Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Nursing Strike

I've already posted once today - it's about a great getaway deal - see it here.

But this post is not about that.  This story started Tuesday evening when my almost 10 month old bit me for the first time - quite suddenly and shocked me so bad that I responded with a NOOOOO, yelp, and pulled her off. And she instantly started crying.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning - little one woke up at 5:30am, nursed on one side, and then refused the other side.... ok maybe she wasn't that hungry.  Then refused again at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30.... each time crying because she was hungry but then would just lay there with her lips pinched together and shake her head.  She finally cried herself to sleep about 9am.  I seriously had no idea what my day had in store at that point.

She slept until almost lunch time.... I offered her the breast as soon as she woke up but once again refused it... and then the crying started. She was so hungry but REFUSED to nurse. By this point I had pumped and had a bottle - which she took and chewed on.... nothing else. So I thought maybe her teeth were bothering her and gave her some teething tablets.  I was starting to lose control... I was so upset and feeling desperate.  She would cry to eat - I would offer and she would refuse. I would set her down on the floor and she would scream and cry - great huge sobbing cries.  I would lay on the floor to be close to her and she would crawl all over me sobbing... but as soon as I would offer the breast she would pinch her lips together and move her head away.... repeat over and over.  This went on till 5ish when her dad got home.... now all she has had to eat all day was a jar and half of baby food.

I was getting upset, I mean really upset. I was convinced she was done nursing, was never going to do it again - I had scarred her so bad when I yelled at her the day before. She was going to starve. I kid you not - I was a mess.

Nursing is my favorite thing. I love it. I enjoy it so much - it's the one thing I look forward to the most when I become pregnant. 

My hubby finally got her to sleep at 5:30 pm - I went took a shower by myself (usually it's me and three kids!), had to pump again, and then tried to relax. Meanwhile I was having constant replays in my mind of the day before, feeling horrible about myself, and crying off and on.  My hubby took the older two swimming for awhile and just as I was to sit down and comfort myself with a brownie sundae, my little one woke up. I literally ran upstairs to try and get to her while she was still sleepy hoping she would latch on and not know the difference. NOPE.  And thus the screaming started again.... by then I was sobbing. Full blown sobbing.  I called a dear friend who's an ER nurse and had her talk me through the fact that there was nothing wrong with my baby. As in - she was still swallowing her spit so there was nothing blocking or hurting that would prevent her from swallowing milk.   Meanwhile I am near hysterical and sobbing off and on... while my daughter is doing the same thing.  Hubby came home - took one look at us and packed all three kids back up for a walk to Grammy & Pappy's.  I pumped into a sippy cup, got calmed down and walked over too.  My dear sweet hubby took the sippy cup and patiently oh so patiently got her to drink some milk from that. Not much but at least she had something in her.

It's now 8:30. And during the bedtime routine we have repeats of the crying and refusing to nurse... and sitting on the floor while both of us cry. I finally get so frustrated during one of her screams, I pull my breast out and pop it into her mouth mid scream... and she latches on... I felt such relief but yet knew it wasn't over yet. It had been 16 hours since her last nursing session.... She ate for 12 minutes.  And then still refused the other side.  Hubby put her to sleep at 9:30 while I laid in bed and cried.

Over dramatic maybe but I was a mess.... emotionally I was out of control. I was so worried my nursing days were over.  I never realized how much I enjoyed it and wanted it to continue. I just wasn't ready to be done...

She got up at 6:00 am this morning and nursed off one side for about 10 minutes, refused the other side and went back to sleep.  PRAYING we are on the up swing of things, I seriously do not like my nerves could handle another day like yesterday.

So any advice? tips? encouragement? anyone else ever go through something like that or am I just a basket case? Ha! :)


  1. Oh NO!! My daughter did this to me when she was 5 months old. Reading your story is like re-living that awful week with her. :( NOT fun!

    My advice is this...DO NOT give her a bottle. Feed her out of a medicine dropper. Babies prefer bottles because the milk comes out faster. The breast is best. Then, (hear me out on this one), strip you and baby to the waist COMPLETELY and her totally except her diaper. Put her directly on your chest, with her head very close to your breasts and lay like that for awhile. My daughter fell asleep like that. When she starts to rouse, gently work your nipple into her mouth and see what happens. My daughter instinctively started nursing like she had never stopped. This was after 5 days of not nursing and eating through a medicine dropper.

    SO, hang in there and do loads of skin to skin. This is the most comforting thing for babies and if this does not work, find a La Leche League consultant in your area and call her!! This was where I got my help from and it save my sanity and I continued to nurse my daughter effortlessly, until she was one.

    Hope this helps and HANG IN THERE!!!!!!!! :)

  2. Oh and one more thing I forgot to mention...I now have a 17 week old and RARELY does he nurse off of both sides. He is my first baby to ever do this and at first, I was upset about it. But if he is getting what he needs, it is OK. So, if she only wants to nurse on one side, relax and pump the other side. She will be fine! :)

    1. Thanks for your note. Things are going much better. I am so relieved!

  3. Oh Jess, I am sorry to hear this. The only time I remember a hard-core nursing strike was when Jonathan up and quit when he turned 4 months old...he sprouted 2 teeth, quit nursing and refused the pacifier all on the same weekend. I ended up pumping for the next 8 months for him but was able to keep nursing/pumping for Faith. Other times we had very off days, and to give you too much info, it was when my period was on the way or just started. Apparently my milk changed at the time, and my kiddos really didn't like it. They drank enough to get by, but that was it. It was hard on all of us, but usually within a few days it resolved. Because your daughter is being weird with the sippy cup and bottle, I wonder if is isn't associated with a change in your milk...I highly doubt a 10 month old could equate being told "no" during nursing to that same milk being in a cup...hang in there and take it easy on yourself. Motherhoood is not for the faint of heart, nor is all of it under our control. Hope to hear that things are improving soon!

    1. Hi! Thanks for the note and you're right.... not for the faint of heart. But oh what a blessing you have right now 'miss surprise pregnancy!!!!' :)