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Thread: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

  1. #1
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    Oct 2007
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    Question only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    My little guy is only 6.5 months but he's refusing the breast and I'm not sure if he's weaning or quasi-striking . My first child went on stike at 5.5 months and although I did everything I could to get her to come back, I finally decided after 6 weeks of rejection that it was time to stop. But things have been more gradual with my new little guy. It started a few weeks ago with arching during burping, then he started arching sometimes after or during feedings, and now he's started refusing the breast. He became really really distractable at 6 months, so I try to feed him in a very quiet place. But he has been refusing the breast even in total silence the last couple of days. Now I'll roam the house and try different places and positions to feed him and sometimes he'll get distracted by something and actually feed for a bit and then it's like he realizes what he's doing and pushes me away again. He'll still eat just before bed, although not until he realizes that I'm serious about putting him down and then realizes that he's too hungry for me to leave. Then he'll eat a bit with me leaning over the crib (my back!), a bit on his change table, maybe a bit in the rocking chair, but every time he needs to burp it's a struggle to cajole him back. So far, the dream feed is still a blissful time, and the last two nights he has woken up for a feeding more than once, to make up for the food he's not getting during the day, so at least he's getting the food, but I'm not getting sleep and he's not getting it during the day when he needs it.

    I try to keep the mood light and play with him and have lots of eye and skin contact, but he just playfully bites me or pushes me away or arches. But he's not screaming and looking at me with horror, like my first did when she had her strike. I'm worried he may have reacted badly to me getting firm with him about biting, which I think was a few days ago. He was getting pretty bad, with frequent biting, so I told him NO several times. I've since read that even though this is the recommended way to deal with biting, that it can cause nursing strikes.

    We've just recently started solids, and I'm not sure how much of a role that has played, but we really reduced them today so that he wouldn't fill up on them.

    I haven't needed to pump yet, and I'm afraid that if I do, the milk won't be there when he does want to feed, but he's not getting as much as he normally would and I'm not sure if I should be pumping - it doesn't work very well for me except first thing in the morning. I actually tried pumping yesterday afternoon, but got only 1 oz after 30 minutes.

    He still doesn't have any teeth and has been drooling constantly for the last few months, but I can't feel any buds.

    As you can see, I've thought about all sorts of things that might be causing this behaviour. My formerly totally mellow little guy has turned into a crying, arching hungry little guy, and I don't know what to do. Has anyone else experienced this behaviour? What do you think - have I just made him scared with the No's, and introduced too many solids at the same time, or are these indications that he is an early weaner? I really want to keep going, but I'm not sure he does.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!


  3. #3
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    Default Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    When my LO bit me very hard for the first time, I said NO very loudly and he was crushed. His lip stuck out and he screamed..... and he refused to nurse for the next 6 hours which is unheard of. I knew that wasn't the way to go for getting him to stop biting.

    After some internet research and lots of reading on the Dr. Sears website I found a method that worked really well for us. When he would bite I would simply insert my finger into his mouth which spreads apart the jaw and unclamps the teeth. (DS has 6 teeth now). It's not mean or startling, but he doesn't like to have my finger in there when he's nursing. It took probably less than 5 times and he stopped biting.

    We've had a few light bites here and there but I always just stick my finger in his mouth and he stops. Maybe your little guy is sensitive too and saying NO while nursing isn't the best solution to the biting.

    Hope that helps,and good luck!
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

  4. #4
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    Oct 2007
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    Default Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    Thanks for the advice on biting, Lisa. I have been doing that as well, though right now I'm just grinning and bearing it, just to keep him on the breast and figure I'll work on it again once he's regularly nursing again. He nursed twice last night briefly and even just before his morning nap. He seems to have decided that falling asleep on the breast is okay. I'm a little torn on that one, but I'm letting it go, and then he usually wakes up and goes for the thumb while I'm burping him. I'm not certain this all relates to the No's though, since it all started with arching during burping, which he still does. Actually, it would be more accurate to say arching when he needs to burp - he usually stops once the burp is out. Anyway, here's hoping today goes better...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    coming your way. We had some bad and extensive strikes, and it stinks! Hope your LO gets back to the boob soon!
    Claire, Mum to Archie, 5 and Jack, almost 3! Number 3 on the way!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    Does he take a bottle? If he does it may be nipple confusion. If he doesn't take a bottle either, which was the case with my son, it is totally a nursing strike and it may be caused by teething pain. He'll eventually come back. In the meantime, I'll say pump after you manage to feed him and feed whenever you can.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by desperate View Post
    Does he take a bottle? If he does it may be nipple confusion. If he doesn't take a bottle either, which was the case with my son, it is totally a nursing strike and it may be caused by teething pain. He'll eventually come back. In the meantime, I'll say pump after you manage to feed him and feed whenever you can.

