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Baby refusing to feed

(23 Posts)
heartlanddrive Sun 23-Jun-19 13:13:23

My son is 3.5 months old and I've breastfed him since birth. Since yesterday he has been refusing to feed from me at all, when put to the breast he just shouts and cries and seems very cross and will not latch on or even try to.

At first I left him for a while because I thought maybe he just wasn't hungry but then after more attempts and him still refusing, I expressed and fed him from a bottle and he downed it very quickly.

He isn't acting any different and is his usual happy self and not showing any signs of hunger, he usually feeds every 3/4 hours.

I don't know if this is relevant but since he was 7 weeks old I have been back at work, just a half day once a week and during that time he is looked after by my mum and usually has 2 bottles. But this has been since he was 7 weeks old and he's never had any trouble going between breast and bottle before, so I don't know if it's that.

The other weird thing is that he fed perfectly fine during the night, although he is half asleep then. He woke up twice for feeding at the same times he usually does and fed with no trouble at all and then this morning he is back to refusing the breast again!

I really don't know what to do and I'm a bit apprehensive about talking to my health visitor about it because I feel like she will pressure me into formula feeding and I really don't want to do that. I have nothing against formula feeding but I really want to continue breastfeeding him for as long as I can.

Has anyone been through the same thing with their baby or have any idea why he's doing this or what I can do to get him back to being interested in the boob?!

Thank you

heartlanddrive Sun 23-Jun-19 23:45:47


harper30 Sun 23-Jun-19 23:49:43

I'd see if there are any breastfeeding support groups nearby? I used to go to the one at our local children's centre every week, partly for the social aspect but also to ask advice most weeks. They might be able to help?
I don't have specific advice as I've not experienced it with DD but you should be supported by your health visitor in carrying on feeding so I'm sorry to hear that you think she'll push formula ☹️ maybe ask to see a different HV? Xx

ElphabaTheGreen Sun 23-Jun-19 23:52:19

Nursing strike (have a Google).

Are you able to keep him bottle-free for a few days and just have him skin to skin so he has free and continuous access to boob? Let him sleep on you for naps and get a boob in his mouth just as he’s stirring so he feeds to awake. Have you got a sling? Keep him skin to skin on you then as well so even when you’re up and about he has your boobs constantly near his face. Obviously don’t go answering the door like this...grin

harper30 Sun 23-Jun-19 23:52:28

Would it help maybe hand expressing very briefly before you feed him so there's milk on your nipple when you put him to your breast so he's more tempted to latch? Or express a bit before so your letdown will start as soon as/if he latches?

heartlanddrive Sun 23-Jun-19 23:52:38

@harper30 that's a good idea thank you I'll have a look where the nearest breastfeeding support group is

heartlanddrive Sun 23-Jun-19 23:58:35

@ElphabaTheGreen I did try to go without giving in and giving him a bottle today but he refused a feed, I did skin to skin and he had a nap on me and I tried again when he woke up but he refused again and then when it was coming up to his next feed he was still refusing, so I gave in because I was worried about him being dehydrated and just expressed and gave it to him via a bottle which he downed straight away then cried when it had finished so I offered him the boob and he still refused! Not sure wether to cup feed instead of bottle feed if he carries on refusing tomorrow too. He had a good feed from me at bedtime this evening and again just now so he's fine at nighttime/when he's half asleep! Just doesn't want to know during the day! So stressful!

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 24-Jun-19 00:03:06

Definitely try cup feeding or at least paced bottle feeding (look for it on YouTube). Bottles are a much easier option than breastfeeding so they will down them very quickly, giving the illusion of starvation/desperation.

heartlanddrive Mon 24-Jun-19 00:21:46

@ElphabaTheGreen thank you I will look into that and at cup feeding. Is something like a doidy cup suitable?

richdotcom Mon 24-Jun-19 00:33:52

I could have written this word for word - dc turned out to be an early teether and the first 2 teeth popped out at 20 weeks old. Drove me mad for a couple of weeks though when I couldn't work out what was wrong and almost gave up bf because of it!

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 24-Jun-19 00:48:19

Doidy Cup is perfect.

heartlanddrive Mon 24-Jun-19 01:20:15

@richdotcom teething never even crossed my mind but now you mention it he has been chewing on his fingers A LOT! The last couple of days! I will get some teething powders or something tomorrow and see if that makes any difference! Thank you! I wouldn't have thought that at all because he's still so young!

richdotcom Mon 24-Jun-19 02:01:47

For us it was just a case of muddling through and using a bottle when dc absolutely refused to latch, I also took advantage of feeding to sleep for every nap. Once the teeth appeared though it went back to normal almost overnight!

