Nursing strike – a great strategy for getting baby back on the breast

What is a Nursing Strike?

A nursing strike is the term used for when a baby refuses the breast.  It is incredibly stressful for everyone concerned.  There can be many reasons why a baby suddenly stops feeding.

Common Causes of a Nursing Strike

Sometimes the cause of a nursing strike is clear, like when your little one is teething, or is having difficulty breathing because of a cold.  Candida, in the form of oral thrush, is another common culprit (a thick white coating on the tongue is a dead give away),  If you’re taking antibiotics, these can pass into the breast milk and change its taste, causing baby to go on a nursing strike.  Often, however, the reason for the refusal to feed remains a complete mystery.

Make sure the cause is investigated and treated as necessary.  This may involve a trip to the doctor, or consulting with a lactation consultant.  Either way, here’s a fabulous trick for encouraging your little one back on the breast.  Shake a rattle while putting them into the breastfeeding position (you may want to enlist the help of your partner for the rattle-shaking part).  Your baby will often be staring so intently at the rattle, that they forget whatever the difficulty is that’s causing the nursing strike, and start feeding without thinking about it!  Once you manage to persuade your baby to feed successfully a few times, this usually signals the end of the nursing strike.

Check out my article entitled What to do when your baby has a nursing strike for an in-depth discussion of the common causes of a nursing strike, and a comprehensive list of strategies for encouraging your infant to return to the breast.

(Image by Jennifer Pack)

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