It is unusual for a baby to wean entirely on his own during the first
year. But it’s not unusual for a baby to take occasional nursing breaks.
This is different from weaning. Natural weaning happens over several
weeks or months. A nursing break is usually abrupt. Both you and the
baby will be unhappy when such a break happens. Try to discover why
your baby is unhappy nursing.
- Are you wearing a new perfume?
- Are you using a new soap?
- Are you stressed about work?
- Have you started menstruating again?
- Are you eating a new, spicy food?
- Have you started to smoke?
Some of these involve odors that can
confuse your baby. They may make
your milk taste different and
unappealing. Sometimes a sick or
teething baby refuses to breastfeed.
When your baby feels miserable, not
even nursing takes the hurt away.
There are things you can do to help your baby get back to breastfeeding.
Rule out a medical reason for the nursing break. If you can identify
something that your baby dislikes, try to change the product or behavior. If
you can’t identify the cause, try giving your baby more attention. Change
your nursing position. Offer to nurse when your baby is relaxed or drowsy.
Take some deep breaths before you nurse. Be patient. Most babies will
return to their regular routine within a few days.
While your baby is on a nursing break, express your breast milk according
to her old nursing routine. This will help prevent uncomfortably full
breasts. It will also help maintain your milk supply. Offer your baby breast
milk from a cup until she is ready to return to nursing. Milk from a cup
will not satisfy her need to suck. This may encourage your baby to return to nursing more quickly.
You can express milk with a mechanical breast pump or your hands. It is
easiest to learn to do this from a lactation specialist. Check with your doctor
to get the name of someone who can help. As you learn, be patient with
yourself. Remember breast milk is the best food you can give your baby.
To learn more about breastfeeding, you may want to contact your local
health department, WIC clinic, hospital, La Leche League or doctor. You
can call La Leche League at 1-800-LALECHE or visit their Web site at
This content has been provided freely by CMC. Click Healthy Start, Grow Smart—Your-Ten-Month-Old for your free download. Click GreatDad Free Ebook to download the entire Health Start, Grow Smart series.
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