If you follow me on twitter or keep up to date with my tweets via the sidebar you’ll have heard about the current ongoing nursing strike saga.
A nursing strike is where a baby goes from several feeds a day to point-blank refusing feeds. This can be for a variety of reasons: teething, oral thrush, mouth injury etc. It can also be caused by mum reacting badly to a biting baby… and this is where we went wrong. Isabel nipped me several times in a row earlier on in the week and I shouted out (more surprise than pain, she doesn’t bite down hard) and I shouted at her.
Yes, I shouted at my baby, I am a terrible mother and you can shoot me now.
Anyway, that night she totally refused all feeds despite being hungry and in pain. We were up with her all night, and only got an hours sleep total. The day after, she continued to refuse feeds until I started pumping which made her jealous and she fed. I thought that was it but no, she continued to refuse and I’ve continued to pump (which is easier said than done as I’ve never been a great pumper) sustaining her on cup-fed expressed breast milk.
So yes, we’re now on day 4 of the strike. She’s fed a couple of times in her sleep; I have to tease her lip with my nipple (I know you’re all fascinated by these small details) and drip milk into her mouth to stimulate her instinctual nursing reflexes. This doesn’t always work and if she catches on to what I’m doing she’ll wake up screaming. In the mean time I have to pump and deal with my dodgy left boob which refuses to let down most of the time and puts me at risk of blocked ducts and mastitis.
She has approached me several times to feed, she’ll get into the nursing position, take the boob and then remember she’s striking so pulls away upset. It’s bloody hard work because it feels like rejection, and I’m not supposed to show it gets to me because that has the potential to make the strike longer.
If I’m not online, not responding to my emails etc, it’s because I’m stuck to a pump or trying to bribe Isabel into thinking I’m not a big meanie and it is safe to nurse again. The things we do for our babies…
(And if this happens to get listed in Google and you’re looking for more info on nursing strikes, I’ve found the following links helpful… Nursing Strikes, Top tips on overcoming one! and Nursing Strikes on Kellymom)