When Your Child Refuses to Eat and What to Do

A milk strike, or a nursing or breastfeeding strike, can begin out of nowhere. It’s alarming when your champion little breastfeeder will now not nurse utterly out of the blue. Nursing strikes can really feel overwhelming, however relaxation assured; these strikes normally don’t final lengthy, so don’t throw within the towel in your breastfeeding targets but. There are methods to navigate your toddler’s milk strike that can hopefully have you ever again to your breastfeeding routine earlier than it.

What’s a Milk Strike?

A milk strike is an abrupt refusal to nurse by the breastfeeding toddler. It may final anyplace from one breastfeeding session to a couple days. Both manner, when your toddler refuses to breastfeed, there’s normally a associated trigger.1,2

Potential Milk Strike Causes

There are numerous doable causes for a child to immediately go on a milk strike. Some take fast fixes, whereas others would possibly take time to work by way of.

Sickness or Ache

Your toddler may be feeling uncomfortable. This may very well be due to an sickness or one thing inflicting them ache—a stuffy nostril, unsettled abdomen, new tooth, ear an infection, and so on. Any sickness or harm could make your child really feel unwell, they usually could expertise a lot discomfort that breastfeeding turns into unappealing or an excessive amount of work.2

Overactive Letdown

You would possibly really feel like your child is breastfeeding properly after delivery, and immediately, you discover a change when your milk is available in. This may very well be attributable to having an overactive or forceful letdown. This implies as your child begins to feed, they’re overwhelmed by the quantity of milk they obtain , which may result in breast refusal.1

Lower in Milk Provide

A lower in your milk provide can happen for a number of causes, equivalent to being underneath stress or not consuming sufficient your self. But when your toddler receives much less milk than they’re used to on the breast, they might develop into annoyed and refuse to nurse.2,5

Mother Has a New Scent

Newborns have a robust sense of scent. And your child is aware of your scent and even your breastmilk’s scent. If there’s a change in your scent, your toddler could not acknowledge or prefer it, resulting in breast refusal and a milk strike. Modifications in your scent might come from a brand new lotion, fragrance, laundry cleaning soap, or deodorant.1,4


If you’re breastfeeding your child in a location with loud noises or many distractions, they might resolve these issues are extra fascinating than breastfeeding.2


In case your toddler is feeling harassed, they might refuse to breastfeed. This stress may very well be from a change in routine and even after the primary time returning to the breast after a “biting incident,” which prompted a robust response from you.2

What Can You Do To Assist?

Though a nursing strike could be traumatic for a breastfeeding mother, there are methods to navigate this difficult expertise.3

Hold Making an attempt

When feeding time rolls round once more, attempt placing your child to your breast to feed. If it turns into traumatic for you and child, don’t pressure it; cease, and take a look at once more subsequent feed. Some discover success when breastfeeding when the child is extra sleepy. This may very well be as they go to sleep, do a dream feed, and even proper after they get up.

Discover a Calm Breastfeeding Spot

Discover a peaceable, calm, quiet location that is freed from distractions in case your child is on a milk strike. This calm space could even enable you chill out too, mother. A child can decide up on their mom’s stress, and having each mother and child relaxed may also help.


In case your child refuses to breastfeed, guarantee you’re defending your provide. This implies pumping. As said above, attempt placing your child to your breast for every feeding. If they’re nonetheless refusing, make certain to pump to take away milk. Eradicating milk, even with pumping, will sign to your physique that milk nonetheless must be made.

Strive New Positions

Change issues up and take a look at new breastfeeding positions throughout a milk strike. You by no means know what place may be most comfy in your child. A easy change would possibly make them really feel relaxed and able to breastfeed once more.

Plenty of Cuddles and Snuggles

Strive skin-to-skin and plenty of cuddles to proceed to facilitate bonding along with your child.

Deal with Any Medical Issues

In case your toddler is in poor health or is experiencing a situation that causes discomfort, converse along with your child’s medical workforce to handle these considerations.

Attain Out for Assist

Contact your healthcare workforce and lactation guide for steerage and help. Navigating a nursing strike could be traumatic, and having a help workforce to offer recommendation and be useful is crucial.

Will This Have an effect on My Child?

You and your toddler are a breastfeeding workforce navigating this milk strike collectively. And collectively, you may be making an attempt new issues, equivalent to new breastfeeding positions, however probably the most essential factor throughout a nursing strike is that your child continues to be being fed. This would possibly look totally different and isn’t what your child is used to. This might imply introducing a bottle or different technique of feeding. Make sure you monitor whether or not your toddler nonetheless has moist diapers. Seek the advice of your child’s healthcare workforce if the milk strike continues to make sure your child continues to be gaining weight appropriately and handle any considerations that may be inflicting it.

What Will Occur to My Milk Provide?

In case your child will not be eradicating milk by breastfeeding, it’s important to take motion to guard your provide. The quantity of milk eliminated out of your breasts indicators to your physique how a lot milk must be produced. Merely put, it’s a supply-and-demand course of. If you’re not pumping or eradicating milk out of your breasts whereas your child is on “strike,” you threat seeing a lower in your milk provide.2

When your child first begins a milk strike, it may be alarming. With persistence and a bit of detective work, your child can return to breastfeeding very quickly. At all times contact your well being care and lactation workforce for steerage and extra help.

1. https://www.llli.org/86tij
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/20058157
3. https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/5eru
4. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/90-P02631
5. https://utswmed.org/medblog/s4d7

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