There are various reasons that babies refuse to nurse. I am in the mist of my son refusing to nurse. It can be really frustrating. As they get older, they are more aware of their surroundings and less focused on nursing. I noticed that nursing became more difficult once my son Cooper turned 4.5 months old. It can be so frustrating, especially when he totally refuses to nurse at times. According the the book The Nursing Mothers Companion, nursing refusal/ strikes usually only last a few days but can sometimes last as long as two weeks.
Here are some strategies I have used. Some of these strategies come from the book The Nursing Mothers Companion and other strategies are ones that I have personally tired and work.
- Try to change positions, nurse in a quite, dark room.
- pump and express your milk if you baby refuses to take nurse- to keep milk supply up
- try nursing with skin-to-skin contact
- nurse when baby is sleepy- this will help prevent him from becoming distracted
- nurse more frequently- to keep milk supply up
- try to determine if your milk supply is too low- if this is the case- you will have to do something to help correct this problem
- swaddle your baby before feeding- this helps to keep them from thrashing about and more focuses on nursing
- drape a colorful cloth or scarf over your shoulder for your baby to look at
Other Things to Consider
- If your baby is young, 0-3 months, and is fussy and has greenish poop, your child may have a food alergy (something you ate) or colic. Discuss this with your doctor or lactation specialist.
- Thrush- a yeast infection that can be passed from mom to baby. Baby may be fussy at the breast. They will have a white coating around the lips and cheek and may be more gassy than normal. There might be bright red dotting around your babies genitals and your nipples. Consult your doctor to discuss proper treatment for you and your baby.
- Menstruating- this can cause your milk supply to decrease and the flavor of the milk to change. See my post for more suggestions https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/milk-supply-during-menstruation/
- Illness- common cold and ear infections can make nursing difficult
- Perfume- baby may not like the smell of the perfume you are wearing
- supplemental bottle- sometimes if you supplement with a bottle, your milk supply will decrease, thus making the baby less interested in nursing.
- teething- this can make a baby uncomfortable while nursing