When a baby refuses to breastfeed it can be very concerning for parents. These breastfeeding “strikes” can last for a few hours or a few days – it all depends on what is causing your baby to refuse the breast.
We have put together some common causes of breast refusal with possible solutions to help you figure out how to help your baby breastfeed again.
Sometimes, physical pain or discomfort can affect a baby’s interest in breastfeeding. For example, if your baby has a sore mouth, a stuffy nose, or an ear infection, the action of breastfeeding might be too painful or difficult.
Try breastfeeding your baby while she is in an upright position. A change of position might be all that’s needed to remove the physical discomfort that is stopping her from breastfeeding.
Always check with your baby’s health care professional if you are concerned.
A decrease in milk supply could make your baby so frustrated that she refuses to nurse. The best thing for this situation is to try to increase your milk supply by breastfeeding more frequently and for longer periods of time. Try using a breast pump if you have one. If your baby has a weak latch, call your baby’s health care professional or lactation consultant first.
Finally, overstimulation or a stressful event for your baby may cause a breastfeeding strike. Be flexible with your baby’s breastfeeding times and try to ensure she is not interrupted when she is breastfeeding.
If your baby continues to refuse to breastfeed, trust your judgement and contact a certified lactation consultant for advice.
A Mom’s Helpful Guide to Breastfeeding, p. 46, 2017.