Breastfeeding Strike: What Causes It And Tips To Counter This Nursing Problem

Breastfeeding strike can affect both mother and her baby. Know the causes that affect the strike and tips to counter it.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Sep 10, 2021Updated at: Sep 10, 2021
Breastfeeding Strike: What Causes It And Tips To Counter This Nursing Problem

Babies are said to be a gift of god, but sometimes it’s really difficult to understand their behaviour. Small infants who cannot speak rely on their parents especially mothers to understand their needs. In spite of that there are many challenges parents face in the initial stage of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mother need to feed their baby at regular intervals, in some cases babies tend to drink less milk or eat less than what they usually do. This is an important phase and should not be neglected. This phase is called as nursing strike or breastfeeding strike. It is a period where your baby may refuse to consume your breast milk. Today we will discuss about this breastfeeding strike and share some tips on how you can counter it.

Breastfeeding Strike: What Is It?

To understand this condition thoroughly we talked to Dr. Shilpa Agnihotri, Clinical Paediatrician in Ivory Hospital, Greater Noida. She told us that babies in a defined period who have been nursing well otherwise, refuse to have breast milk. This can go on for as long as 1-2 months and can be very tiring. Mothers try to feed their baby multiple times, but they just refuse. It happens to babies over 3 months old. Breastfeeding strike or nursing strike can occur if the baby is fussy over things, irritated or having some internal health problem, etc. Some mothers think that pulling out of breast while breastfeeding is nursing strike, rather just a distraction for baby that can be easily sought out. 

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What is Weaning?

Paediatrician explains that it is that period of time when the baby starts to breastfeed less and depend more of other modes of nutrition. This condition happens usually over 2 years or when the baby is reaching that stage. It is a natural process that tends to happen gradually. Weaning should not be mistaken for nursing strike as they are two different concepts. 

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Causes of Breastfeeding Strike

Babies can cause a nursing strike for various reasons. It can be sometimes physical reasons or emotional reasons. Here are some common problems that children face that cause’s breastfeeding strike.

  • Earache or congestion in chest
  • A sore throat, mouth ulcers and other conditions affecting mouth of the baby
  • Illness or injury in any body part such as hands, legs or mouth diseases, it can impact the baby and make breastfeeding uncomfortable
  • Teething or sore gums in babies
  • Low milk supply from the mothers breast, it can cause irritation in infants that can be a result of strike
  • Heavy or abundance of milk flow can also cause frustration and strike in babies
  • If the taste of the milk changes because of hormonal changes going on in the mother’s body
  • Unfocussed nursing behaviour or loud noises during nursing
  • Change in personal care products by the mother because of which baby might try to detach from you
  • Frequent distraction caused by environmental factor or overstimulation

Some of these causes can be avoided or improved by taking care of a few changes during breastfeeding. Other conditions may require assistance of a doctor to examine the problems of baby carefully.

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What To Do In a Nursing Strike?

Nursing or a breastfeeding strike can affect both you and your baby. There are some little changes that you can do to make the baby breastfeed again. These changes are those that can be improved from the mother’s perspective.

1. Less milk Production- If your baby is not getting enough milk from your breast and that is a result of nursing strike, then you can try pumping. It can be by both hands or through pumps. Hand expressing is a natural way to tell your breast to produce more milk and this may help in breastfeeding again. Other way is through breast pumps that help to take out more milk from your breasts.

2. Try Cup Feeding in the Breastfeeding Strike- It may be possible that baby is making this strike because of hormonal changes in your body. In that condition try to cup feed your baby. This means you manually take out your breast milk in a bottle or cup and then try to feed your baby. This technique may be more effective in that period. Once this happens, you can try to breastfeed again.

Also Read- Neurological Disorder In Kids: Parents Should Watch Out For These Warning Signs

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Tips To Counter Breastfeeding Strike

Here are some ways and tips given by Dr. Shilpa to counter breastfeeding strike and make your baby breastfeed again.

  1. Change your positions during breastfeeding; hold the baby in different arms.
  2. Lie with your baby and gently offer your breasts to feed or latch
  3. Breastfeed in a dark room so that there are no distractions for the baby
  4. Try to eliminate stress and stay relaxed so that your baby is able to breastfeed well. It also helps in milk production in breasts.
  5. Do not change your personal care products until necessary 
  6. Try to stay with your baby more often in times of breastfeeding strike to end the strike soon.

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