Ask Amma

Baby suddenly stopped nursing

In How on 27 October 2011 at 3:50 am

My 4 month old suddenly refuses to nurse. I put him to the breast and he screams … what should I do? I am worried about losing my already low supply.
– new mother in Goregaon.

A pause or “strike” in nursing is not uncommon. Kelly Mom, an essential reference for nursing moms, has a detailed page: Help! My Baby Won’t Nurse! To calm your worries about supply, can you pump while trying out ways to get past this phase?

Could it be that he is not comfortable in cradle position? Could you try nursing while carrying him upright on your hip? I used to do this with baby in the sling so that she could nurse as I walked around or did other things – this way she had interesting things to look at and did not have to sacrifice that for the sake of nursing. Is he gaining new mobility? If he is too busy to nurse while awake, you could try more nap-nursing and night-nursing.

Skin-to-skin contact also helps. If you can arrange some of the times while you are both asleep, or while he is in the sling, to keep your shirt open so that he can latch on by himself without waking all the way up it might facilitate more nursing.

As with many phases, of nursing or of parenting in general, by the time one finds a work-around, the phase itself passes.

  1. The last line is absolutely true Aravinda !!! I had this experience … My son suddenly refused to nurse when he was 4 months old…. no matter what he used cry as if some stranger held him… I just couldn’t take this… it was totally frustrating both physically and mentally… I tried to express and feed… by the time I could over come this.. my son was ready for solid food .. I took me some time to come out of this phase.. At times I felt I was a failure…. I tried to remind my self that he is an individual and I have to respect his choices… if he refuses to nurse I have to bear with it… most imp was to see to it that he gets the nourishment… It wasn’t easy but I continued to motivate my self to accept this fact….


    • Hi Swathi,
      Thanks so much for stopping by here and sharing your experience. It sounds like you went through a difficult time. Hope you are all doing well! I enjoyed your write-up on Picking and Stacking. “No matter how many toys you give him to play with, he always ends up in the kitchen, playing with all the pots and pans” So True!!


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