Suddenly, after your baby has overcome the common nursing problems of the early week she begins refusing the breast and seems quite unhappy about it. Is he weaning? Is he sick? Is there something wrong with your milk?
- Milk supply may decrease after a breast infection, and the sodium levels may rise, making the milk taste salty.
- Some babies respond to the discomfort of teething by refusing to nurse at all.
- If your baby has a stuffy nose, an ear infection, or thrush in his mouth, nursing may be uncomfortable for him.
- Some babies will respond to negative stimuli by refusing to nurse. This stress may be due to a change in environment (such as travel to a new place or moving to a new house), a mother's overreaction to being bitten, or severe stress in your life (divorce, death in the family, etc.)
- Sometimes a baby will refuse to resume nursing after mom has left him for a weekend or longer.
- A change in the taste of the milk. Applying creams or ointments (other than lanolin especially formulated for nursing mothers, which is odorless and tasteless), use of a new product such as shampoo or deodorant can cause babies to refuse the breast.
- If he has an ear infection, try nursing him in an upright position to avoid pressure on the affected ear. If his nose is congested, ask your doctor about ways to unclog it (usually saline drops, nasal aspirator, humidifier, or he may recommend medications to decrease the production of mucus).
- Give your baby lots and lots of attention and skin-to-skin contact.
- Try nursing when he is sleepy.
- Try to minimize distractions. Nurse in a quiet, dark room, or put on some soothing music.
- Try different nursing positions, and try nursing while in motion -- rock, bounce, or sway while nursing.
- Try getting your milk to let down before you attempt to nurse.
- Offer the breast frequently. Try dripping a little milk into his mouth with a dropper or syringe while he is at the breast to encourage him to nurse.
A nursing strike can be upsetting for your baby as well as for you. Try to keep other elements of your baby's routine as normal as possible during the strike. If you're worried that your baby isn't getting enough food, keep track of wet diapers. Don't hesitate to call the doctor if you're worried.
Yes. It's important to keep trying to nurse your baby. With patience and persistence you should get back to your breastfeeding routine.
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