Nursing Strike: Facing It Head On At 3, 4 or 5 Months
A nursing strike at 3 / 4 months has to be one of the most scary moments I’ve faced post birth. I’ve read so much on breastfeeding and intentional parenting. For example how important it is to respect your baby’s boundaries, which you can read in their cry and body language. Those are the only ways babies know how to communicate.
Truly understanding and meeting my baby where he’s at is priority to me, regardless of the emotional discomfort it comes with. This nursing strike made me feel my breastfeeding journey was coming to a cold end.
If you ever tried to go through the incredibly difficult job of breastfeeding, then you know there was no way I was ready to let go after I got comfortable. With 0 salary and selfless labor I worked incredibly hard every day to achieve that liquid gold.
Oh and once I got there, I felt I won the lottery. The second-best accomplishment of my life; first, had naturally been my insane birth experience to safely delivering my baby.
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What is a Nursing Strike?
A nursing strike is when your baby or toddler, suddenly refuses to breastfeed. Either it’s a signal that the baby is ready to wean OR your baby is refusing for a certain period of time.
It is commonly an external issue, this occasion truly depends on the baby. My circumstance lasted about two days. The average nursing strike is about 2 to 5 days, it’s even possible (but rare) to last weeks.
When Should I Expect A Nursing Strike?
They usually occur around the early months after birth. A Nursing Strike can happen around 3, 4 or even 5 months of age.
It’s unfortunate if it happens later down the line because you can easily misread your baby and assume he is ready to wean.
Reasons My Baby Could Turn Away From Breastfeeding?
- New Pregnancy
- Your Period
- Unfamiliar or Unusual Scents
- Low Milk Supply
- Something you’ve eaten that changed the way your breastmilk tastes
- A cold
- Stress in your body
- The baby could simply be growing at the age where being distracted is now at play
How to Help/Cope With A Nursing Strike?
- Pump your milk and give it to your baby through the bottle (Maintain’s milk supply)
- Consider Co-Sleeping ; Skin to Skin. (If busy; skin to skin can be attainable with a carrier)
- Could be the discomfort level on how you are nursing. Try other positions (I ended up nursing him on my bed; Side-laying)
- Try to lay off the dairy, spice, or a food that your body might have a potent reaction to. (Experiment in moderation)
- A reaction to your baby’s bite might have scared her off. (A tactic I learned from my LC is when that happens, cast off the baby right away for 30 seconds and do not give the baby eye contact or any type of attention. Try again and the next time that happens, do it again for 1 minute without reacting, just look away even if they end up crying. And usually, that does the trick. But that’s a trick I thought would be useful for mama’s going through this experience, sorry if it’s happening to you. Ahhhhh)
- Initiate intimate one-on-one moments with your baby, and make the environment quiet and safe.
- Keep trying mama; it’ll be done sooner than later. Every minute will bring you closer don’t worry and relax.
During this difficult time I advise you to ask for help. Ask your mom, your partner, family, friends, and your kids (to help clean) Simply because you will need as much quality time with your baby as possible.
Give yourself space to lower your stress levels, increase serotonin, and gain some rest, or whatever your heart desires to calm your nervous system down. Conforming your closeness with your baby is needed now more than ever.
Slowly commence an effort to breastfeed again by letting your self lay topless with your baby. Give your baby the opportunity to reach for your breasts if needed. To babies, breastfeeding bears as a survival mechanism most especially at night.
Remember, it’s not good to persuade your baby while he is in starvation mode. It’s an easier way for them to reject your breasts, just from frustration (a slow letdown, not enough milk at will). You instead could use a subtle-paced flow bottle.
Try again every couple of hours, be your baby’s safe space. Repeat to yourself positive mama affirmations! Your mental health is crucial right now, especially in the beginning months of being a mama. You got this!
Don’t forget everything is temporary!