Nursing Strike 12mo

(40 Posts)
LalaDipsey Fri 04-Jan-13 20:54:37

hi. My DTS hasn't fed since 1st thing yesterday. He is refusing to feed. He is on solids as usual and drinking water but won't feed sad
That now makes last night and tonight 2 nights he had gone to sleep without feeding sad
Help sad my little one isn't ready to stop bf (well I'm not anyway!) I'm sure and I have to get him feeding again.

JassyRadlett Fri 04-Jan-13 21:08:05

Teeth, or an ear infection? Ear infections usually cause a dip in feeding with my DS as it hurts to swallow.

Welovecouscous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:42:31

Lala really sorry to hear that sad

Lucky your baby that you are switched on enough to know this is almost certainly a nursing strike and not self weaning.

There have been a few recent threads about nursing strikes which may help you - both babies ended up bf again:

This one has useful advice:

Also see this one:


Nursing strikes can usually be resolved with patience so it is highly likely all will be ok.

Un MN hugs to you.

Welovecouscous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:43:12
Welovecouscous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:46:09

Gentle frequent offering when baby likely to be receptive - especially when sleepy is the key, as stated on those threads.

You should express when he would usually feed to keep your milk supply up.

LalaDipsey Sat 05-Jan-13 07:02:08

Thanks for the links they are giving me some hope. I slept with him in my bed last night with my top off and kept trying with no success - he even turned his head away and pushed with his hand whilst asleep sad this is the little man who 4 days ago hold throw a massive tantrum if he had to wait.
Luckily I don't have to pump as his twin sister is still feeding so she will keep my su

LalaDipsey Sat 05-Jan-13 07:05:01

Supply going. Means it's harder to find 1:1 time for him ESP as I have a 3 year old too but I won't give up. It took 6 weeks, 2 TT snips, loads of effort and trying things (Inc a very strange 'supplementary nursing system) to get DTD to feed a year ago and I just hope that DTS will respond soon. It's quite heartbreaking sad

Welovecouscous Sat 05-Jan-13 09:01:20

No wonder you are upset sad I would really miss bf too.

Really good news your supply is being maintained by his twin sis, but presumably if the strike goes on for any length of time your supply will adjust to just enough for her rather than enough for both of them? You could consider expressing a bit to try to keep enough supply there for him.

Strikes are really upsetting, but if you keep gently offering you will crack it. You just need to get the balance so you are not pressuring him, but are gently offering often.

Maybe try some of the other ideas in the other threads today? You could try offering feeding when he's ready for his next nap in an usual setting and/or a different position?

Some big un MN hugs for you and some thanks as you are doing brilliantly to be helping him through this. Sadly so many people give up and say their baby self weaned when true self weaning is rare under 2.

LalaDipsey Sun 06-Jan-13 06:42:26

So he still won't feed sad
I tried 3x whilst he was asleep last night (on top of offering a few times in the day). Is it progress that he let me rub my nipple on his mouth? He wouldn't open his mouth but didn't turn his head away?
Hardest is now. I am feeding DTD. He is crying - wants/needs a feed but won't sad
Tomorrow doctors & cranial Osteopath if I can get an emergency appt.

Welovecouscous Sun 06-Jan-13 08:44:58

Lala you sound like you are doing a great job moving towards resolving this. so sorry it is continuing at the moment sad

Going to the drs seems like a good idea - they can rule out anything physical that might be causing it.

I think it definitely is progress that he is happy to have the nipple close to him. If you look at Mampig's old thread, her baby allowed the nipple in the mouth iirc a while before actually progressing to feeding. Maybe your DS is gradually going to do the same.

Keep us posted on what the dr says and it might be worth running any bf advice they give past the LLL helpline as hcp aren't always very well trained on bf - some are very knowledgeable, but some are not.

Un MN hugs

Welovecouscous Sun 06-Jan-13 21:24:51

How are things now?

LalaDipsey Sun 06-Jan-13 21:59:22

Terrible sad I feel like we've gone backwards. Utter refusal (turning head and body away and getting upset) for the rest of today. He was upset after bath when I was feeding his twin sister but wouldn't feed himself. I have just tried when he was asleep and even in his sleep he got upset, pushed away and stayed upset until he was back alone in his cot. I feel like ive broken him.
How come he has needed me to feed him first thing in the morning (& damn quickly please mummy!) for 12 months and now a cup of water replaces me? I am soo upset.

Welovecouscous Sun 06-Jan-13 22:16:20

Oh Lala I am not surprised you are upset sad

Nothing could ever replace you though - you will always be at the centre of his world, bf or not bf. nursing strikes can be caused by the strangest things - I once talked to a bf counsellor who had dealt with a case where a baby refused for a few days after hearing a loud bang outside while he was feeding. He apparently associated feeding with the scary noise.

