Managing A Nursing Strike

August 29, 2012

As a breastfeeding mom, you may feel like you’re constantly feeding or pumping to ensure your baby is getting all the nutrition he or she needs. So, if you notice your little one no longer seems interested in breastfeeding, it’s no surprise you’re a little concerned. This behavior is often called a nursing strike and it may be a sign that something’s not right. By reaching out to professionals, continuing to express breast milk and remaining calm and patient, you and your baby will have the best chance of returning to your breastfeeding routine.

Talk to a Lactation Consultant or healthcare provider. A nursing strike tends to be a way for your baby to say “something doesn’t feel right.” So, enlisting the help of a professional is often the best way to figure out a solution quickly.

A lactation professional will be able to rule out certain conditions such as:

  • A thrush infection
  • Teething
  • A cold
  • An ear infection
  • A birth injury that may make breastfeeding uncomfortable
  • Changes in milk supply and composition due to hormonal changes, new medications or vitamins

They’ll also consider lifestyle changes like:

  • Changes in your breastfeeding routine, such as returning to work or a change in your daily schedule
  • Changes in the soaps, lotions and perfumes you use

Although some of these changes may seem minor, they can affect your baby’s breastfeeding experience.

Continue to express breast milk. Be sure you continue to pump or manually express breast milk while your little one is on a nursing strike. Try expressing breast milk as frequently as you would typically breastfeed. This will help you and your baby stay on a similar schedule until you’re able to return to your routine. Also, it’s important that you’re efficiently emptying your breasts to help avoid engorgement or mastitis.

Stay calm and be patient. Stress can negatively affect your supply, so it’s best for you and your baby that you focus on taking care of yourself, expressing breast milk and working with a healthcare professional or Lactation Consultant. Also, feel free to reach out to other moms for support and encouragement. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, but there’s always a wealth of moms who have shared similar experiences.

During the nursing strike, consider the following to make sure your baby stays comfortable at breast, even if he or she isn’t feeding.

  • Experiment by holding your baby in different breastfeeding positions
  • Make sure you and your baby still share some skin-to-skin time
  • When your baby is relaxed at your breast, continue to gradually encourage breastfeeding

Ultimately, while your baby is refusing the breast, you want to make sure your baby remains comfortable with all other aspects of breastfeeding.

Did your baby go on a nursing strike? Share your experiences in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Managing A Nursing Strike

  1. Last month I started my period. I’m still nursing my 6mth old but I feel he’s on strike when I’m on my period. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this. I feel as if he’s very needy and cranky.


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