Having just weathered an illness induced nursing strike with Rhys, I thought now might be a good time to review strategies for negotiating with a striker.
Sometimes babies refuse the breast. Provided baby is under a year old, it is highly unlikely that a nursing strike is a true attempt at weaning. Especially if one of the following factors is also in play:
* Baby is ill. A stuffed up nose can make it difficult to nurse. A sore tummy can leave baby without much of an appetite.
* Mom has been especially busy or stressed out of late.
* Baby's routine has been disrupted (a move, new daycare provider, travel, etc.)
* Baby is teething.
Coaxing a striking baby back to the breast requires patience and dedication:
* To the extent possible, mom should shelve all extraneous obligations and focus solely on baby, recreating the newborn "babymoon" atmosphere.
* Mom should hold baby skin to skin as much as possible. Taking a bath together is a great way to get in a little extra skin to skin contact.
* Mom should wear clothing that provides the easiest possible access to the breast so that if baby shows interest, she can offer the breast with minimal fuss and unbuttoning.
* It is crucial that mom pump to empty her breasts and help maintain her milk supply. Overfull breasts can lead to painful plugged ducts and mastitis, which will only complicate matters further.
* If baby will latch but loses interest in the breast after a few seconds, it may be helpful to pump for a minute in order to stimulate the milk ejection reflex and get the flow of milk started for baby.
* It is important that mom remain calm, even nonchalant (if possible!) when offering the breast.
* Mom's pumped milk can be offered to baby in a bottle, cup or feeding syringe. If baby is over 6 months old, solid foods may be offered.
* Keep an eye on baby's diapers. Contact your doctor immediately if baby isn't peeing or is showing other signs of dehydration (dry mouth, sunken eyes, lethargy, etc.)