It might seem hopeless now but mothers have got over strikes like this before and hopefully you will too.

Sending you some thanks , a cup of brew and some biscuitbiscuit

Welovecouscous Mon 07-Jan-13 21:16:30

Lala are things any better today? Have been thinking of you and hoping there has been a slight improvement.

LalaDipsey Tue 08-Jan-13 06:33:23

Nope sad
All clear at the doctors and the bf cafe couldn't offer any advice of anything I wasn't trying.
We see the cranial Osteopath at 8.45am today.
Only thing which may be relevant is that I tried dosing him up again last night with ibuprofen at 7. I tried feeding him in his sleep at 10ish and he let me nipple go in his mouth and even closed his mouth on it for a split second! When I tried again at 3.30am when the ibuprofen would have worn off he turned his head away and cried. Could be coincidence or could be teething pain?
So I thought I may dose him up all day and see if it made a difference?
Day 6 today sad

DW123 Tue 08-Jan-13 21:36:46

Lala - I'm so sorry. Nursing strike is horrible. I can only repeat what has been covered by others

My DT1 has had 2 nursing strikes. We got over both of them by lying down on our bed before he went to sleep with my top off. He took the nipple in his mouth after a few nightss and fed the next so you are getting progress. I was a lot calmer during the second strike and didn't push the offers during the day, and the strike was shorter. Both strikes were triggered by my reaction to him biting which in turn was triggered by teething.

I used the advice on Kellymom and La Leche League sites - both were helpful (especially the range of time it can take to get over it).

As I was feeding twins I didn't worry about supply but I hand expressed a cup of milk at night and gave it to him in the morning as I was irrationally worried about his drop in immunity. It also helped me feel I was doing something...

Let us know how its going - I know its hard but try to stay calm around him in feeding situations - and Good Luck.

Welovecouscous Tue 08-Jan-13 21:42:36

Lala just seen this and the reassuring reply from dw.

Hopefully tonight he will suck just a little.
Hand hiding available here as ever.

LalaDipsey Wed 09-Jan-13 06:58:10

Thanks. He refused again last night - turning his head away and pushing me away with his hands. This morning he is also refusing ebm in a cup?! What is going on with my little guzzler? hmm
dw how long did yours last?

Welovecouscous Wed 09-Jan-13 08:00:52

Lala sorry to hear he is not ready to bf again. You are doing fantastically though to be persevering and continuing to gently offer.

If you look at the links on Mampig's thread,
people have resolved strikes that have lasted a week or more, in the past. Hopefully yours will be over soon.

Hope you have lots of RL support and sending dbt some bf vibes.

DW123 Wed 09-Jan-13 14:36:49

Lala - first one was six days, the second about four but these are short compared to some of the case studies on Kellymom and LLL. And you don't have to worry about your supply which should help. It is such a horrible thing but you are doing the right things. I found it got a bit easier when I expected him to refuse - I just smiled and said OK no problem which took some of the stress out of it (for both of us).

Let us know how the next few days go - that stubborness will be a great life skill later on... Any sign of new teeth yet?

LalaDipsey Thu 10-Jan-13 18:53:43

No sign of teeth but he won't let me put my finger in his mouth to check! He's also refusing ebm hmm
DTD seems to be pulling off and looking at my boob strangely too - I haven't changed my diet or toiletries.
He is turning away and pushing away when I try to feed him in my sleep.
My mum says even at 12 months he can choose to stop feeding if he wants, the gp just thought I was 'having a battle of wills' with him wink, and I think the osteopath and my friends think I'm bonkers for a) still feeding and b) caring he's stopped and c) trying to get him to feed again!

Welovecouscous Thu 10-Jan-13 21:58:45

You are doing completely the right thing, lala, because true self weaning is rare under 2. You absolutely can't make him restart, but what you can do and are doing is offer him the opportunity to feed when he decides he want to do so again.

It sounds like a frustrating and difficult time, but follow your instincts because they are the best guide of how to deal with this.

DW123 Fri 11-Jan-13 13:39:18

Lala - one of my friends said I should use the nursing strike as a way to wean. I was already upset... Its not helpful or supportive to get comments like that especially when what you are doing is so good for your babies. Is there a La Leche group near you? You don't have to go regularly but they can give you information and make you feel less bonkers.

As Welovecouscous said your instincts (backed up by the right info) is right here. Just keep gently and calmly offering and you will get through it.

