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Nursing Strike

 |  Parenting

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)

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

11 comments so far

  1. Mumblies said:

    Hang in there Jem, she will forget all this and come around to feeding again. You are NOT a bad mother, and don’t you forget it! Any mother in the same situation would shout or scold their child – I’ve done it myself when your brother decided he would practise his chewing skills on the end of one of my nipples, his reaction to my telling him off was as you know was to grin at me and carry on chomping regardless…that led to me deciding enough was enough and weaned him onto his cup and stopped feeding him at around the 10 months mark. Just because I gave up, wussed out and took the easy option does not mean that you should. Stick to your guns and if you can both cope…continue as you are, I’m certain it will all sort itself out soon :)
    Hugs x

  2. Aisling said:

    Well, hey, Izzy and I have stuff in common, because I STILL act like this: I get hungry, to the point of feeling sick, I tell someone I need to eat, I find food, get ready to eat, and then become so repulsed by the idea (for no real reason that I can think of) that I become terribly upset and anxious.

    So, I mean, the good news is, if she’s anything like me, she’s going to grow up to be awesome. :D

    It sounds terribly frustrating. I didn’t know babies would actually do that! I kind of thought they just blindly fed whenever, and didn’t, like… hold rebellions because you offended them. Has Izzy ever considered a career in political activism? :P

  3. Hev said:

    Oh Jem. I am so sorry for this. *hugs* But just like the tips said in "Nursing Strikes, Top tips on overcoming one!" I honestly think the best thing is to keep Izzy with you at all times. Close the windows & doors & run around top naked on the both of you. Sing to her, play with her. Lay in bed with her so that her ear is next to your heart. I know when I was little & upset, listening to my mother heart always calmed me down. You might try that. It would be the first thing that she would have heard in the womb. If nothing else. You might try swaddling her for a little while (maybe five minutes) & holding her. It might make her remember that she does like you. I don’t know Jem. I am just throwing suggestions out. Hope it ends soon.

  4. Ellie said:

    It’s happened to me a few times. mainly when my babies were sick. The longest one of them has ever lasted on strike was two days and that was hard. I had to buy a breast pump then. Breast pumps are horrible, aren’t they? 4 days sounds like a lifetime… don’t know what advice to give. Hope the strike ends soon for you, good luck.

  5. Ana said:

    err- my oldest did this on me..I did yell (and jump) when he did it, thing is it was the start of him self weaning which I was unhappy about- he was just over 9 months.
    The younger boy held on (literally) until he was 20 months- I had to kick him off at that point, he was also taking solids but preferred his boobie!
    good luck!

  6. Jana said:

    I hope she starts feeding again.

    Hrm, your left boob doesn’t let milk down? Do people have oxytosyn? It’s a chemical formed in the COWS brain that tells everything to make the milk drop. But the cow has to WANT to drop milk. And if it doesn’t drop it’s milk, you can give it a shot of Oxytosyn (A synthetic type I guess..)

    Sounds stupid, but maybe ask your doctor about it? I know.. cows are different to people… But I’m sure there is something similar that happens in the human brain. Just a suggestion. :P

  7. Caity said:

    Aww, I’m sorry you’re having such trouble with her feeding. I hope that you find something that works soon and she gives up her strike.

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