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Help! My Baby's Going Through a Nursing Strike

Help! My Baby's Going Through a Nursing Strike

Although breastfeeding is a popular and healthy choice for babies, many infants and their parents struggle with nursing.

It’s one of the reasons our pediatric services at Southfield Pediatrics include breastfeeding support provided by certified lactation specialists.

Here are a few guidelines from our team to get you started on understanding the challenges of nursing and what to do when your baby suddenly doesn’t seem interested – also called a nursing strike.  

1. Learn your baby’s communication style

Babies are individuals who communicate in their own unique way. Most parents learn to distinguish between a baby’s fussy, hungry behavior versus other needs, such as uncomfortable wet diaper tears or a desire for extra cuddling.  

Sometimes, a baby may not be interested in nursing because they’re sleepy, overstimulated, or simply not hungry at that moment. Pay attention to your baby's signals and try to offer the breast when they appear alert and ready to nurse.

2. Check their comfort level

Ensure that your baby is physically comfortable during nursing. Check for any cause of irritation, such as tight clothing, a scratchy blanket, or an uncomfortably full diaper.

Additionally, if you’re trying a different shampoo, soap, or perfume, the new scent could turn your baby off. A nursing strike can also happen because of a change in breast milk flavor due to foods you’ve recently eaten.

You might also try experimenting with different nursing positions to find what works best for both you and your baby. Some babies prefer the traditional cradle hold, while others may desire a side-lying position. Choose a comfy chair or couch that supports your neck, back, and arms, allowing you to relax as your little one nurses.

3. Maintain a calm environment

Create a calm and peaceful environment for nursing. Ensure the room temperature is comfortable, minimize distractions, keep the lighting subdued during night feedings, and consider using soft background music or white noise to create a soothing atmosphere. A calm environment can help your baby relax and focus on nursing.

4. De-stress before it’s time to nurse

Worrying about breastfeeding can cause stress and anxiety that your baby may sense. Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and other relaxing activities can help calm your nerves and reduce tension, benefitting you and your child.     

Every little one is unique, so know that what works for one baby may not work for another. Be patient and easy on yourself as you navigate the learning process.

5. Consult with a lactation specialist

Don't hesitate to schedule a visit with one of our Southfield Pediatrics lactation specialists if you’re struggling with nursing. Our professionals assist with breastfeeding challenges and can provide personalized guidance tailored to your and your baby's needs.

6. Schedule a doctor’s visit 

If your baby continues to resist nursing, it's essential to rule out any medical conditions that may affect their ability to breastfeed. Common concerns include tongue tie, oral thrush, teething, or an ear infection, which can make breastfeeding uncomfortable for your baby.

Our pediatricians, nurses, lactation specialists, and other staff are always available to address your concerns and questions.

Schedule a visit today by calling us at Southfield Pediatrics or requesting an appointment online. 


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