3 Reasons Babies Seem to Lose Interest in Breastfeeding

January 19, 2016
3 Reasons Babies Seem to Lose Interest in Breastfeeding

Do you feel like your baby is losing interest in breastfeeding? It’s not uncommon for some moms to feel this way at some point in their breastfeeding journey, and there are various reasons why it can happen. Before you assume your little one is weaning, explore other possible causes. These are just a few reasons for a seemingly sudden disinterest in breastfeeding:

Your Baby is Exploring the World

Around 3-4 months, babies become more aware of and interested in the world around them. They want to look around during feedings, coming on and off the breast. In other words – they’re distractible. This is completely normal, and simply means that feedings might take longer because your baby wants to check out everything that’s going on around them. Chances are your baby is still very interested in breastfeeding—you might just want to consider a calmer environment with fewer distractions.

Your Baby is Becoming an Expert

Another totally normal reason your baby may seem to be losing interest in breastfeeding is because they’re getting good at it! Babies become more efficient at nursing around 3-4 months, which means they may decrease the number of times they breastfeed each day and the duration for which they need to breastfeed.

Your Baby is on a Nursing Strike

Sometimes babies will suddenly stop breastfeeding. This is called a “nursing strike” and tends to happen between 7 and 11 months. If this happens, you may think your little one is no longer interested in breastfeeding, but there are many different reasons why your baby may refuse to feed:

  • Baby is teething, or has an ear infection or cold, which makes it painful for them to breastfeed
  • There may be a change in the taste or amount of your breast milk. This is typically caused by a hormone change, like your periods resuming, the use of estrogen-containing birth control, a breast infection, or even pregnancy
  • Changes in your breastfeeding routine, such as returning to work or school
  • Your baby’s dislike of a new soap, perfume, or fragranced lotion

Regardless of the reason your baby seems disinterested in breastfeeding, the most important thing you can do is be calm and patient with your baby. Most of the time it’s a very temporary situation that will fix itself. You shouldn’t necessarily assume your child is weaning. Continue to pump milk as often as you would breastfeed and make sure your baby stays comfortable at the breast, even if he or she isn’t feeding.

Managing a nursing strike can be stressful, and if it lasts more than a few days be sure talk to a Lactation Consultant or healthcare provider for help figuring out a solution.

Has your baby ever lost interest in breastfeeding? Share your experiences and tips for moms who might be dealing with this issue in the comments below.

24 thoughts on “3 Reasons Babies Seem to Lose Interest in Breastfeeding

  1. Hi my baby is 5 months 0ld n she lose interest in breastfeeding since 2.5 months she screams wen i take her to my breasts then i started expressing n giving her by cup n spoon but now she is neither interested in taking by cup n spoon n remains hungry while day wat shud i do pls solve my problem

    • Hi Ashi — Thank you for reaching out about this. Please contact our lactation consultant at bit.ly/AskTheLC. She’ll be happy to hear about what you’re going through and offer free, one-on-one advice. Thank you and have a great day!

  2. My little one is 4.5 months old and has decided not to breastfed anymore. We normally give her breastmilk in a bottle during the day and she nurses at night but now she is refusing to nurse at night. She still wakes up through the middle of the night to feed but instead of nursing she wants the bottle. I’ve tried nursing her throughout the day but she latches then turns her head and does that a few times before becoming frustrated. She does the same thing at night. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Terri — Thank you for reaching out. Our lactation consultant would be happy to try and offer advice. Please contact her at bit.ly/AskTheLC. Thanks and have a great day!

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