"Nursing Strike":

This is when a previously well breastfeeding baby refuses to nurse, especially when wide awake. Baby may still nurse when sleepy. It is usually a sudden change but can build up over time and it is often inexplicable at first and the cause may have to be looked for.

The cause(s) may range from:

Nursing strikes are best dealt with by:

  • finding the root of the cause and fixing it
  • continuing to feed the baby by an alternate feeding method - preferably not a bottle
  • continuing to offer the breast, cuddle the baby, "wear the baby", sleep with the baby, basically maintaining close maternal contact with the baby - preferably skin to skin
  • frequent breastfeeding at the time the baby is most willing, usually sleepy times, just before sleepy, just after waking, with some babies while sleeping
  • protection of mother's milk supply by regular emptying of the breast with a pump or hand expression.

A nursing strike should not be confused with natural weaning or baby led weaning. Babies on "strike" are hungry and have something bothering them. "Strikes" last a few days usually, sometimes longer and when the problem is resolved typically get better. Baby Led Weaning is a progressive and gradual slowing down of breastfeeding at a developmentally appropriate age until it ceases altogether.

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