Why is My Baby Refusing to Breastfeed?

If you’re a mom with a baby who’s refusing to breastfeed, you may be feeling frustrated and helpless. It’s important to remember that there are many reasons why babies refuse to breastfeed, and most of them are temporary. With patience and support from your pediatrician, you can get your baby back on track breastfeeding. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

breastfeeding mom - Why is My Baby Refusing to Breastfeed?

In the early days of breastfeeding, it can be a struggle for both mom and baby to get into a comfortable rhythm. Newborns may have trouble latching on or staying latched for more than a few minutes at a time. This leads many moms to wonder what they are doing wrong. They may worry that they don’t have enough milk supply and even consider formula to prevent nipple damage.

In most cases, a baby’s refusal to breastfeed is far from mom’s doing. Quite often, the problems are completely unrelated to the mother’s feeding style or the size of her breasts. The reasons for a baby refusing to nurse can vary from medical problems like ear infection or allergies to behavioral issues. In this blog post, we will discuss some reasons why baby refuses breastfeeding and how these problems can be resolved.

Why has my baby stopped breastfeeding?

As well your newborn has only recently started breastfeeding, but the moment you put her to your breast they starts crying and pulls away. You wonder whether they’re hungry or not, but when offered a bottle of formula they happily take it.  There can be many reasons why this is happening and it’s important to find the cause of the situations.

If your baby has been born prematurely, the chances are that they’re not ready for breastfeeding yet. And need extra care and monitoring from a hospital. Babies who have experienced jaundice often struggle with latching on as well. If you’re breastfeeding, it can also be due to your baby being tongue-tied. Luckily, some treatments can help solve this problem.

However, not all fussing at the breast is related to problems with latching on. If newborn babies refusing the breast because of instinctive preference for their mother’s smell and milk. And because you’re separated from them for a long period. They could also be exhausted and need to rest inside your womb. When they were protected and could sleep whenever they wanted to. And skin to skin contact allows your baby to feed on one breast for as long as possible

The problem is that once they enter the outside world and try to feed every two hours, these instincts and needs can’t be fulfilled. The baby can also show resistance to breastfeeding because of how you or someone else holds her. If this is the case, try to find out why and change your position. A feed baby may also refuse the breast if they’re feeling too full.

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What do you do when your baby won’t nurse?

Usually, the baby’s instinctual drive is to nurse about every 2 hours. The most common cause for a baby not wanting to nurse is nipple confusion. It means that the baby has become accustomed to sucking on something other than the mother’s breast. A combination of sugar water and finger foods can also lead to this kind of confusion.

If your baby is more than two months old, you may have to supplement with formula or expressed breast milk. If your baby is less than six weeks old, you’ll need to pump at least 8-12 times a day. During the early days of breastfeeding if your breasts are not producing enough milk on their own. You’ll also want to sip water all day long before and after nursing to maximize the production of wet socks. Therefore, it’s also important that the bedtime feeding be milk flow instead of anything else. So that your supply will quickly increase overnight while you sleep.

As well as pumping after every nursing session will allow for an automatic supply response. And maintaining milk supply 24 hours a day/7 days a week for as many months as necessary until the problem is solved. If you have tried everything else, go see your doctor because there could be an underlying medical issue. Which affects your milk supply or builds up in their body due to inadequate weight gain.

Additionally, the skin to skin contact is very important, so you’ll want to do all your feedings without clothing. Sometimes this can be enough of a distraction to get your baby interested in feeding again. If not, consider scheduling one nursing session per day. Where you just sit and nurse the baby for as long as it takes him or her to finish. This way, your milk supply will remain high. And the baby gets enough of your milk flow to meet his or her needs but isn’t a formerly nursing baby.

What happens if baby doesn’t drink breast milk?

If the baby doesn’t drink breast milk, they are at risk for anemia, enterocolitis, dehydration, hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia, and hypernatremia. Breast milk is designed to help their immune system grow strong. By supplying antibodies both protein-based and carbohydrate-based. Breastmilk is also more easily digested than formula. Because its immune amino acids are broken down into smaller parts that can be absorbed better.

Breastmilk also helps with brain development because it provides DHA necessary for neural development. Which aid in sight hearing touch taste smell emotion language memory reasoning social capabilities. And motor control cognitive-developmental growth intellectual skills and reaction times. If the baby doesn’t drink breast milk it will be unable to grow. And they may even get sudden infants death syndrome.

However, if the formula is ingested by the baby, they are at risk for developing iron-deficiency anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and colic or another disease. According to the Australian breastfeeding association, breastfeeding for 3 months or longer is best for all new mothers and babies.

And the baby bottle feeding syndrome is a behavior in which the baby refuses to breastfeed. The baby has become so used to being bottle-fed that they will go back to it even when offered the breast. And the nursing strike by a baby can be very frustrating for the mother/parents. A nursing strike occurs when the baby stops breastfeeding for more than 24 hours or won’t breastfeed at all.

Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding

How can I get my baby to drink more breast milk?

Some babies are naturally greedy while some others simply don’t like drinking breast milk. If your baby is feeding very infrequently, it may be because of a problem with the breast milk supply. Sometimes mothers have overactive let-down reflexes that cause their babies to swallow air. If you keep breastfeeding, these episodes should slow down as you produce more milk. Below are some baby’s natural ways to increase more breast milk to drink.

