There may be many reasons why your baby has gone on a nursing strike. A nursing strike is when your baby refuses to breastfeed as much as normal. Some of these may be part of a physical aspect, while others are of the environmental issue. These so-called strikes can be scary for both mom and baby. When the baby is acting eager to breastfeed and then stops, this is one way a baby is trying to tell you that something is wrong. The baby will start crying, which is signaling the hunger the baby feels but is unable to feed. If you have attempted to have the baby feed and baby still does not, there are some things you need to do and some to remember.
1. Continue to express your milk
To prevent over full, painful breasts, you need to use the breast pump and store the milk. You want to keep the supply flowing so that you are ready when this nursing strike is over.
2. You need to relax, Mom!
Yes, it is upsetting when you cannot feed your baby as you are used to. You may get frustrated due to painful breasts and also because the baby is fussy and crying. Keep in mind that this will be temporary. There may be other signs the baby is showing to give you a clue as to what is wrong.
3. Visit your Pediatrician
The Pediatrician can determine if the baby is experiencing pain from an ear infection or some other illness. If it is an ear infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics and breastfeeding times will return to normal real soon.
4. Overproducing and overwhelming
It is hard to believe that this is possible if you have never experienced such a moment. This simply means that you are producing such a great amount, but it is flowing too fast for the baby to handle. You can use the breast pump to express some and freeze it. Then let the baby attempt to feed again and see if that helps.
5. Shots, injury, or teething
If your baby recently received immunizations, his or her legs may be painful. Find another way to hold the baby without touching the injection sights. The baby may be teething and have sore gums. Sometimes having an ice-cold washcloth to rub her gums with is all it takes to calm her down. Check your baby’s mouth and see if he has thrush. Thrush is also painful for the child.
6. Mom’s routine has changed
If you recently returned to work, the baby may be stressed due to the scheduling. It could also be that you are under stress for another reason. Maybe you had too many visitors appear at your doorstep and have not had time to relax, perhaps you had a slight disagreement with someone, and that has caused you stress. It is more than possible that your baby senses this stress, and it has made her upset.
7. Being a female sometimes hurts
Yep, having your monthly cycle, taking birth control, and even ovulating can and will at times affect your milk supply. This could include if you have not been feeling well and are on some type of medication. Something as simple as a change in perfume scent, deodorant, or laundry soap may be bothering your baby. This, too, could hurt the baby.
8. Quiet and dark
If it seems to be a distraction, turn lights off or go into a darker room. Having quiet and dimmer lighting may help the baby calm down and latch on. This could be a matter of simply changing your routine. It is true for babies as well as adults; distractions do matter.
9. Bottle Time
Be sure that your baby is still getting fed. Using a bottle will not stop the baby from returning to the breastfeeding that you both are used to. By using the bottle, you will also be able to determine if you may need to buy a nipple cup. A nipple cup is a cover for mom that may also help the baby get the milk she needs. It enables you to breastfeed even at those times when the baby can not latch on.
10. What goes down?
If your infant has reflux disease, this will make the feedings painful for the baby. The pediatrician can give you advice as to what to do at this time.
11. Not so hungry after all
Your baby may be going through a temporary moment of not being as hungry. Adults go through this too, and if you think about your reaction to eating when you are not hungry, the baby not being hungry makes more sense.
12. Bath Time
Many mothers have had success at returning the baby to the breast by taking a warm bath together. The warmth of the water is known to be a relaxer for both mom and the baby. Also known as rebirthing, it is like resetting the feeding skills for both of you. Lay the baby on your chest and place a warm washcloth on the baby’s back. You can keep dribbling water on the cloth to keep the baby warm. For many, this is like resetting your clocks after a power outage, it all begins again.
Rest assured that no matter what the cause is, the nursing strike is only temporary. The baby will return to feeding as soon as he feels better, the pain is gone, or you return to your normal soaps or scents. Remember that the breastfeeding relationship will change many times while you are breastfeeding. Just try to relax and do not stop trying to have the baby feed. At the same time, please do not try to force the infant to breastfeed. This could frighten the baby and make the situation worse. Stick to your routine of feeding times and try other tips and tricks. Breastfeeding is always best for your baby, do not let a nursing strike, illness or stress prevent you from sharing the magic with your baby.