return from work

    Baby eats 2oz every 2 hours. I feed at 5 am and drop off at daycare at 630am. He starts eating at 7, 9. I try to make it to daycare at 11 to offer breast, he eats at 1pm and 3 then I pick up at 4pm. He usually wants to eat by 430pm. We use a pacifier at home and daycare during sleepy time and I use it to calm him so that he will be calm enough to latch. We use the rocker because it is the easiest way to get him calm to latch when he is refusing to nurse. If I am off for a couple of days at a time, he will not refuse breast. It is when I get home from work at night until bed time. He wakes about 11pm, 1 am and 5 am to feed and during those 3 feeds he is sleepy and never refuses the breast. So mainly when I get home from work I have to sit down and rock him most of the night and try to coax him to nurse.
    Last edited by @llli*ickin; July 20th, 2016 at 05:43 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Baby refusing breast when I return from work

    The 2 oz every 2 hrs is only at daycare. At home he is fed on demand from the breast. Yesterday he flat out refused the first feeding after work and became so frantic that I gave up and gave him a bottle of expressed milk.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,740

    Default Re: Baby refusing breast when I return from work

    What happens when you come to daycare at 11 to nurse? Baby nurse ok then? IN that case, why not reduce what baby is given at daycare in the afternoon?

    I understand you switched to more frequent, smaller bottles because of what happened when baby was first at daycare. That was a good call. But baby is almost 6 months old now and can go longer between meals. If baby nurses at 11 and you pick baby up at 4, I see no reason baby needs 2 feedings of 4 ounces total in the afternoon. Maybe try a 2-3 ounce bottle at about 1 or 2 and then no more. At the very least, ask them to reduce the second bottle and move it earlier than 3pm. You also may want to discuss nap schedule with them. If baby nurses at 11 and then takes a nice nap, baby would probably only need to be fed once- after that nap. Also, is it possible baby is tired when you pick him up and more interested in sleeping than nursing?

    The rule of thumb of 1 to 1.5 ounces per hour of separation need not be taken so literally, in other words. It is a ballpark that is based on there being 24 hours in a day to nurse and baby needing about 25-35 ounces a day total. You do not have one really long separation, but actually 2 pretty short ones of about 4-5 hours each. So that changes the picture. If you are able to nurse shortly before the separations start, and then shortly after they end, and if your baby is able to nurse overnight and whenever baby wants, and you are able to visit most days and nurse baby at lunch, then it is entirely possible baby needs only one 2-3 ounce bottle in the morning and one in the afternoon. I am not saying reduce it to this all at once, I am saying, take it gradually and see how it goes. The afternoon is the biggest problem so that would be the one to go first.

    Also ask that caregivers be sure bottles are taking a little time. Gravity feeding as is typical means baby gets lots of milk at once. This can also cause problems with breast refusal. Paced bottle feeding technique slows the feeding down and allows baby to set the pace and comfort with the bottle without overeating. Paced feeding is not always required at this age, but since you are having this problem, it is worth a try as it certainly would do no harm.

    I also think you may want to work on reducing pacifier use at least when you are home and can nurse. Babies nurse for both hunger/thirst and comfort and encouraging baby to nurse for both reasons are equally important to breastfeeding longevity. Nursing for comfort and to sleep are important in other words. It has been seen for some time that when a baby gets a pacifier for comfort and also bottles, those babies tend to start refusing to nurse more than other babies. It is called "triple nipple syndrome."

    One possibly helpful use of a pacifier is to use it to calm upset baby so baby will nurse. Another idea if baby is getting too fussy to nurse right when you get home or soon thereafter is to give baby a very small amount of milk in a bottle and then nurse, or drip some expressed milk on your nipple- this is called "instant reward."

    Pacifiers may not be a problem when baby cannot nurse when you are at work. But on the other hand, if baby's caregiver adopts a more paced bottle feeding method, baby may use the bottle more for comfort and not need a pacifier as much.

    If you would like information about paced feeding technique let me know.

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