You are still within the 'normal' range of duration for a strike although I'm sure it doesn't feel that way to you. LOTS of hugs and best wishes. Let us know how it goes.

nannyl Fri 11-Jan-13 18:02:31

sorry to read that

my DD refused at 54 weeks, and never fed again sad

i was not ready to stop either, and it broke my heart but she was ready so i had no choice

LalaDipsey Sat 12-Jan-13 18:30:48

It's day 10 today and still no successhmm. He will have about 20ml
ebm 2-3x a day but that's about it. Yesterday he did put his mouth to my nipple but then grinned and crawled off. Progress though I suppose??!

Welovecouscous Sat 12-Jan-13 20:57:28

Yes I would count that as progress and I'm counting you as very determined as well!

Sorry to hear the strike is continuing sad

I still think you will be posting here in a few days to say the strike is over and he's guzzling milk again.

LalaDipsey Sat 12-Jan-13 21:55:14

Well, it took 7 weeks, 2 TT snips, an SNS and a 8 hour round trip for one of the TT snips to get his twin to feed a year ago, with friends and family thinking I was bonkers and should just let her be! I may be mad, but I'm not giving up yet!! I can't, he keeps waking and having 1-3hr screaming sessions - arching his back, kicking etc. I seem to make it worse and I think it's because he wants to feed but won't/can't/doesn't want to at the same time. I know if he would feed I could help him, he has started being sick and refluxy again but after food so I wonder if that's related? Oh why can't he tell me what's wrong?!

LalaDipsey Mon 14-Jan-13 14:40:51

Day 12 sad
On Saturday he bit my nipple then crawled off.... Nothing yday - he wouldn't even bite me!

Honsandrevels Mon 14-Jan-13 14:57:46

It's horrible isn't it? sad

My dd2 had two strikes and the final one at 13 months was the end of bf for us. I kept expressing for 2 weeks but she never latched on again.

Hope you have a better result.

LalaDipsey Mon 14-Jan-13 20:14:42

Honsandrebels it is horrid hmm I'm glad you got past the first one, I just can't believe my little man is finished with me hmm

DW123 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:31:53

Lala - the biting might be a good sign - DT1 did it before latching on during either one or both of his strikes. I think he was working out how his new teeth affected his latch (that's what I tell myself anyway).

Am so sorry this is going on so long. Do you have enough RL support? Well done on everything you've done so far. Is he eating much despite being sick? Good news on the EBM.

Welovecouscous Tue 15-Jan-13 08:03:29

Lala he probably isn't finished, so you are doing exactly the right thing treating it like a strike. Have you tried offering in new locations, like rooms you don't normally feed in, or in the bath with him?

LalaDipsey Tue 15-Jan-13 19:50:45

Not much RL support in that noone is around to watch other dc whilst I bath with DTS.
I have tried offering different rooms, sides and times. He now has a cold so is especially grumpy (he always has man flu of course!) I just wish he would feed and feel better.
No more biting, no more taking nipple into mouth at all hmm
I am going to keep expressing and offering - I am blessed that DTD is still feeding so even if I miss a pumping session my supply will keep on and hope and pray one day he will surprise me and latch on.

DW123 Fri 18-Jan-13 13:50:55

Lala - well done for sticking with it. All the information and evidence suggests he will surprise you and nurse soon. I'm not sure if its still there but there was a case study on the LLL site of a 41(ish) day strike.

Sorry you don't have more support. I also meant friends/family/acquaintances who support bfing rather than coming out with tosh like 'its a battle of wills' (still stunned your GP said that'.

If it doesn't work out for whatever reason you know you have done an amazing job already - and can carry on with hundreds of other things.

Welovecouscous Fri 18-Jan-13 14:31:26

Hopefully there are signs of improvement - seems likely that he will come back to nursing, even if it takes time.

Really difficult when you are busy and almost everything falls on you - we mothers are good under pressure though and you are doing so well to be persisting in offering.

Keep us posted.

Un MN hugs.

FreelanceMama Mon 28-Jan-13 09:21:59

Have you had any luck yet Lala? My little one hasn't let me breastfeed him since the morning of 28th December, so that's 31 days (I think!) and it's been AWFUL. It triggered PND and I'm getting to the point of having to see the GP for meds.

He turned one last week and it's really hard reading that self-weaning is unlikely at his age or that a lot of Mums confuse a nursing strike with self-weaning because I'm desperate for him to carry on breastfeeding because I know it's good for him but it's as though he's never seen a boob before - and sometimes he thinks they are hilarious to play with! I have been expressing since he first refused so at least he has some milk in a cup every day, although that's decreasing. I've tried everything on KellyMom: the bath, skin to skin, offering in different positions and places, combining with offering him EBM, and when he's asleep. Even did a pregnancy test! But every time he pushes me away, or turns his head away. Last night he was too tired to eat his tea so I felt sure he'd dreamfeed, but no, he just got cross that there was this boob in his face!