Unfortunately we had the same issue when the next teeth came through (dc is just a horrendous teether) but knowing that it would pass made it a bit easier to deal with.

Hope you find something that works for you soon, you have my sympathy!

harper30 Wed 26-Jun-19 11:42:43

Hey OP how's it going? Any positive news with the feeding? X

heartlanddrive Wed 26-Jun-19 17:46:31

@harper30 I tried him with some anbesol for teething and it seemed to work after a bit of a struggle but then that's stopped working after two feeds! So I don't know what it is. He's feeding fine during the night but daytime is very hit and miss. Even when he eventually does feed he's only going about 3 minutes on each boob before getting very angry at me and crying and refusing it again. Thanks for asking

Seaandsand83 Wed 26-Jun-19 17:48:57

Oral thrush? Is there white on his tongue?

heartlanddrive Wed 26-Jun-19 18:43:27

@Seaandsand83 I thought of this or an ear infection but no I don't think so. And he's very much his normal happy self doesn't seem like he's hungry or coming down with anything or in pain.

heartlanddrive Wed 26-Jun-19 18:44:57

I'm trying not to make it about me or take it personally but I do feel very rejected! I don't know wether I should stop trying and just start exclusively expressing instead of trying to feed from the boob. Maybe I will only be able to feed him from me at night time ☹️

harper30 Wed 26-Jun-19 23:16:06

I totally understand how you're feeling, it's hard not to take things personally when it's your baby and your boobs/body 😂
Must be so frustrating, maybe do try find a breastfeeding group or call la leche league for some advice.
Might be like you said and you can express for him in the day and breastfeed him at night, that might work for a bit then you never know he might see the light and go back to feeding from you in the day too.

I did find with DD that as she got older I sometimes needed to feed her somewhere quiet/boring as she got so SO distracted. I'd quite often feed her in her nursery with the blinds closed during the day when she was very fussy, just to emulate the night time vibes a bit more and make it easier for her to focus and not have anything else to think about or look at.
Hope things work out how you want, it sounds like you're doing a great job 😊

heartlanddrive Thu 27-Jun-19 02:40:23

@harper30 I called the nct breastfeeding helpline today and they didn't really suggest anything that hasn't been said here or that I've already tried but they did help reassure me that breastfeeding strikes are quite common and it doesn't necessarily mean the end of breastfeeding so to just push through and hope it sorts itself out and if not then expressing is a perfectly fine way to feed if I chose to do so! I'm going to a breastfeeding support drop in tomorrow morning too just to see if they have any other advice or can see if I'm doing anything wrong! So will see how that goes!

I've started taken him off to a quiet place like you suggested, away from everyone/distractions and in those moments I have had some some half hearted success! Some quick 3-5 minute feeds and also some success in feeding him when he's ready for a nap. So I will continue to do that and hope something just clicks and he decides actually breastfeeding is ok again!

I weighed him today and he has put on weight and hasn't lost anything so I'm going to try and relax and go with this "phase" or "strike" for the next week or two trying those tips and hoping it sorts itself out, if not then I think expressing during the day will be my go to! I might have to invest in a double pump instead of a single one if this happens though 😅.

Thanks so much for all your tips and for checking in! It seems like just when I'm getting the hang of this parenting malarkey he likes to throw a spanner in the works! grin

harper30 Thu 27-Jun-19 21:04:35

Yikes at the 2.40am time post 😂😂😂 guessing he was keeping you up!
Sounds like you're being very proactive and sensible about it, I hope things go smoothly and however you feed him is good so don't put yourself under lots of pressure. We always find things to beat ourselves up about or worry about no matter what! It sounds like you're doing amazingly.

heartlanddrive Thu 27-Jun-19 21:55:43

@harper30 yes he decided that 2am was a great time to poo everywhere! 😂 i went to an nct breastfeeding drop in today and they made me feel much better about everything. So I'm feeling much more positive about the whole thing! They were full of compliments about how big and healthy looking and alert he looks so basically just told me to stop worrying and take his lead. 😅

harper30 Fri 28-Jun-19 21:51:14

Sounds like a success! Glad you had a nice time and they made you feel better 😊 x

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