breastfeeding, encouragement, parenting, weaning from the breast

Is your baby on a nursing strike?

Babies are known to fool mums into thinking they are weaning from the breast.

The truth however is that between 3-5 months, babies can suddenly stop nursing and refuse to do so. That, is called a nursing strike! A nursing strike means that a baby will refuse to take the breast for a period of approximately 5-6 days. There are various reasons why they do that.

  • A cold or stuffy nose, which makes breathing difficult while nursing
  • An ear infection, which causes pressure or pain while sucking and swallowing
  • Discomfort from teething, a cold sore, or an infection (such as thrush)
  • A fever or a heat wave that makes bodily closeness less appealing
  • A newfound preference for bottles (if your child is given frequent bottles, they may like the faster milk flow, or be reacting to a reduction in Mother’s milk supply)
  • A major disruption in routine, such as moving or your returning to work after a maternity leave
  • Reduced milk supply – if you’ve been stressed out, your supply may be reduced
  • A change in the taste of mother’s milk, caused by the resumption of your periods, spicy or unusual foods, a vitamin or drug, or a new pregnancy
  • A new deodorant, soap, or perfume applied on or near the breasts
  • Strong let-down – the milk may be letting down too quickly for Baby’s liking, which may make him frustrated and refuse to latch on
  • Poor nursing habits – at around four months, when a baby begins to realize life is happening around him while he nurses, he may be squirmy or position himself awkwardly at the breast
  • Too much to do – busy six- to nine-month-olds are easily distracted and often opt to “snack” at the breast over settling down for a full meal
  • And sometimes for no perceptible reason at all!

To say nursing strikes are trying is an understatement! It can be a very stressful period for both mum and child. This previous blog post on nursing strikes gives you more information on how to deal with it.

breastfeeding, encouragement, family life, parenting, weaning from the breast

Weaning: We have truly reached the end

It will be 3 weeks on Friday that I initiated weaning from the breast with B.

Last weekend we had to do a U turn due to sickness and went back to the breast for a couple of days. So when I told him once more that the boobie is not gonna happen you can imagine he felt frustrated!

We had a couple of days with a lot of whining but nothing big really.

Well as of Friday last week, I realised he is not asking me for it any more. He still holds it at times – but it’s ok, my older two did that till they were 6! Even nap time is so much easier suddenly. I just tell him it is time and after a few protests of not being tired he settles down and sleeps alone (in my bed next to me please!).

Looking back, I am grateful we both experienced breastfeeding again for a couple of days, it was the real farewell – even though I was as ready as can be. It is also a bit terrifying knowing that I do not have my miracle cure for all; but especially for when sick…knowing he will take the breast and not get dehydrated, that it will help him calm down and avoid emergency situations.

Still, I can see on many levels how being now free from the breast, he suddenly feels more ready to explore new heights. His clinging to it was holding him back a teeny tiny bit from moving forward and now, he is ready and we both welcome these new adventures into our lives.

I would like to remind you that weaning is a process. And also unique to each family as the readiness from both parts as well as temperament and so on make a difference how this is played out, yet I hope with these posts here it helps you when your own journey is ready to move on.

breastfeeding, encouragement, discipline, positive discipline, encouragement, family life, parenting, raw reality, weaning from the breast

Weaning on hold

When life sends you lemons….use them well!

Last night we had to do a U turn and gave my littlest the breast.

He suddenly developed croup. High fever and inability to breathe. He was highly panicked and I could already picture us in hospital.

I knew that the breast will calm him enough for us to know if this will warrant a hospital visit. I did not hesitate! Within a few seconds he was calm and content and he was breathing again.

My nipples are so sore today! Seems like I had already got used to no suckling.

It was a horrible night…B couldn’t find a comfortable way to sleep and as soon as he’d slide down a bit, he’d get a fit of coughing. Fever took a longish while to leave as well which didn’t help.

I haven’t slept a wink and am still hoping to go down for a nap before bedtime rolls and I am vigilant again for his breathing.

I am thankful that we still had milk in the boobies and he had no yet completely weaned. Thankful to feel his body so close to me again for a while longer, his breath on my breast and see once more the look of utter relaxation and contentment – of being home.

Prayers appreciated that he will heal quickly and without the need of hospitalization.

 

breastfeeding, encouragement, discipline, positive discipline, encouragement, family life, parenting, weaning from the breast

Day 4: Weaning from the breast

This weaning is of course a process not simply a sudden happening – especially when mama led.

Yesterday, we celebrated 4 days boobie free!

It is getting better and I’d say that up to a point my little one has accepted it (But still asks for it!).

As I said in my previous post, nap time is more difficult for us. I preferred it that way because I did not fancy both of us being tired and not able to calm him down. So I worked hard with hubby to make sure he won’t mind much sleep time without his beloved boobie. That first day without we had quite a bit of crying. The second and third days he simply refused to nap (and while not ideal I did not push it!). Yesterday, when we came for a nap he did not cry, he did ask a few times though before asking me for a story and to sing him to sleep.

When bed time rolled by, he again asked me to sing him to sleep. He had asked once for it, than when I said no he asked if when he is grown up he can take it again. Now who am I to deny him such a pleasure when he is grown eh? So I said yes he’d be able to! That seemed to give him peace. It also gave me a big nice smile!

Yesterday was also the first time I felt my breasts a bit full and uncomfortable and so needed to express a little bit. Sadly, he refused to take the milk from the cup. He quite seriously told me that he prefers it direct!

breastfeeding, encouragement, family life, parenting, weaning from the breast

Weaning from the breast

It is the first day at home without the breast!

My youngest is 4 years old.

Nap time was actually more problematic then bed time.

How did I go about it?

So I had been thinking about it for a year and it was about 9 months ago that I actually started the mama led weaning. It was the end of Summer and I could suddenly feel the shift from the breast as more a comfort, cozy thing than a need. So on and off – especially when we had a day were he really wanted it – I would tell him that when he’d have his 4th birthday he will say bye to boobies as he would have grown big enough to be able to stay without them. As January approached, I started reminding him of this more regularly ( like once a week at the very least) and on the first of March we started the count down to his birthday and the end of breastfeeding.

The week leading to his birthday we talked daily about how he will have his last breastfeed on his birthday. How he has grown now and he doesn’t need boobies any more. We talked about all the things he could now do and how once he also stops breastfeeding he will be completely ready for school next year.

On his birthday, for nap time I reminded him that today was his last feed.  If, he wished now to be his last feed or bed time. And all went well till this morning 🙂

He asked me for it first thing in the morning although he was easily distractable with let’s go play! Nap time was very tough and he actually cried and asked a million times for it. That was hard, I will be honest! However I held fast to my word, reminded him that we said he’d stop, that I loved him and that I could sing him to sleep, and eventually he did sleep.

Tonight, he asked again, but he is quite used to not taking it before bed time as daddy has been taking bed time routine over for the past few months in preparation for this day. So while he asked for it, he didn’t cry like nap time. He in fact quickly settled and asked for a story and here I told him the story of a little kitten who was saying bye to boobies and how she saw that she was quite content living without. And I could actually feel his internal sigh of relief of something he knows its true even if he is missing it a lot.

Of course this was just day 1, and you can never know what will happen tomorrow. However, I know he is nearly completely ready and he will be fine very soon without. Also, because I am sure I want to stop now, it actually makes it easier on him to transition as I do not feel guilt nor do I sway to and fro changing my mind upon it.

Have you stopped breastfeeding? At what age? Was it mama led or baby led?