Day 3 of my sick 11-month-old's nursing strike, getting desperate! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-22-2012, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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The last 3 days my son (11-months) has either been sick and major teething (Dr said it's a bad cold virus, plus he's getting a molar and 2 other teeth) and he's not nursing.  I get him into his usual nursing position, he arches his back, pushes the boob away, and cries.  I've tried having him nurse while sitting up (how he's preferring to go to sleep right now--usually he nurses to sleep) but he refuses; I've tried giving him both cool and warm breastmilk in a sippy cup (after a few sips he pushes it away); and he's been refusing a bottle for months.  In general over the last 4-5 days he's nursing less, like only spending a few minutes on each side as opposed to getting a full feeding.  Any suggestions?  Obviously if he's sick I'd really like for him to be getting breastmilk right now, so that's a concern.  But my biggest concern is that this might affect him breastfeeding at all.  I'm offering foods and water which he's eating/drinking--less than usual but he is eating/drinking.  I am also trying to pump as often as he normally would eat (about every 3 hours).  But I can't seem to get much out of each breast, even looking at pictures of him or having something that smells like him.  So each breast is pretty full even after pumping for 15 min. or so.  Two nights ago I finally gave in and gave him Advil, and at one point I did get him to sleepily nurse on one side, but then he woke up and adamantly refused.
I don't know if this has anything to do with it, or maybe just coincidence, but on Saturday I started taking fermented cod liver oil again.  I had been taking it for quite a while until about a month ago, but stopped while I was waiting for a different kind to be delivered.  Do either of you know if this can affect the taste of breastmilk?  (It sure taste's nasty to take!)  It didn't seem to affect him nursing when I was taking it before, so this would surprise me, but I guess you never know...


Any advice would be appreciated!!!!


By the way, I also have a sick 4-year-old, so laying in bed all day trying to get him to nurse is really not an option.  (Not like he would sit on the bed that long anyway, even sick he's a busybody!!)

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#2 of 5 Old 03-22-2012, 07:37 AM
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Oh Mama, I know your pain! My dd went on a nursing strike last year around 10 months and it was definitely the longest, most stressful 3 days of my life. You are definitely doing all the right things- giving him food/water to prevent dehydration, pumping to keep up your supply, and offering a lot. We had the most success with sleepy nighttime feeds so I would maybe continue to try that. I know you have a 4 year old, but could you do skin to skin contact or maybe a bath with the two of you when your SO is available to watch your other child?


Is his nose clogged at all? Maybe try a saline spray followed by the dreaded bulb sucker. I would try to get his nose as clear as possible. Also, if you need to give Advil for a short period I wouldn't feel guilty, especially if that makes him comfortable enough to nurse. When our LOs can't talk to us it's hard to know what exactly hurts. You know he has a cold, but his throat or ears could be hurting as well and he might need a little pain medication to see him through. Sickness and teething are hard and to do them together must be doing a number on his little body. 


The good news is that after four days DD went back to nursing normally. I have no idea why or how, but she decided on her own. She is still nursing happily at 21 months. I'm sure your DS will as well. I read that most babies will come back because they still have that innate need to suck. I wouldn't worry that he will only want table food since breastfeeding is also so much about comfort. After this bout of pain is over he will most likely desire the comfort breastfeeding provides and come back to nursing. You could also call your local LLL and see if they have any advice (there is someone on call for free most hours of the day). Hang in there and I hope this all resolves for you very soon!!!

Mama to my beautiful Ana Carolina (2/07), Isabel Cristina (6/10), and #3 on the way in August 2013!

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#3 of 5 Old 03-22-2012, 10:46 AM
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I've lives through two inuring strikes at this age. DS1 did it because he was sick, and really miserable, he refused to drink, eat, nurse, anything. We eventually had to go in and do a quick bolus of IV fluids to get him over the hump. he did start nursing and my supply quickly picked up again. I never knew why DD1 did her strike, but same thing, after about 3 days of it, she stated nursing again. Will he nurse at night in his sleep when he is in a light sleep cycle? Often they will nurse when they aren't awake enough to realize what they are doing. Other good time to try is when they are getting tired. 

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#4 of 5 Old 03-23-2012, 10:15 AM
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I'm sorry, I know myself how incredibly stressful that is to have your baby push away when you offer the breast. Nothing brings me to tears and the end of my wits faster. You have gotten some good suggestions. I would second trying to nurse in the bath, in the evening.


I think if your baby is suffering with the teething pain, you can def try Advil or Tylenol, we have been using some while my baby's been cutting his first teeth and it definitely helps him get the rest he needs. He also wears his teething necklace all day long.


For a stuffy nose I have really loved the Nose Frida, preceded by a couple drops of saline.

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#5 of 5 Old 03-23-2012, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all, for your suggestions.


I took him to the Dr today, turns out he has a double ear infection.  I can also see the whites of a molar and 2 teeth--my poor guy!  So I took him to the chiropractor and am waiting on some homeopathic remedies to kick in, also giving some Advil. 


He's much fussier than usual so I know he's still experiencing pain.  At first I figured he wasn't nursing because it hurt to suck, but now this evening he is sucking water from a sippy.  I tried putting breastmilk in the same sippy, but then he pushed it away.  I also tried actually giving him a bottle (and having my husband give him one as I'd never actually given him a bottle before) and he pushed both away. 


I tried when he was really sleepy to just slip it in, but he woke up, arched his back, and cried again.


I just don't understand why he would want water but not breastmilk, either from me or from a bottle.


And then most people I know are patting me on the back, saying "This is great, you'll have so much more freedom!  You did great nursing 11 months, you would've weaned him soon anyway right????"  It's so hard hearing those responses--I feel devastated right now. 


It's the end of day 4 and I'm really worried that this is it...

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