Nursing Strike

My LO is almost 5 mo. and been in DC for about 2 months now - this past week he has started getting upset when nursing & acts like he's starving (I know he's getting milk since I can hear him swallow/see on his chin) but since he's used to having bottles during the day, he doesn't think my flow is fast enough. My supply has basically tanked, even though I never had a great supply to begin with. I used to get 4 oz. each time when pumping & am now down to 2 oz.

I've tried all herbal supplements: blessed thistle + fenugreek, brewer's yeast and am now taking Mother Love more milk for the past 2 days. Nothing has worked for me, I know the best way to get supply back is by nursing more often - how am I supposed to do this when he continues to pull off & cry every single time. The only time he will really nurse is at night, when he's sleepy.

Any tips or advice would be appreciated. I haven't contacted an LC or anything, but don't really know if they will tell me to try anything besides nursing more frequently.

It just really saddens me to think about quitting, I've already had to supplement at least 1 bottle/day at DC since I was never an overproducer & to make things worse my fiance just doesn't get it - he could care less how much BF means to me.


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Re: Nursing Strike

  • jcar2jcar2
    2500 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its Second Anniversary
    I could have written this post. I was actually about to post one about this until I saw yours. The only thing that's helping us right now is the side lying position.

    How long do nursing strikes last? Any tips? I really do not want breastfeeding to end.
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  • Are you still using the slow flow nipples on his bottles?  I never dealt with a nursing strike, but could you try pumping until your milk gets flowing and then get him on the breast?  It might create a bad habit, might just break the cycle of him fighting it, might help to build a little stash.  Again, no idea if this would work or not, just a thought if you think it's that he has to work too hard to get the milk to flow.

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  • We are still using slow - flow nipples and I usually get a letdown less than a minute into nursing, but I think he would just rather have a bottle since it's a non-stop, instead of having to wait for a 2nd or 3rd letdown. It's just really frustrating & I always end up giving in and giving him formula (I know, not helping at all!) but he just cries and keeps pulling off the breast each time I put him back.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this Mother Love more milk blend will increase my supply, at least back to what I was getting before. I'm just basically at a loss on anything else to try at this point. I have honestly, tried every herbal supplement and none have helped. I suppose I could contact an LC but I feel like they are just going to tell me to keep trying to nurse him and he wants no part of it, unless he's really tired.


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  • Here's what I would do:

    - Google "paced bottle feeding and make sure that your DCP is feeding him that way.

    - Pump more often to increase supply, and include daily power pumps.

    - Reach out to a LC (or several) for more tips.

  • My LO is just over 7 months and has been striking for two weeks.  I was devastated and so upset, so I know how you feel.  I can't even get her to latch--she immediately fusses when I put her in any nursing position.  Everything I've read and my LC says to not be pushy with the nursing--offer the boob, then if LO doesn't want it, just calmly give them a feeding by bottle or sippy cup.  She will only nurse in the mornings, but this morning she was too awake by the time I got to her and she refused to nurse.  She nurses fine if I dream feed her.  She gets bottles all week while I work, then couple that with her teething made for a perfect storm.  She's also very distractible lately--sometimes it's hard to get her to finish a bottle. 

     Could your LO be teething?  My LO would do the same thing when she is teething (when she was still nursing, that is)  I think she likes the feel of the rubber nipple on her teething gums.  We use the slowest flow nipple (Avent and TT) but I just ordered some Breastflow bottles.  I've heard that they are really slow and mimic breastfeeding, and they're affordable.  You could try those, and if it makes it harder for LO to eat from a bottle, they hopefully will return to the boob.  I also tried a nipple shield (to make my boob like a bottle) but she just bites it.  Don't know if this is because she's teething or because she just wants me to leave her alone!  You can also try to give an oz or two in a bottle, then switch the bottle with your boob.  This used to work for us before when she was younger and too hungry and impatient to nurse.

    My LC just stressed that the most important thing is that LO is fed--if she's getting your BM or formula from a bottle, then that's ok.  Just keep pumping (I pump in the mornings after I feed her, then I pump 3x at work, then twice before I go to bed) I offer my boob first at each feeding still, then go pump when she refuses while MH gives her a bottle.  I had a few people suggest just not feeding her by bottle until she finally nurses; that she won't starve but refuse to give her a bottle until she figures out that mommy means food and nurses.  I tried this for a few hours, but she got so hysterical that there was no way she would nurse.  I don't feel comfortable trying this again! Plus, I figure she would revert again once I went back to work during the week. There's no way we can't give her bottles since I work FT. I'm hoping some new bottles might bring her back to the boob, and maybe once we get past this teething she'll come back to nursing. 

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