Today’s blog is especially for Tyler, who is feeling incredibly anxious that her baby has gone 8 hours and is showing no signs of being hungry or wanting a breastfeed.
This is what she sent me:
Hello Karen Faulkner! Carter is 6.5 months and not interested at all in milk feeds during the day! He will go 8 hours and isn’t “catching up” during the night either. I’m a bit worried because he’s not a great eater (only does finger foods refuses to be spoon-fed so I’m unsure how much he’s actually eating) I can’t see any teeth and he seems unbothered.. not sooky at all. Could he be self-weaning 😱
- These are more common than you’d think in the older baby and can cause a lot of worry to a mum.
It can occur for one of many reasons including:
- Changed your deodorant, soap, shower gel or perfume
- You have been under stress
- Your baby or toddler has an illness or injury that makes breastfeeding uncomfortable eg snuffly or blocked nose caused by a cold, an ear infection, thrush.
- Your baby has sore gums from teething
- You changed your feeding patterns
- You reacted strongly when your baby bit your nipple and they got a fright. You are newly pregnant and your supply may have reduced
- You are ovulating and your supply may have temporarily reduced
- You have been expressing/pumping less when away from your baby
- You have been sick or taking medication which can have an impact on the letdown
- You have got your menstrual period and it changes the taste of the milk temporarily
What can you do to help this?
- In most cases, nursing strikes are temporary and will resolve spontaneously. In the short term, it’s important to keep your supply going till they get back on the breast. Try not to stress about it as your baby will pick up on your stress levels
- Developmental leaps in the baby, those pesky wonder weeks can interrupt the norm including feeding
- Try a dream feed
- Sometimes, a baby does not actually refuse but is very fussy and difficult to feed
- Change your feeding positions
- Nurse when in motion, using a sling or carrier to do this can be helpful
- Give the baby extra attention and skin to skin contact
- Lay on the bed with your baby with no bra or top on so if your baby wants a nurse he or she can.
- Feeding in a darkened quiet room with no distractions
- Stimulate your letdown and get your milk flowing so your baby gets an instant reward
- Take a warm bath together with lots of skin to skin and no pressure to nurse/breastfeed
- Sleep near baby giving baby easy access to the breast if they feel like nursing/feeding
- Spend time around other nursing babies, peer pressure may help
- Express as you feel necessary to keep your supply going and empty your breasts
- Offer your baby plenty of fluids or expressed milk in a cup or a bottle as they need
- it is so important to remain calm and patient, handling your baby gently. If you are both feeling anxious and stressed, try taking deep breathes similar to that which you may have used during labour or when meditating. The deep breathing helps slow your own breathing and make it more regular which can help calm everyone, concentrate on staying relaxed, use soothing music, rock your baby gently or carry him whilst walking. This will help your milk to flow so your baby will get milk once he latches.
- And like everything else things will settle back down, its usually just a little blip.
- Observe wet nappies and weight gain and if you’re needing a second opinion a trip to the Child & Family Health Nurse or GP doesn’t do any harm. Plot your baby’s measurements on their centile chart and make sure they are gaining at the right rate.
Baby-centred reasons for a nursing strike
- Attachment problemsBaby confused by bottle feeds
- Baby refusing one breast – may have under or oversupply
- Recent immunisations
- Illness, e.g. a cold or earache or sore throat
- Changing Feeding pattern
- Distractions & developmental leaps
- Introduction of solids
- Overuse of a dummy or pacifier
- Discomfort associated with sucking
Milk Supply reasons
- Fast flow
- Low supply
- Slow let-down
- Sick or taking prescribed or over the counter medications e.g. blood pressure medication
- Unusual food in your diet making the milk taste different
- You smell different e.g., new perfume, deodorant, chlorine/ salt from swimming; the hairdresser, smoking
- Hormonal Changes
- Menstruation and pre-menstrual tension
- Oral contraceptives