1) By switch nursing:

If one breast is fuller than the other, let your baby feed from the less full breast first. You can also alternate feeding on each side or expressed milk after a feed. So that it will be available when you next offer the breast. As well as it is suggested by health and care excellence that sling or baby carrier can also help to increase your baby gently milk. Breast milk supply is influenced by how frequently a baby breastfeeds, therefore it’s important to feed on demand and aim for at least 8 or 10 feeds in 24 hours per day.

2) Breast compression:

If your baby starts drinking faster after you have expressed some milk, this means that they’re gulping air along with the breast milk. To avoid these air bubbles in the stomach, try breast compression or changing breastfeeding position. Where you gently press on one side of your breast while your little one feeds from the other side. This should help them to take only the expressed milk and not the air. Another way to avoid the baby gulping in the air during feedings is by changing a feeding position you use during breastfeeding.

3) Let set baby pattern:

It takes time for your baby to learn how to open wide and suck on the breast for milk. He/she needs time to get the hang of it. You must have patience with nursing or breastfeeding your baby. If they are not hungry enough that means let them set their schedule. Baby’s mouth turn at feeding is most often between 8 to 12 minutes for drip expressed breastmilk. Whenever needed, take some break time even if your baby is suckling on the breast.

4) Provide a supplement wisely:

If you need to supplement with infant formula, it is best to do so just before breastfeeding. This helps keep the baby interested in drinking more breast milk afterward. If your baby has already cut back on breastfeeding or refusing to breastfeed at all. Then this would be a great way to increase breast milk. This is also a good solution for an older baby sleepy and not drinking enough milk. You can also apply some pressure on an older baby to avoid nursing strikes.

5) Lactation consultant:

To avoid breastfeeding problems, mothers must always consult a lactation consultant to encourage breastfeeding. Even when you’re sure that something is wrong, speaking with a breastfeeding specialist will help ensure that the problem lies with your baby and not in technique. Your doctor or a hospital can refer you to lactation consultants in your area. For premature babies with wet nappies or feeding frequency, a consultant can give you much better advice.

6) Pump between feedings:

If your baby is not drinking enough breast milk, you can increase your breast milk by pumping between feedings. Pumping more at this stage may also help prevent a sudden drop in the number of hours per day that a baby who is still happily breastfeeding drinks from the breast. Research shows that breastfeeding right before bedtime doesn’t help boost nighttime production of breast milk. And baby’s upper lip may not be as sensitive to the hormone that triggers milk production during a nursing strike.

Why does my baby scream when I try to breastfeed?

The answer for this question is multifaceted and should be discussed with a breastfeeding specialist. Breastmilk has come to be known as "liquid gold" because mothers produce milk that's uniquely formulated to meet their baby's specific needs. So typically, when moms know they're going to wean the baby from breastfeeding (or supplementing). It's happening on an announced and planned out timeline and not all of a sudden like you mention in your question. There are a number of possible reasons a baby might scream or breast refusal when fed. Of course it can be because the baby is hungry and needs food to eat. But it can also be because the child doesn't like being in your arms or sitting up. In addition, if there is something in the breast milk that causes discomfort for your toddler. Then he or she will react accordingly when attempting to feed from your breast.

Do older baby also lose interest in breastfeeding?

Yes. From birth to 6 months, baby’s need for breastfeeding diminishes. About the time they start crawling around on the floor and feeding themselves with their hands is also when they may lose interest in sucking. Older babies need less milk, so their appetite drops too. It's important for older infants to nurse less often than younger ones. So they don't go hungry between feedings. But by 6 months old most babies are eating solid food three times a day. And usually only nursing one or two times at night for sleep time or comfort needs that's perfectly normal development.

What should do when nursing baby refusing to drink milk?

If they are refusing to drink milk, it may be a problem with the milk that they're drinking. If this is the case then it's time to see a doctor. There can also be many other reasons as to why baby refuses his/her mother's milk. Things like anemia, gastro oesophageal reflux disease, and hyperthyroidism (among other things) could also warrant refusals of breastfeeding. If your baby is hungry, but refusing to drink milk, try adding pureed solids alongside the breastmilk. For example, you can mix puree peas with formula or breastmilk to increase the caloric content of what they are drinking without substantially changing the flavor.

Did baby birth injury causes nursing strikes?

There are studies that find a correlation, but not causation. "Birth injury causes nursing strikes". The cause of this myth is likely derived from hospital policies. Which require breastfeeding mothers to refrain from breastfeeding for 24 hours after having had an epidural anesthesia. This causes some mothers to believe that their babies are refusing to breastfeed because it is "injured." In most cases, there is no way to know if what caused your child's refusal to nurse was an injury sustained during childbirth or not. What usually happens with babies who do experience negative reactions. After having difficulties at birth, is that they may refuse or suddenly stop feeding altogether. Because they are exhausted and overstimulated by the whole experience which makes them too sensitive for it all.

The Conclusion.

Breastfeeding is the most natural, simplest way to feed your baby. It provides critical nutrients for babies and helps them develop healthy eating habits in life. Baby nurses for a longer period, which stimulates the release of hormones that promote emotional well-being.

It is also believed to have positive effects on babies’ immune systems. There are many ways to help your baby breastfeed. The best thing you can do is be patient and persistent. You may need to try different feeding positions, times of day or use bottle nipple shields if they’re available in your area.

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