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14 month old very suddenly started behaving as if something is "wrong" with breast; what's going on?

(37 Posts)
DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 08:42:07

DD is 14 months old, and has continued to happily feed every morning and evening (plus some naptimes when we're home together) all along. She fed as usual on Wednesday morning, but that afternoon when I offered her the breast she did this odd thing which she has continued to do almost every time I have tried to feed her since. (We've had just one brief "normal" feed on Thurs first thing.)

It goes like this:

1. DD shows her usual feeding signs: bit grumpy, throws dummy away, pulls at my top and leans in with little open-and-shut mouth at my boob to show she wants to feed

2. I offer her the breast, she takes nipple into her mouth for a brief moment and maybe starts to latch on

3. Almost immediately she unlatches and pulls her head back, slightly shaking it "no" at the same time, and grumbles/cries

4. But she won't be comforted by the dummy and still makes a few more tries at the boob, backing off right away every time

5. So I give her a cup of water instead and that does the trick, sort of (or in the case of this morning, we just got up and had breakfast)

What is going on? It does seem as if she wants to feed, but when she tries, something about it feels wrong to her. I even wondered whether it was hurting her, maybe teething or a mouth ulcer making her sensitive (but I don't think so, as she barely touches the nipple, and then takes a sip from her spouted cup with no probs; and all her other eating/drinking seems unaffected through the day).

I haven't eaten anything weird or changed my soap/lotion/detergent so I can't imagine that I would smell or taste unusual. It's just so odd.

Any ideas? I know it's not as urgent as someone having problems with a new baby but I still would love any advice, as I can tell she's still interested in the idea of feeding so I don't think it's just that she is self-weaning. If she lost interest in the breast I wouldn't force it on her but until recently, it has been a great source of comfort and soothing to her. And I don't want to lose that; at 14 months she still has no teeth (!) so I want to hang onto anything that will make it easier for her when she gets them.

exoticfruits Fri 08-Jul-11 08:48:26

I wouldn't worry-leave it to her.

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 08:58:18


MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 08-Jul-11 09:07:34

did she get any milk? Could it have tasted different?.

Apparently when you ovulate or are pg (or not bf much anymore, but i don't know how much) your progesterone level rises, and you produce a different milk called "weaning milk" which tastes salty (due to lower lactose levels and higher sodium). I found out about it when pg, from the book "adventures in tandem feeding", but even if your not pg it can happen for a day or so when you ovulate.

TheRealMBJ Fri 08-Jul-11 09:22:08

Could you be pregnant?

Also, is she teething or a bit under the weather? If she is teething or has an ear-ache (for example) she could be experiencing some pain when suckling.

VeronicaCake Fri 08-Jul-11 09:34:23

My guess would be that you are ovulating again. 14m is a classic time for periods to start to return, and when mine came back DD had a day or two of being very fussy about feeding. I've had to stop anyway but that is another story.

As for the teeth you may get lucky and they won't cause a problem. I think children who get them later suffer less than early teethers simply because there are more things that can comfort or distract them from any pain. DH pointed out to me that DD had two new teeth last night which he hadn't spotted until he dangled her upside down and she'd opened her mouth with excitement - so teething doesn't necessarily cause misery.

HarrietJones Fri 08-Jul-11 09:43:00

Dd1 was like this when I got pregnant ...

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 10:14:13

Def not pregnant - just finished period day before yest so doubtful about ovulating. Have had periods back for about 5 months now, I think!

The mystery continues ... Thanks for replying though.

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 10:14:54

No, I don't think she really got any milk. If she did it must have been just the tiniest, tiniest droplet.

Ringosbaby Fri 08-Jul-11 10:21:40

My DS stopped at 14 months too, we had a similar thing. He would latch on, feed for about 30 secs then push me away and shake his head. I stopped the morning feed, persevered for a week or so with the bedtime one but then gave up.

He is the only one of mine to never drink cows milk either. He stopped BF and has refused all milk ever since, so he has lots of yogs cheese etc.

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 10:41:18


I just don't understand why, if she is self weaning, there would be such a sudden change in her behaviour. She went from feeding happily one morning to pulling away without tasting milk early that same afternoon. It is so odd, not the typical pattern surely? And 14 months is quite early to self wean, I think; I read on another thread just now that they are generally older.

It is really interesting that you had the same experience, Ringosbaby.

I would really like to maximise the chances of her getting back on track, as I do feel that it would benefit her to continue feeding and she has, until the day before yesterday, seemed to get a lot of pleasure and comfort from it. And I like being able to soothe her that way, settle her down to sleep, etc.

What can I do? Exoticfruits, when you said "leave her to it", what did you mean - that she is probably stopping and I should let her, or that she will probably get back to normal if I take no action? Or something else?

exoticfruits Fri 08-Jul-11 11:28:37

I meant just offer it and if she doesn't want it don't worry-she is old enough to get a balanced diet without-it isn't the worry it would be with a younger baby.

TheRealMBJ Fri 08-Jul-11 11:32:36

I don't think she is self-weaning. Sounds like it may be the start if a nursing strike. It is very, very uncommon for children to truly self-wean before 2 yo. Kellymom has some good info and it may be worth taking her to the GP to check for ear infection etc

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 11:36:20

Och yes, I know you're right about that. It's still good for her, though, and I know that the idea of BFing until 2 years is recommended as a good thing by various health bodies; I had thought (and hoped) that she would want to carry on as she has always seemed to get so much from it.

And I'm still surprised by the sudden onset of this refusing behaviour.

If she wants to stop then fine, it's a bit of a blow but of course I knew we wouldn't feed forever! If there is anything I can do to coax her back to it though, just for a bit longer, I am sure it will make life & nights easier when she finally, FINALLY gets teeth.

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 11:36:54

Oh, xpost, thank you RealBMJ, that gives me hope (although obv hope she is not ill). Will read up on nursing strike.

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 11:39:00

<all becomes clear>

NerfHerder Fri 08-Jul-11 11:40:37

Is it on both sides? If it were an ear infection, one side in particular could be too painful for her to tip her head.

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 11:42:36

Seems to be both sides, yes. No other signs of ear pain.

Maybe the teeth are actually coming through at last.

AliGrylls Fri 08-Jul-11 11:45:01

IF she is happy to take water maybe she is ready to give up bf'ing. It would be a naturalish time for it to come to an end.

TheRealMBJ Fri 08-Jul-11 11:47:04

There are many benefits to continuing to receive BM during a child's second year of life and there is no reason to stop now if you don't want to.

TheRealMBJ Fri 08-Jul-11 11:50:37

AngelDog had to deal with a nursing strike in her son a few months back. It lasted quite a while iirc. Will see if I can dredge up her old thread...

TheRealMBJ Fri 08-Jul-11 11:53:35

Here it is

DirtyMartini Fri 08-Jul-11 11:57:21

Thanks! Must do some work now but I'm going to read that later. I'm really grateful for all the advice, feeling much less worried now. We will sort this.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 08-Jul-11 12:27:40

I think it is quite an unusual age for self weaning. More likely nursing strike. I'm sure she'll come back to it dirtymartini. Good on you for wanting to continue, there are lots of benefits to both of you. smile

TheRealMBJ Fri 08-Jul-11 12:31:13

Oi, Moonface come chat to me on the Pregnancy thread. Want to hear how you're doing.

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