nursing strike? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-18-2012, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I suppose this is my last ditch effort to salvage my nursing relationship with my 14 month old.  This is my third child, with my other two children I nursed until about 26 months.  My first gradually weaned herself, with my second I actively nudged him towards weaning.  With my third, I have had zero problems nursing from birth on.  Until 7 months he had nothing but breast milk, he never had any problems latching.  I went back to work at 5 months and he had no problems with bottles, or with nursing after using bottles during the day.  Up until 13 months, I would guess he got about 85-90% of his nutrition from nursing still, he ate some sold foods but much preferred to nurse.  


I am an attorney and the case I was working on went to trial.  I was out of town for 2.5 weeks and did not see my kids for that entire time.  I pumped while at trial, to maintain my supply.  When I returned home, my baby refused to nurse.  I offered as soon as I saw him, and he mouthed my nipple, but never really latched.  Now whenever I offer, he shakes his head no and sometimes pulls my shirt back down.  I have read about nursing strikes, and noted it is best to be persistant.  It has been 5 days now since I have returned home. I have offered often, and have tried to nurse when he is sleepy/sleeping in the hopes that if he is striking because he is still upset I left that would help.  I have also tried to give hi plenty of time in the sling, and skin on skin time but I have had no luck.  At worst he seems distressed when I offer, at best he has halfheartedly tried to latch briefly and then physically turns away.  We co-sleep at night, and I have had no luck at night either.


If he is truly done nursing then I don't want to force him to nurse only because I am not ready to quit.  However, if he is just striking because he is upset that I left him, which is understandable given the circumstances, then I want to give him and me the chance to start nursing again.  Considering he was so very dependent on it before I left, it seems so abrupt now that he is refusing. I have not pumped since coming back, I feel my supply might wane if I don't do something about it now but I am feeling really discouraged.  Does anyone have any thoughts?



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#2 of 4 Old 03-28-2012, 05:14 AM
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Wow, what a pity that no one has any experience to share. Huh.


I just wanted to reflect that I would feel the same exact way. I don't think it's really fair to continue nursing a child just for the mother's wanting to, if the child is over it. However, what you describe is definitely a reaction to your leaving. How is his behavior otherwise? How was it for him while you were gone? It could be that he was really scared you'd never come back, or was shocked when you left (did you prepare him well?). Even in the very best case, it has to be hard for a kid that age to be without mama for that long. It really seems natural that he is "on strike", and I would just suggest trying everything you can to "repair" any damaged trust or hurt feelings that were generated by your trip, in addition to doing the things you need to do (keep pumping?) to try and get him back to the breast. But I would really shift the focus more to the emotional side and give him loads of special one-on-one time and really "fill his cup" if that makes sense. Maybe then, once he feels secure again he will take one of the opportunities you are still giving him to start again.


Then maybe set some time limit or just do that until you get tired of it, and if it doesn't work then bid farewell to nursing. I know how sad that would be and I want to give you praises for trying so hard. So many women would've already given up, or even weaned before or during the trip. Good for you! I wish you and your boy the best of luck!

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#3 of 4 Old 04-03-2012, 05:36 AM
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no real advice, as my son who went on a nursing strike was only 2 months old at the time, so I knew it was a strike. Again, no experience for this situation, but just from my observation, at 16 months old, and you being gone that long(2 1/2 weeks is a LONG time for a baby), it sounds to me that he is no longer interested. Does he successfully latch? I know when my son weaned when I was pregnant, granted this was about 6 months later, I let him try and nurse because he saw the baby nursing(he was 2 1/2 at the time) and he tried, but had forgotten how to latch, then he was over it. lol. So, I dont  know if 16 months is too young to fully wean, but I would keep offering for awhile, and if he doesn't ever latch back on, I'd say he's probably done! :(

DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

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#4 of 4 Old 04-03-2012, 05:38 AM
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oh, I just noticed he's 14 months, not 16 months. I would say the younger, the better chances you have of repairing the nursing relationship! Good luck, mama.

DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

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