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Nursing strike--help needed

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
I haven't actually posted here before, but was advised this was the place to go for help with this. I hope that's OK.

DS has not nursed well since Tuesday morning and has refused altogether since Tuesday night. He's only 9 months and I am not ready to give up.

I've been pumping, but I never pumped much before and I'm lucky when I get 4 oz from both breasts. I have an electric pump, but it just does one side at a time. I know I could get better results if I rented a better pump, but I'm not quite there yet.

I know that he stopped nursing due to pain. I took him to the doctor on Thursday thinking ear infection, but she said his ears, throat and chest were all fine and put things down to teething. I know he is teething, but I don't think that's the whole issue. On Friday I noticed really red sore-looking patches in the inside of his mouth, one at the back of each cheek. He's had something like this once before, and he did have a hard time nursing then. He wasn't really on solids so much then, so I think he had to keep nursing. This time he didn't. The sore patches are gone now (of course, since I could have taken him to the doctor today) and he seems to be feeling a lot better, but still no nursing.

He spent the first 2 days screaming at the sight of the boobs and I've gotten him to where he will put his mouth near them, then bite (ouch!) and he'll sometimes snuggle to a bare breast, but still no real attempt to feed.

Has anyone had a nursing strike that lasted longer than a few days and still manage to go back to BFing? Any advice?

I did find a link on kellymom to one woman's story of a 40 day nursing strike, but other than that most of what I've seen seems to be directred at short strikes.
post #2 of 54


It is a strike, for sure, humans need to nurse until 2 as a rule.

First- no other sucking- no pacifiers, no sippy cups, no bottles

Next- no other milk- cow's, formula etc

Give breastmilk in an open up if he won't nurse at all.

Offer often- go topless if possible. Co-sleep topless. Take baths together.

good luck!

-Angela
post #3 of 54
Give him some hylands teething tablets before a nursing session and see if that helps.

and (I know it's frowned upon here) But baby Ambesol/Oragel before a nursing session too.

Make his mouth feel better and he'll be more apt to nurse
post #4 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandora114
and (I know it's frowned upon here) But baby Ambesol/Oragel before a nursing session too.
I'd try hylands first, some mamas around here have gotten nasty bites after a numbing agent like oragel.... :

-Angela
post #5 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna
I'd try hylands first, some mamas around here have gotten nasty bites after a numbing agent like oragel.... :

-Angela
True, but if Hylands doesn't give the relief the babe needs, then Orajel is the next best thing, the whole point is to make his mouth feel better so she can get him back on the breast
post #6 of 54
Hi brisco! Good luck with the strike...there are some sharp women around here who I hope can help you.
post #7 of 54
Hi there, brisco (and welcome to MDC!),
My little guy went on a 3 1/2 day nursing strike a few months ago (he was around 12 months at the time). It seemed like forever to me (probably to him, too!), but we pretty quickly got back to our old nursing relationship--much to my relief! Good luck! You'll both make it
post #8 of 54
Thread Starter 
I can't seem to find Hylands tablets here. I'm in the UK. I've tried a few other homeopathic remedies I've found here, but no help. Teething gels before an attempt aren't helping either.

He refuses to co-sleep now. He wants his space. I tried again last night, but he just cried until I put him back in his crib, at which point he promptly fell asleep.

He is completely refusing to try to latch and I don't think his mouth still hurts, or at least not as much.

I've cut back the pacifier to only in bed, but he won't go to sleep without it right now. I never really intended him to be a pacifier baby, but he's never wanted to comfort nurse. Early on I had a huge supply and he'd scream because he was sucking for comfort but would get milk when he really didn't want it. So, the pacifier was introduced. Would it really help that much to take it away completely now?

Is there any way I could get him to co-sleep now? He really did not want to last night, but everything I've read says it can help with a nursing strike.

He still doesn't deal well with a cup. He can do it, but he tends to view them as finger bowls, not cups. I'm really worried he won't drink enough if I only give him liquids in a cup. He was getting dehydrated early in this strike.

Thank you for your help and support.
post #9 of 54
I'd consider cutting the pacifier. And I would get rid of any sippy cups for SURE. I would only give him water or expressed milk to drink. No other milks. No juice.

Try co-sleeping for naps. Try taking a bath together. Try lying down on the floor topless close to him.

I would cut his solids. Don't spoon feed him, only let him self feed. At only 9 months it's very important that he nurse.

Good luck!

-Angela
post #10 of 54
the sores in his mouth, even though they are gone now, make me wonder if it's hand, foot & mouth disease... maybe it is called something else in the UK??? or maybe thrush making his mouth itchy?



~claudia
post #11 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboClaudia
the sores in his mouth, even though they are gone now, make me wonder if it's hand, foot & mouth disease... maybe it is called something else in the UK??? or maybe thrush making his mouth itchy?



