3 Reasons Babies Seem to Lose Interest in Breastfeeding

January 19, 2016

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.

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

  1. My baby is 1 month and he is only breast feed by only one side egnore other side so my wife facing sweallimg one side and doesn’t fill him properly please help the me to solve this kind of problm

  2. I do breastfeeding my baby until 4mos only (it was mixed feeding) but due to instances of having fever and headache often because of lack of sleep, I started getting off my baby from breastfeeding that eventually weaned him @4mos. But as he weaned, it kinda hurts me seeing he doesnt need me no more. It even hurts me I saw him easily affected cold and fever etc. So now that he’s 6mos old. I wanted to breastfees again but my milk already dried up. Can i still have my supply again? Please help.me

    • Hi, Eden. It is sometimes possible to re-establish a milk supply after stopping breastfeeding. This is called “relactation” or “induced lactation.” We’d recommend you work with a Lactation Consultant to discuss your goals and build a plan.

      • Hello
        My baby is four month and she now loose interest in breastfeeding, we do fight to take it by force, I don’t understand the reason she don’t want breast again.

        • Hi, Mary. We’re sorry you’re experiencing that. We know how frustrating it can be if your baby refuses feedings. Because loss of interest in breastfeeding can be caused by many factors, we recommend you reach out to a Lactation Consultant for personalized advice. You can find one locally, or work with ours through http://www.AskTheLC.com or the 24/7 LC service on your MyMedela app.

  3. I have been giving my daughter the bottle and also breastfeeding for 3 months and this week I had to finish my midterm exams so my daughter didn’t get breastfeed at all now when I try giving her my milk either in a bottle or trying to latch her on she seems disgusted I don’t know what to do.

    • Hi, Jay. We recommend you reach out to a lactation consultant either locally, though http://www.asktheLC.com, or via the 24/7 LC service on your MyMedela app. They will be able to provide you with some guidance and tips to get your daughter to return to drinking breast milk.

  4. Hi may baby is 5 month old now he refuses breastfeeding for last 2 months …. really depressed moments. .. he just nurse at night
    2 times thats it. … what should we do plzzzz help
    In the day time first we make him sleepy after that i nurse him …. and session is as short as nearly 9 to 10 minutes. .. not gaining weight looks like thinner what should we do plzz

    • Hi, Sara. A certified Lactation Consultant may be able to help you with some tips. You can contact ours through either http://www.AskTheLC.com, or through the 24/7 LC subscription on your MyMedela app. However, if you feel your baby is losing weight, we recommend reaching out to your pediatrician first.

  5. Nicole McGinley says:

    Hi my son is 9 and a half months. He’s teething at the minute and seems to be on nursing strike most of the time. I was feeding him every 2 hours or so up until now so I’m very concerned about milk drying up. I’m pumping once in the morning is this enough? How many hours until my milk drys up? He’s my first baby and I wanted to bf until he is at least a year old. I would be very grateful if you could offer me some advice please. Thank you

    • Hi, Nicole. To maintain breast milk supply, we recommend pumping as often as you would nurse. For exclusively pumping moms, that can mean 8-10 sessions per day. If your son is missing nursing sessions and you still want to maintain the same breast milk supply, try adding in a pumping session to replace it.

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