Breastfed Babies Can Be Difficult
As your breastfed baby approaches six to twelve months of age, you may experience certain issues that concern you. Most of these obstacles can easily be overcome by following a few tips. If you are experiencing problems and need immediate help, contact a Lactation Consultant or a La Leche League leader in your area.
Babies go through growth spurts around six and nine months of age. If your baby suddenly wants to nurse frequently, it does not always mean you have a low milk supply. During a growth spurt, your baby may need to nurse more frequently for up to one week.
Teething and Biting
Some babies experience gum discomfort when trying to nurse, so your baby may become fussy at the breast. Babies may also start waking at night more frequently. Try placing a wet washcloth in the freezer and letting your baby suck on it prior to nursing. You can also offer your baby cold teething rings to help numb the gums before nursing. Avoid using Orajel, as it can numb the baby’s entire mouth and make nursing difficult. Consult your baby’s pediatrician on the use of homeopathic tablets or pain relievers.
To stop biting, try these tips.
- Remove baby from the breast immediately.
- Some moms find it effective to firmly say “no biting” then remove baby from the breast.
- Look for signs that baby is bored or no longer hungry, such as rolling, pushing or no longer sucking.
- Make sure baby opens his or her mouth wide and gets a deep latch before nursing.
- Offer your baby a teething ring to chew on instead.
A baby rarely weans on its own before 18 – 24 months of age. If your baby suddenly stops wanting to nurse or seems to lose interest in breastfeeding, it is most likely a nursing strike. To persuade your baby to nurse, follow a few tips.
- Carry your baby in a carrier.
- Provide plenty of skin to skin contact.
- Nurse your baby when he or she is sleepy or just waking up.
- Offer the breast often.
- Try instant rewards by using hand expression or a breast pump until you achieve let down, then latch baby on.
- Try different positions, such as lying down or while walking.
- Minimize distractions.
- Don’t force your baby to nurse when he or she resists.
- Avoid using a bottle; try using a nursing supplementer, dropper, feeding syringe or sippy cup instead.
If your baby refuses to nurse, make sure to pump your milk to maintain an adequate supply. Rule out health problems or teething pain by visiting your pediatrician.
Older babies can easily become distracted while they are nursing. It does not mean the baby is weaning or losing interest in breastfeeding, he or she is simply very interested in the surroundings.
- Nurse in a dark, quiet room.
- Use your finger to break the latch if baby pulls away without letting go.
- Try different positions, such as side lying or while baby is in a sling.
- Nurse at night, when there are less distractions.
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Flora, B. (n.d.). Nursing strike. Retrieved from http://www.motherandchildhealth.com/Breastfeeding/Becky/strike.html