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4 month old refusing to nurse?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

This is my first post here, but I've been a reader for about a month now.  I'm suddenly faced with a problem that I don't know how to solve.  My DD is 17 weeks old, and has, for the past few days, been refusing to nurse.  When I offer her my breast, she'll arch her back and start screaming.  Once I manuever my breast in her mouth, she'll usually take it, but unwillingly.  She's also been going through unusual sleep habits -- we co-sleep, and where she'll normally sleep through the night, nursing in her sleep when needed, she now wakes up uncomfortably about every hour, not wanting to even take my breast for comfort.  Any ideas what's going on or what I can do to to make her more comfortable?  

post #2 of 7

That's strange.  Have you been supplementing with bottles?  How is your milk supply? Has she had tummyy issues lately?  Teething?   Have you tasted your milk?  Is it the same with both breasts?  The reason I ask is because I have one breast that my babies have all refused.    It has a bitter taste for some reason (It's been checked out by the dr.).  Maybe with the sleeping, try a side-car crib that will keep you from disturbing her during her sleep.  I have a daughter with sensory issues and this is how it started, her not liking nursing and not being able to co-sleep well.   We put her in a crib next to our bed and she slept there without problems.  It might be worth a call the LLL near you to see if they have any insight into this issue.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply!  She did do better last night.  I have a feeling it's to do with teething.  When I rub my finger along her gums, I feel what I think is a tooth cutting through. 

post #4 of 7

Hi moonstones,

I am having the same problem!  My daughter is 17 weeks this week and she has been fussy about nursing (crying/screaming/arching back) for about a month or so, off and on and first, and now pretty consistently.  I've been back to work for 6 weeks and suspect it has something to do with nipple confusion, but I just don't know what to do to fix it.   We can't stop bottle feeding her, although we are going to try to start using a different bottle (Adiri or Breastflow) where she has to work for the milk, but I suspect that the transition will be hard as well and I'm not sure if we can expect our daycare provider to do this as well is it makes her super fussy.


Any advice welcome!

post #5 of 7

My son did the same thing at 15 weeks, culminating in a month long nursing strike. For him, it was a stress issue/upset of his routine, I think. (We had a ton of visitors and changes around that time.) I got him back on by only offering when he was in a good mood. I would play with him with my breast out, so he got used to it and wouldn't scream when I took it out. It was very painful of course when he would do that, but I tried to act like it didn't matter and didn't force him. Kellymom has a whole thing on "luring" them back to the boob. I would sing a special song and tap his lips with the nipple. First he would just lick the nipple, then suck for minute and finally, he latched back on. A bunch of other posters here told me to eliminate all bottles at that point, but it wasn't feasible for us (work/travel) so I didn't and he will switch boob and bottle pretty well now- no more screaming or fighting. When he gets stressed, like if we're in a hurry and I try and rush him to eat, he will want the bottle instead but 90% of the time, he nurses with me and does bottles with dad and others no problem. I just keep some pumped milk in the fridge and try to reassure myself that he chose the boob again. It's not ideal- I wish he preferred the boob to bottle, rather than the opposite- but it works for us. And it's soooo much better than fighting him to nurse.

post #6 of 7

Well, perhaps I can give a little insight or not?  I have had three now and I am a reservist.  With all of them I have had to pump and have a bottle, although not ideal, it is an option.  In all cases I tried as much as possible to continue feeding in person to avoid pumping as much as possible.  Each one has refused the bottle earlier than the one previous because I started the bottle later.  The first did great because I started her on it pretty early on, but the later two have refused the bottle even sooner.  My now 19 wk old has only had the bottle a few times, otherwise he had refused it and then just gone back to sleep to wait for me.  With my first I started solids @ 6 months mostly due to pressure from the doctors on her slow weight gain, although she exceeded all developmental milestones and grew almost 4 inches in length during that first six months.  None-the-less, she did OK with solids (no allergies), but then she began to refuse the bottle realizing that she could satiate her hunger with solids and wait for me to get the BM.  I have usually had them close enough or had a caretaker (my husband on weekends) that could bring the baby to me to feed them at lunch time. This way I could nurse just prior to drop off, pump at 9 or 10, nurse at lunch, pump in afternoon (if possible), then nurse in late afternoon.  Once, they started solids then I pumped some BM at night to put with solids and fed at lunch (in person) whenever work permitted.  If it did not permit I pumped to keep up my supply.  It is a huge time commitment to go to them to breastfeed, but well worth it, I think! 


Also, I started my kids on Goat's milk instead of Cow's milk when the time was right (after a year) and they have grown to love it.  I also used a lot of yogurt to mix with cereal, veggies, fruit, avocado, etc.  I never used cereal with just water and rarely with just BM because I didn't seem to taste very good and dissolved quickly in the BM.  With my second I never made my own baby food because she would only eat applesauce pureed.  Instead I did table food starting with well cooked veggies and brown rice.  She had 4 teeth by 4 months and 7 teeth by 7 months, so she could chew and knaw on foods pretty well.


Hope that helps!  I know I have read that many moms end up feeding more frequently at night as the baby adjusts to the schedule for when they are home.

post #7 of 7

It's probably just the teeting, if things are getting back to normal i wouldn't worry about it. 4mos is prime time for 1st teeth to start coming in, and that can really mess with the poor little babes :).

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