When Your Baby Refuses to Eat and What to Do

A milk strike, or a nursing or breastfeeding strike, can begin out of nowhere. It’s alarming when your champion little breastfeeder will now not nurse utterly out of the blue. Nursing strikes can really feel overwhelming, however relaxation assured; these strikes often don’t final lengthy, so don’t throw within the towel in your breastfeeding objectives but. There are methods to navigate your infant’s milk strike that can hopefully have you ever again to your breastfeeding routine earlier than you understand it.

What’s a Milk Strike?

A milk strike is an abrupt refusal to nurse by the breastfeeding toddler. It could actually final anyplace from one breastfeeding session to a couple days. Both method, when your infant refuses to breastfeed, there’s often a associated trigger.1,2

Attainable Milk Strike Causes

There are a lot of doable causes for a child to instantly go on a milk strike. Some take fast fixes, whereas others may take time to work by.

Sickness or Ache

Your infant is likely to be feeling uncomfortable. This may very well be due to an sickness or one thing inflicting them ache—a stuffy nostril, unsettled abdomen, new tooth, ear an infection, and so forth. Any sickness or harm could make your child really feel unwell, and so they might expertise a lot discomfort that breastfeeding turns into unappealing or an excessive amount of work.2

Overactive Letdown

You may really feel like your child is breastfeeding properly after beginning, and instantly, you discover a change when your milk is available in. This may very well be as a result of having an overactive or forceful letdown. This implies as your child begins to feed, they’re overwhelmed by the quantity of milk they obtain unexpectedly, which might result in breast refusal.1

Lower in Milk Provide

A lower in your milk provide can happen for a number of causes, resembling being beneath stress or not consuming sufficient your self. But when your infant receives much less milk than they’re used to on the breast, they might turn out to be annoyed and refuse to nurse.2,5

Mother Has a New Odor

Newborns have a robust sense of scent. And your child is aware of your scent and even your breastmilk’s scent. If there’s a change in your scent, your infant might not acknowledge or prefer it, resulting in breast refusal and a milk strike. Modifications in your scent may come from a brand new lotion, fragrance, laundry cleaning soap, or deodorant.1,4


If you’re breastfeeding your child in a location with loud noises or many distractions, they might determine these issues are extra attention-grabbing than breastfeeding.2


In case your infant is feeling careworn, they might refuse to breastfeed. This stress may very well be from a change in routine and even after the primary time returning to the breast after a “biting incident,” which prompted a powerful response from you.2

What Can You Do To Assist?

Though a nursing strike may be aggravating for a breastfeeding mother, there are methods to navigate this difficult expertise.3

Hold Making an attempt

When feeding time rolls round once more, strive placing your child to your breast to feed. If it turns into aggravating for you and child, don’t power it; cease, and check out once more subsequent feed. Some discover success when breastfeeding when the infant is extra sleepy. This may very well be as they go to sleep, do a dream feed, and even proper once they get up.

Discover a Calm Breastfeeding Spot

Discover a peaceable, calm, quiet location that is freed from distractions in case your child is on a milk strike. This calm space might even assist you loosen up too, mother. A child can choose up on their mom’s stress, and having each mother and child relaxed can assist.


In case your child refuses to breastfeed, guarantee you might be defending your provide. This implies pumping. As acknowledged above, strive placing your child to your breast for every feeding. If they’re nonetheless refusing, be certain that to pump to take away milk. Eradicating milk, even with pumping, will sign to your physique that milk nonetheless must be made.

Strive New Positions

Change issues up and check out new breastfeeding positions throughout a milk strike. You by no means know what place is likely to be most comfy to your child. A easy change may make them really feel relaxed and able to breastfeed once more.

Plenty of Cuddles and Snuggles

Strive skin-to-skin and many cuddles to proceed to facilitate bonding together with your child.

Deal with Any Medical Considerations

In case your infant is ailing or is experiencing a situation that causes discomfort, communicate together with your child’s medical workforce to handle these considerations.

Attain Out for Assist

Contact your healthcare workforce and lactation guide for steering and help. Navigating a nursing strike may be aggravating, and having a help workforce to offer recommendation and be useful is important.

Will This Have an effect on My Child?

You and your infant are a breastfeeding workforce navigating this milk strike collectively. And collectively, you is likely to be attempting new issues, resembling new breastfeeding positions, however essentially the most essential factor throughout a nursing strike is that your child continues to be being fed. This may look completely different and isn’t what your child is used to. This might imply introducing a bottle or different methodology of feeding. Make sure you monitor whether or not your infant nonetheless has moist diapers. Seek the advice of your child’s healthcare workforce if the milk strike continues to make sure your child continues to be gaining weight appropriately and handle any considerations that is likely to be inflicting it.

What Will Occur to My Milk Provide?

In case your child just isn’t eradicating milk by breastfeeding, it’s important to take motion to guard your provide. The quantity of milk eliminated out of your breasts indicators to your physique how a lot milk must be produced. Merely put, it’s a supply-and-demand course of. If you’re not pumping or eradicating milk out of your breasts whereas your child is on “strike,” you danger seeing a lower in your milk provide.2

When your child first begins a milk strike, it may be alarming. With persistence and slightly detective work, your child can return to breastfeeding very quickly. All the time contact your well being care and lactation workforce for steering and extra help.

1. https://www.llli.org/86tij
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/20058157
3. https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/5eru
4. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/90-P02631
5. https://utswmed.org/medblog/s4d7

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