Nursing Strike Woes

It’s been a while since I posted in the blog — almost two months! I missed E’s 11 month update, and she will be one tomorrow.

I know I say it all the time, but time flies.

It’s been quite a year, with lots of ups and downs. But one thing E has always been great at is breastfeeding.

With J, I had a lot of trouble breastfeeding at the beginning, with sore and chafed nipples and multiple bouts of mastitis. This time around, I guess I knew what to do — from the latch to products I needed to help — and E was a great nurser from the very start. (Well, if you don’t count the bottle of formula they gave her at the hospital due to low blood sugar at birth…)

But last Friday, everything changed. Suddenly, she started fighting at the breast and biting me on the nipple — and not trying to latch — every time I tried to nurse. (Yes, I tried to nurse. She was doing nothing of the sort.)

Everything I read says she’s not old enough to wean — it’s just a nursing strike, and it could last from 2 to 4 or even 10 days.

Well, we’re on Day 6.

It’s rough. For the first couple of days, I was constantly engorged. I’ve been trying to pump at least three times a day to keep up my supply, but I feel that now it’s dwindling. We’ve continued to give her breastmilk in bottles and sippy cups, but she’s certainly not ravenous for it. 

And it’s psychologically draining too. I am being rejected by my own baby — and just days before my breastfeeding goal of 12 months. I broke down in tears yesterday when my pumping output was lower than I’d like. If she is weaning, I didn’t expect it to be so sudden — I wasn’t prepared to stop nursing my last baby.

E standing and eating at almost one year old

At least she enjoys eating solid food!

E’s never been a big cuddler. Consistent with what other moms have told me, my son is the more physically affectionate of my kids. Maybe she doesn’t feel the need to nurse for comfort.

She’s also been drooling a little and sort of fussy, so maybe she’s teething and nursing hurts for right now.

Or maybe it’s because I changed to an OTC prenatal vitamin last week — coincidentally (or not) the same day the nursing strike began. (I’m going to stop taking that, just in case.)

I keep trying — morning, noon, and night — but she just squirms and arches her back and cries. I’m trying not to force her — just offering — but it doesn’t faze her a bit. Yesterday, I was pumping and she started biting my knee — maybe she wants to breastfeed! I stopped the pump and pulled her up… no dice.

I wish I knew what the problem was and how to fix it. And I’m struggling to keep my chin up. Any advice?


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