    I forgot to mention that ours was partly to do with teething I think, and I know now that this must have been a big part of it - DS has cut his first 2 teeth over the Christmas period, and he has been very fussy with his nursing again.
    Claire, Mum to Archie, 5 and Jack, almost 3! Number 3 on the way!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    I'm wondering about reflux when you talk about arching. "Sandifer’s syndrome: Baby may ‘posture’ and arch the neck & back to relieve reflux pain--this lengthens the esophagus and reduces discomfort."


    Can you tell us about your diet. Have you been eating anything new, lots of caffeine, or dairy? Sometimes a food allergy can make them become less interested in feeding; it can become uncomfy. How are your babies bowel movements? Regular in shape and color? Notice anything unusual lately, a cold, the sniffles?

    On the other hand, 6 months is prime time for realizing that there is a world around them, and a busy baby just not want to stop to nurse. If you are comfortable hanging out topless you may encourage baby to do pit-stop nursing. After all its an open buffet right

    If you can start removing more milk at night maybe you will feel less worried about how much baby is eating. Throw in a few extra sessions during night time. They can play catch up and be fine, its temporary mama.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2007
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    Unhappy Re: only 6 months - weaning or strike?? Help!

    Thanks ladies for the encouragement, especially Jackyboy for the hugs! I'm also suspecting teething is a problem, but there is no indication of a tooth coming soon, so if it is due to that, we could be infor a long haul. I tried giving him orajel and then feeding him - he looked at me with a hilarious expression, like "I can't even feel your boob, let alone suck on it!" I don't think nipple confusion is the issue. He has taken a few bottles lately because I was giving them so rarely that he wouldn't take them, so we tried to get him more familiar with them but he's not really used to them.

    I think there could be a whole bunch of things contributing here.
    1. He only poops every 10-15 days (at which point I use a suppository) and towards the end of that time, he gets really fussy on the boob.
    2. teething
    3. refux? He did have it when he was younger, quite bad, and we still have his crib up on bricks on one end. He rarely spits up any more, but that doesn't mean it's not happening on the inside. Carpentergirl, thanks for the info about Sandifer's syndrome - I think that is definitely a factor which would explain the arching during burping.
    4. allergies? His big sister is allergic to everything (milk, wheat, eggs, many fruits, legumes...). I introduced things to my diet very slowly and he didn't seem to react to anything. There was no soy or cow milk in my diet until he was almost 4 months old. It's possible that he's got issues there as well. He does had a wee bit of eczema on his face, but certainly never breaks out into hives like his sister, and there's no blood or mucous in his poops. But I think I'll try taking out milk and see if there's any improvement.
    5. Starting solids - I think he wants solids instead of boobs.

    But whatever is causing it, the good news is that he seems okay with feeding at night (7pm, 11, 2 and 5) and also with feeding for about 3 minutes when he wakes up after a nap and for 3 minutes before his naps during the day. I'm exhausted, but at least I know he's getting milk. I've reduced his solids down to 2-3 tbsp a day so that he is hungry enough to keep nursing. Thank goodness my husband is on vacation right now.

    But now baby's asking for the boob before his naps, which I happily provide, but then he's always falling asleep on the boob, which is just asking for sleep issues, and he also can't burp when he's alseep so his naps are short until the burp rises. Am I doing the right thing? I've just been thinking that, as you say carpentergirl, it's an open bar and I shouldn't worry about the sleeping thing at this point - just be happy that he's nursing. What do you think?

    It's so hard on the emotions, and so frustrating. Plus it makes no sense for a baby to turn away his food source even when he's hungry...but mostly it's hard to feel that rejection
    But I'm worried that I'm

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