Help, my 6-month-old baby is refusing breastfeeding?

[deleted account] ( 16 moms have responded )

Since two nights ago, my 6month old daughter has been refusing to nurse. She will arch her back and scream when I put her to my breast. I walk her around and rock her while I try to feed her or I will wait until she is sleepy, but still unsuccessful. I thought she was teething since she bites/sucks fingers sometimes, but I don't see any tooth cutting out. (She aleady had two cutting out couple weeks ago). I doubt she has ear infection since looks normal and plays well. This is especially frustrating when she awakes in the middle of night or morning hungry but can't eat and we both loose a lot of sleep.

She does take bottle better twice yesterday and drank 15oz all day with some rice cereal and applesauce. I tried to pump but can barely pump anything out now, guess I'm too stressful. I'm afraid my milk supply will stop soon. One of my guess is she just learned to drink from bottle few days ago, and has been eating with spoon. So she is either too busy with learning all the new skills or confused.

I am stressed out and frustrated I'm thinking about weaning her to a bottle. Is this just a stage she is going through? What can I do to get her back to breastfeeding or at least eat at normal amount?


Liana - posted on 04/02/2010




Hi Casey,

When my 2 1/2 year old stop breastfeeding all of a sudden at 9 months old, I thought he was sick because he refused to take the bottle whether it was breast milk or formula, so I was worried about how I was going to feed him. So, I encouraged him to take formula in the bottle because he had to eat more than just baby food and I was very surprised when he took it with no fuss or fight.

It turned out that he had stopped taking my breast because I was pregnant. I didn't realize that our hormones during pregnancy change the taste of our milk. Could that be a possibility in your case? It wouldn't hurt to take a home pregnancy test just to check.

Or like you said, she may just prefer the bottle better because she may be getting more.

Don't stress out, relax. She is eating well without nursing and thats the important thing for her at any age. There's nothing wrong with weaning her to a bottle. I'd say encourage her to nurse, but don't force her. Take the pregnancy test so you can eliminate that possibility if it turns out negative and if it is negative and she still won't nurse then let her have the bottle more often along with her regular meals. Good luck!

Kristin - posted on 04/02/2010




Maybe try a sippy cup instead of a bottle? It's as easy as a bottle for her and then you don't have to get her to give up the bottle for a cup later. Also, less confusion between the cup spouts and you. Just keep offering the breast, maybe do that before the other stuff and separate by about 15 to 20 minutes. She will work a little harder to get what she needs/wants from you and not just give up to go with the other. Just a thought.

If you want to keep her breastfeeding, take away the bottles for a bit. At least while she is learning to eat solids. Then start over with the cup/bottle.

As for the teething, the other mom's are right. It's the time leading to the tooth cutting through that's a nightmare for them. As soon as it's through, the pain and pressure are gone.

No matter what, if you are really concerned, go see her doctor and/or yours. They are there to help you. You can always contact a lactation specialist too. If she still won't take the breast after everything, don't worry too much. You did great feeding her for six months and she will continue to grow and thrive getting food from other sources.

Hope things settle down for you soon.

Ruchi - posted on 09/28/2012




i too have a six month old who does exactly the same when i try to breastfeed him, so i sing a song while breastfeeding him it works few times .so i give him bottle and he drank all of it and then i realised that my breastmilk is not enough and he wants more as he takes much much more from bottle then i could pump from breast.i feelguilty as my breast doesn't have enough milk for my LO. he seems OK with bottle so far. although i had planned to breast feed him for one year, which doesn't seems like happening. also i never had my periods gone. since my delivery i am having my monthly periods, my OBGYN said its OK and happens with few out there. i had heavy period after delivery and i found that i was not producing enough milk even after taking fennel, fennel fenugreek etc.

[deleted account]

Babies will sometimes go on a nursing strike. Usually they'll eventually go back to it, but you never know. They will also take the easy way out which means a bottle. I would try to just keep nursing her and avoid the bottles. Keep pumping, try some mother's milk tea, and drink plenty of water. Keep track of her diapers to make sure she's not getting dehydrated too. Sometimes you can't pump near as much as you actually produce while nursing.

Also, if your period is about to start OR you're pregnant, it can affect your milk. If it's your period, your milk supply can temporarily drop.

[deleted account]

Ruchi Joshi, you can never pump what the baby removes when you are nursing. Babies are more efficient than the machine, so don't count what you pump as what your little guy is getting when he nurses. I got my periods back after 6 weeks with my first baby. He was a 29-week preemie, so I had to pump full time and could measure how much milk I produced. There were mornings when I could get 13 ounces from one pumping session. Having periods does not mean you are not producing enough milk.