~claudia
I've just tonight decided I think it was hand fiit and mouth, because I have the sores in my mouth now. He was seen on Tursday, but surprise, surprise, the same GP who missed he was breech missed this too. He seems to be basically over it now, but will not nurse for anything.
post #12 of 54
Thread Starter 
He's only having water amd expressed milk so far, but how long is that healthy for him? Shouldn't he have more milk than the 10-12 oz I can get out?
post #13 of 54
he'll make up for it when he starts to feel better and his mouth isn't so ouchy. just make sure he has enough to stay hydrated. a dehydrated baby is not a good situation, and a sunken soft spot is a way too late sign of dehydration. watch those wet dipes instead.



~claudia
post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by brisco
He's only having water amd expressed milk so far, but how long is that healthy for him? Shouldn't he have more milk than the 10-12 oz I can get out?
At 9 months, he doesn't need any solids at all, so as long as he's getting enough breastmilk, he should be fine. Of course, you said that you have volume issues with pumping, so I suppose it's possible that he's not getting enough. I know it's hard to know how much he normally drinks from the breast since there's no handy gauge on there. I just wanted to chime in that a 9-month old who gets enough breastmilk is totally fine without solids.

Good luck. I can imagine how distressing this must be for both of you.
post #15 of 54
Thread Starter 
He's loving his solids, but I am just worried about his liquids.We still seem a bit low on wet diapers most days, which has me concerned.

I think his mouth is feeling better, but he just will not even try to latch. The best I can get is a bite, and he drew blood today.
post #16 of 54


Cut back the solids and keep pushing mama milk and water. Try freezing some momsicles with your milk.

-Angela
post #17 of 54
Thread Starter 
I'm still getting nowhere. He's refusing the breast whenever it's offered and I'm starting to worry it's affecting our relationship.

We tried co-sleeping a few times. He gets all hyper and plays until he's exhausted and then cries to go back to his bed. As soon as he's back, he falls asleep. I think maybe he feels he's outgrown sleeping with mummy and daddy already.

I've been taking a bath with him every night and going topless as much as possible. That's gotten me a few bites, but nothing else. He bites down then pulls back, scraping my nipple really painfully. I don't know what to do about that at all.

I've cut back on solids some, but I cannot pump enough milk for him at the moment and I don't want him to go hungry. It feels like I'm trying to starve him into submission already.

I did try cups only, but he spills quite a bit and I don't have any to lose. He ends up wet and screaming because he wants more. I end up resenting every little drop that falls. It's a bad scene.

I was wondering about the breastbottle. It's supposed to imitate the breast and maybe it would help?

I've tried nipple shields, wondering if he'd latch on to those, but I can't really get them to work right and it was a big no go from him.

He doesn't seem to be in pain at all any more, but he won't try the breast and tends to react badly if I even hold him in anything like a nursing position.

I don't know what to do.
post #18 of 54
I would not do ANY bottles. And I would cut back the solids. He really needs your milk. The sucking he's getting from sippy cups is making him think he doesn't need to nurse any more when he DOES. On solids- make sure you're not feeding him, let him self-feed, but don't spoon feed for him.



hang in there!

-Angela
post #19 of 54
if it is/was hand/foot/mouth disease, it can take a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time to clear up completely. a friend's son went on a 20+ day nursing strike at age 1.5 when he had it. so even though it looks like it's cleared up, it may still be causing him discomfort and/or he may still be afraid of the pain/itching he felt before.

just keep trying, mama... i'm sure it must be so hard seeing your little one uncomfortable and hungry and scared and maybe even losing weight... mama's milk really is the best for him, and if you are unable to get him back to the breast even at sleepy times or snuggly times or bath times, pumping your milk and giving it to him via another method is an option.

sending you lots of and love... you ARE doing the best for your little babe...

i forgot to ask... how old is he?

~claudia
post #20 of 54
Thread Starter 
He's 9 months old.

After talking to 2 LLL leaders and an NCT breastfeeding counsellor today I've decided to go with bottles with a newborn nipple for the moment.

It's not just nursing that DS has painful associations with right now, but any cuddling or closeness in a nursing position, which for him is most positions. I'm slowly getting that back, but it's taking a long time. This time last week I still couldn't even get him to look at a bare breast without screaming and I could hardly cuddle him in anything close to the cradle position without him screaming, and neither could DH. So for now I'm focusing on a lot of skin-to-skin contact and getting the cuddles back. Feeding with a bottle is letting me hold him in the cradle position with his cheek against my bare breast.

Since I'm not pumping enough milk to cover his needs and he won't drink much else, I've also decided to do some spoon-feeding so I can give him more liquid foods. I want him to nurse again very much, but I don't want to risk his health in the meantime and he has not been having enough wet diapers lately. He actually prefers self-feeding, but I really want to make sure that liquidy foods get in.

Basically, he's never going to latch on while he fears cuddling, bare breasts and having his face near my breast. I need to get those sorted out first, then I can try to sort out the rest, I think.

He's getting better about it all. He's always been kissy and huggy through this, but now the kisses are landing on the breast sometimes too and I can cuddle him in a position that allows his face to be somewhere near the breast without him immediately screaming and pulling away.
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