So I'm on day 6 of a nursing strike with my 15 week old son. He hasn't fully nursed since last Saturday and has only done a partial nurse maybe three times. He won't nurse at night, or when he's sleepy. I've been pumping and trying to keep my spirits up, and I did a 24 hr "nursing vacation" with him in bed, top off, offering the breast every few minutes and it didn't work. So my question is, how do you deal with this long term? It's been 6 days and we have to put our clothes on and do some stuff, and I have to get groceries and clean up this mess. I know that some people have had nursing strikes last 10 days and longer- did you offer every hour or something after a certain time? I am thinking obviously before and after every feeding and before and after every nap, and then any time he looks calm and not distracted?
I don't have a bath tub (we live in Hawaii, walk in shower only) and he'll only tolerate being worn if I'm walking FAST so not around the house. Any stories of how you successfully conquered a long term nursing strike welcome :(
He is using an Avent bottle with the slow flow nipple- he would absolutely not stand for cup feeding or a sippy cup. I did not let him use a pacifier until he was 5 weeks old and he only uses it to go to sleep. I've tried to minimize it as well. He's teething- I can feel a tooth in his front bottom gum and he's drooling like crazy- but it doesn't seem to upset him. He looks remarkably cheerful (the opposite of how I feel!)
Usually the suggestion is to remove all other sucking - that is, to stop all bottle feeding and pacifiers until baby is back to the breast. Usually cup feeding is recommended, which is frustrating, but possible (see: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=37:cup-feeding&catid=6:video-clips&Itemid=13)
babies need to suck, and the thought is if they don't have any artificial devices to suck on, they'll suck from the breast.
I had a non nurser; a totally different situation than yours (he had a severe reflux and a feeding aversion) but I wanted to share what I finally discovered that would work with him. He would not take any nipple (bottle, breast, sippy, etc.) but he would take my breast milk from a spoon. I would prop him up in his bouncy chair, put the spoon to his mouth and he would slurp it up. It was tedious, but it worked. (I used a plastic, picnic type spoon). He never nursed or took a bottle and I kept him fed this way.
I'm thinking that if your son will take your milk from the spoon, perhaps you can keep him fed without using the bottle and perhaps he will return to the breast soon enough if he no longer has the option of sucking on a bottle.
Best wishes. I hope you find the solution soon.
Hmm, I will try a spoon. He freaks out and knocks the cup away when I try cup feeding. My LC thought it was counterproductive to let him get so upset, even at the cost of allowing the bottle. Thanks!
I hope the spoon works. I used to just touch it to his lips and let it rest there and if he was hungry or thirsty enough he'd slurp it up. It was tough, but he thrived that way. I hope it works for you until you can get him nursing again.
I have a happy update! He started nursing again today- I hope I'm not jinxing it, but he had three good sessions today and I'm feeling good about it. I ended up not trying the spoon- I just couldn't face it. Instead, I just tried to spend some time every day, when he wasn't hungry or upset, playing with him and touching his face with the breast. He got better and better with it and today he just latched on. Now, it was a terrible latch at first and I had to put the shield back on but I have always had a good supply so it's not a big problem. The second and third times he latched were already better, and I'm hoping to leave it off tomorrow. Yay! A 30 day nursing strike and we made it!
O My goodness! Did you mention the reason for the nursing strike in the first place?
I'm not 100% sure, but I think it was stress. We had eight different people visit us over the course of December- far flung family- and he was being passed around to new people daily. In addition, I was rushing to nurse, nursing mostly in my bedroom, etc., very unlike our usual routine, because of all the guests. I think he just got irritated! My boobs are soooo happy to be off the pump today!
Well thank goodness for the happy ending! That is one long strike, and one young age!
Mine had one at around 12-15 months if I remember right and it lasted 4 or 5 days I think. Seemed like an eternity. I had yelled when he bit my nipple as he drifted off to sleep one night (thought I read you were supposed to do that so when the teeth come in they dont bite!) -he cried a bit but went quickly to sleep.. and didn't want to nurse again! Took me days to figure out what was going on and why! (took him to the dr- I thought he had an ear infection! lol) with a lot of encouragement and offering, and kind voice on my part he came around again (and we're still not fully weaned at 3+ years!)