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Helen - posted on 09/29/2012




My now 15 month old did that exact same thing, and I've been racking my brain to try and remember what it was. I remember thinking 'teething', and we are convinced it was that. However, she also had a couple of bouts of oral thrush which also stopped her nursing. Its awful isn't it, a horrid feeling, but my advice is keep offering the breast, that's what I did, contrary to the annoying advice I kept being given ("she's obviously not wanting the breast anymore, you should give up" !!!), and sure enough she went back on. It took a few weeks but try to be patient. Check for thrush, it could well be teething, and be consistent. Lots and lots of luck. X

Tricia - posted on 09/29/2012




My son will refuse to nurse almost at least once a day, so I'll give him a bottle & then next time he's hungry - I offer to nurse again. The longest he went without nursing was 2 days, I kept pumping & he came around. I think he just wants MORE sometimes & maybe he's so tired sometimes it's EASIER to take the bottle.

Juliannemarie - posted on 09/28/2012




My daughter did this. Found out she had acid reflux. I would eliminate solids and just breastfeed then add foods a bit later.

[deleted account]

Nursing strikes stink. Keep pumping, keep offering the breast and definitely use sippy cups rather than a bottle. She's old enough to use a cup successfully. I had this happen with one of my babies. She went back to breastfeeding after a couple of days. One standard trick for a nursing strike is to try when the baby is sleepy, since they're more likely to nurse out of habit.

Amber - posted on 09/28/2012




When my son was a few months old he completely stopped nursing, wouldn't take a bottle either. We found out he had severe acid reflux. once on medication for it he did better. Usually babies will outgrow the reflux, but a few like my son may always have an issue with it. He is 5 years old now and still has reflux issues. So check with the babies dr. and see if reflux might be an issue. Hope she starts eating soon, I know it can be scary when you know they aren't eating enough.

Joy - posted on 04/29/2010




I breastfed all four of my children. You can't give them the bottle yourself when your breastfeeding them or they get confused. Also, I only let my husband give them one bottle at night to give me a break. If you have someone give them more than one bottle a day they should be split up with you breastfeeding in between. The bottle is much easier for them to drink, it's harder to get it out of you. They tend to get lazy and once they get more than one or two bottles a day or in a row, they don't want the breast anymore, I hope you can get your daughter to nurse again.

Joy - posted on 04/05/2010




Maybe nothing has been coming out lately? I nursed all four of my children and found out that drinking anything with caffeine can dehydrate you and you won't produce as much milk or possibly dry up. You need to drink lots of water and milk (skim) and some juice. Make sure your relaxing so your milk can let down. You know that feeling when your milk lets down and you know it's flowing. If your not relaxed your milk will not let down.

[deleted account]

Thanks very much to you all! I did go to her doctor today just to rule out any infections or other sickness. The only thing she can think of was because she has reflux first two months, and reflux could come back to some babies when they're about 6month. So I'm starting her on reflux medication again. Not that I want that be true, but that's the reason, better than not knowing anything at all!

Liana - I never thought about pregnant since she still takes my milk from the bottle, but doesn't hurt to check it. Hope not the case or they'll be too close together :-)

Emily - I thought about nursing strike as well after I researched on the web. If so, hope she'll come back before my milk dried out:-)

I agree with you on teething, she does act more fussy before tooth cutting out.

I'll try keep offering breast, letting her try sippy cup instead of bottle see how that goes. I need to be more patient and give her some time. So glad to have the support from ya'l! THANKS!

Emily - posted on 04/02/2010




Did you just start introducing bottles before this started? It could be a nipple confusion thing. Sometimes babies will prefer a bottle because they don't have to work as hard to get out the milk. I would keep offering the breast as much as possible, and try not to give the bottles. If she doesn't think bottles are an option, she will nurse.

The other thing I can think is it may just be a nursing strike. Sometimes babies will go through this for a few days, then they snap out of it and go back to nursing.

You said she only drank 15oz all day yesterday.. it's possible she has some kind of virus too that's making her not feel well. If that's the case, she should start eating more in a few days.

Either way, I don't think you should need to quit nursing. This is just a stage... babies this young do not self-wean.

You also might try asking over at the breastfeeding moms community. You may get more help there.

Bonnie - posted on 04/02/2010




maybe she is not getting enough form the boob anymore and is needing more solids to fill her lil tum ...

[deleted account]

I think you should go with your instincts. If you think it's teething, it probably is. My boy doesn't fuss when you can SEE the tooth, it's the two weeks before it comes IN that we go through hell.

I keep him dosed up on Tylenol, and we use the Hyland's teething tablets. He is even bringing me the teething tablets bottle when he needs them. It didn't take long for him to make the association that the tablets ease the pain. Maybe one or two doses and he had that figured out.

Keep up your breastfeeding routine, I promise she will come around. She doesn't feel real good right now :( I'm so sorry :(

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