Involuntary weaning

Alison - posted on 12/13/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have a 6-1/2 month old son who I’ve breastfed since he was born (with the occasional formula supplement). I started him on solids (as recommended by my pediatrician) at 4 months and continued to breastfeed. A few weeks ago, he started to refuse my left breast, and now he’s not that interested in breastfeeding at all. This is not a huge problem, as I do have formula and he is eating solids (and is gaining weight as he should), but I’m experiencing a terrible sense of loss that I never expected to feel. I’m just wondering if there’s anyone else out there who’s gone through this, and how you dealt with it. Thanks for any support you can give.

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Carolyn - posted on 12/13/2010

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are you sure its not a nursing strike ? or over feeding of solids ? make sure that you are not replacing breastmilk with solids. you should only be complimenting a nursing with an oz or 2 of food afterwards.


there could be something causing discomfort on his side that makes him not want to lay and nurse from the left ?

he could be teething, i have been having a hell of a time nursing lately,. and just when i was about to give up , yesterday he took to the boob no problem again and we are still "on" again, after 2 weeks of being mostly off. Logan is 6 months now.

I suggest you read up on nursing strikes, their possible causes and how to help resolve them.

I have also had times where for what ever reason he refused my left as well ! i found that i let down more slowly on the lert, so i would start him on the right until i felt let down. let him nursed so the right wouldnt leak all over when pulling him off, then i would switch to the left so he got milk alsmo tinstantly and the edge was taken off his hunger.

seriously , could just be a very simple issue, could be a couple things. its very rare that a baby will wean so early. but pretty comon for nursing strikes.

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Andrea - posted on 12/13/2010

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Keep trying. My daughter went on strike for 4 days after a week long biting battle. I was so sad. A sense of loss is exactly the way I felt as well. Talk to a lactation consultant at the hospital you delivered. Some will have you come in and watch you nurse and try to see if they can see any reason the baby is not nursing on one breast. They were really helpful!! I kept trying at everytime she would normally eat and if she didn't I pumped so my supply would stay up. Good Luck with your little one.

Jenni - posted on 12/13/2010

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I agree with Carolyn... it's very unlikely your son is weaning himself.
A number of things could be causing him to snub the breast... teething, over-feeding solids, distractibility, a cold, an ear infection, a decrease in milk supply with the introduction of solids, a change in your diet. So your job will be to elminate the possible issues one by one. In the meantime make sure you are pumping to keep up your supply. Try co-sleeping if possible, skin-skin contact, feeding in a dark, boring room.
My daughter is an extremely touchy nurser since she was about 2 months old. She is now 7 months and latches on and off constantly. Too much movement or noise causes her to latch off and spin around to look. So I BF in the bedroom with the lights off and I bring her to bed with me at night on occasions to nurse while she's sleepy.
Is he not latch on at all? For 5 mins and then stopping? Does he still seem hungry? Or is hungry again 30 mins later? If he is generally happy after a feed and isn't hungry again for 3 hours then he is probably getting enough in just a shorter amount of time. Keep in mind increased solids means decrease in nursing time.
Nurse first and offer solids after.
To rule out teething apply pressure to his gums, give him a cold teething toy, or some children's tylenol 20 mins before a feed and see if it helps at all.
As far as refusing one side over the other, most women have a weaker side that involves more effort on baby's part to get the milk going. Mine is my right. So it's usually the first side to be snubbed.

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