He went from two or three times a day, plus once or twice in the night if he woke, to nothing. Obviously I don't know how much he was having at a feed, but they were quite short feeds compared to how long it takes me to express. He eats solids well but would always be keen to have his first feed in the morning and last at night. Nothing out of the usual happened at his last feed. Just when the bedtime one rolled around he wasn't in the least bit interested and the tough thing was trying to get him to go to sleep when I've always nursed him to sleep. That night he latched on once for a second or two, then pulled off, looked at me and started crying and squirming to not be held still.

Within the space of a couple of weeks he seems to have become a toddler - he's standing, crawling, babbling, knows what he wants and goes after it. adorable - but not a baby anymore. I wonder whether he was using breastfeeding for comfort sometimes and now doesn't need it.

I'm seeing the Health Visitor again today, but last month she said it was possible he'd decided he didn't want to feed anymore (we've been doing BLW with the solids so part of me thinks I ought to go with what he wants) but if it made me feel better, to carry on expressing for a month in case he changes his mind.

Lostonthemoors Mon 28-Jan-13 13:44:26

Lala, any news?

Freelance, you sound like you are being amazingly patient and trying very hard for your baby, in case this is indeed a nursing strike. You might want to look at the LLL site as they have some stories about strikes lasting over a month which resolved. I am so sorry to hear this has triggered Pnd for you sad

The current advice when faced with a baby under 2 suddenly refusing to feed is to treat it as a strike and keep offering, exactly as you have been doing. Bf is totally baby led in itself as if baby doesn't want to feed at a given time, they simply won't accept the breast when offered.

Please do give yourself credit for the amazing gift you have already given your baby by feeding for so long. You have given your baby lifelong better health outcomes and made ear infections and respiratory problems far less likely. Risks of asthma, thyroid disease and diabetes have all been lowered by you and all those nights spent giving your milk.

A big un MN hug and some thanks for you as you really deserve them.


FreelanceMama Tue 29-Jan-13 10:04:01

Thanks for the advice and support Lost, it's really hard getting people in my life to understand why I'm so upset.

Lala I hope you're doing ok? I saw the Health Visitor yesterday and by some luck she turned out to be a lactation consultant so she's coming to visit us on Friday to talk about the situation in the privacy of our home (it's a bit hard to talk at the drop-in clinic!). I'll post her advice here, but could you ask your health visitor if there's a lactation consultant that could visit you?

Her initial comments were that I should give myself a break and only try offering when the baby and I are both feeling relaxed. She also said that giving him even a small amount of expressed milk will continue boosting his immune system, but suggested we talk about some of the emotional issues that this is throwing up so we can decide what's best for our family.

FreelanceMama Sat 02-Feb-13 11:44:16

We're on Day 36 now and he hasn't breastfed once since 28th December, but is showing absolutely no signs of being bothered by it. In fact he's sleeping much much better than before, so that's a consolation.

The HV came yesterday and reassured me about the nutrition he's getting based on a food diary I'd kept, and she also explained how the immunity benefits of breastfeeding work at his age (one year). Basically, if he and I are both exposed to the same bugs then he will get an immunity benefit from getting breastmilk because it will have my antibodies in it. As I've got a cough and cold at the moment I'm going to carry on expressing to help him fight it off. She also said that I could take a break from expressing for a few days and start again if I want, but would need to work quite hard to get the supply back up. She was also really great on helping with the emotional side of him not wanting to breastfeed anymore (and far early than I thought he would stop).

One thing she said that really struck me was that I'm the adult in the relationship. She said there tends to be tears on one or other side of the partnership when it ends, and as I'm the adult and can make sense of things more than him, it's probably better this way rather than me having to reject him when he wants to feed (at whatever point I planned to stop) and him not understand what's happening.

Hope that's useful.

Theonlyoneiknow Tue 23-Apr-13 21:04:58

I know this is quite an old thread but I am experiencing similar at the moment only DD is just ten months. Her nursing strike has co-incided with me returning to work and a bad cold/teething. Because I was only feeding AM and PM it will be hard to keep my supply up but will try! I only managed to get 1oz this morning and last night when she refused :-(

Burst into tears earlier about it. Mwahhhh

free I liked your comment about it better being this way rather than us deciding when to stop and the tears being theirs rather than ours. I was really hoping to make it to a year BF DD. I will persevere with expressing for a while and see how it goes. She will take a bottle no problem but its much less effort for them I guess than to BF.

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