Nursing Strike

As I begin my pump and blog session, I think about how I’m going to be hooked up to my pump all day in attempts to express enough breast milk to feed baby. I also think about how today is my first birthday as a mom and how much my life has changed!

Fisher has officially gone on a nursing strike and understandably so. His little nose is so stuffy and congested that he cannot comfortably coordinate sucking and breathing. So he chooses not to nurse. At least that’s what it feels like from mom perspective, that he’s choosing not to. And I’m thinking “nurse, just please nurse, what is wrong…..ugh???” I have a tendency to feel as if it’s something I’ve done to make him not want to nurse. It’s frustrating and hard not to take to heart. I feel like baby has control of the situation but the reality is that it’s very uncomfortable for him and it’s his natural reaction to choose breathing over eating. He will drink from a bottle, thank goodness. I will have to supplement with formula today because I have no breast milk stored up and I will not be able to pump enough to keep up with his demands. I don’t have a problem supplementing with formula because I’ve started integrating it into our cup drinking. I so often want to pull the plug (literally) on pumping. I’ve spent so many hours hooked up to a machine like a dairy cow. It’s really annoying but I do it for my little man. He had breast milk exclusively for six months, I think that’s a pretty good feat! I’m starting to like this idea of formula though. It’s much easier but expensive.

So what exactly is a nursing strike?!

It’s considered a nursing strike when baby has been nursing well and suddenly refuses to nurse. It can happen for a number of reasons. They are typically temporary and related to some external factor such as:

  • Your baby has an illness or injury that makes nursing uncomfortable (an ear infection, a stuffy nose, thrush, a cut in the mouth).
  • You’ve changed your deodorant, soap, perfume, lotion, etc. and you smell “different” to your baby.
  • You’ve been under stress (such as having extra company, traveling, moving, dealing with a family crisis).
  • Your baby has sore gums from teething.
  • You’ve recently changed your nursing patterns (started a new job, left the baby with a sitter more than usual, put off nursing because of being busy, etc.).
  • You reacted strongly when your baby bit you, and the baby was frightened.
  • You are in a highly distracting environment

The good thing is that they are usually temporary. Most nursing strikes are over and baby back to breastfeeding within two to four days. So don’t give up, just keep trying and when baby finally latches you will be filled with relief. I know from experience!

Just remember, there is a reason! Instead of getting frustrated and annoyed, which has been my natural reaction, baby needs lots of love, cuddles, and reassurance. So take deep breaths, be patient, and remind yourself that baby is not holding up those picket signs on purpose!

My FAQs present information from La Leche League International-

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