Too Soon!

Too Soon!


In the past week or so Ben has been refusing to nurse more and more often. I sit down at one of his usual times and he starts to scream at me as if affronted by the very suggestion. For a few days it seemed to focus more on the right side than on the left. He’d nurse on the left and then when I moved him to the other side he’d latch and release, latch and release as if very unhappy.

So I thought maybe it was a flow issue or some kind of preference. I started nursing him on the right side first and that seemed to resolve it. He was content to nurse for about his usual length of time so long as we started first on the right and then moved on the left.


But then there have been times like last night at bedtime he just flat out didn’t want to nurse at all., even though it was a time he’s always nursed. And yet he wouldn’t settle down for bed either. He screamed and reached for the door as soon as we went into the office where he sleeps. Finally, in desperation I offered him some cheese and raisins and water. He gobbled them up, still refused to nurse, but eventually did let me tuck him into his bed.

Then this morning when he first woke up I sat down to nurse him as usual. He screamed and screamed, tears streaming from his eyes. I got up and changed his diaper, walked with him from room to room, nothing calmed him until he saw the water Sophie was drinking. I gave him some water and he drank half the cup and then he grabbed an English muffin and devoured it.


I’m kind of heartbroken. I’m really not ready for him to be weaning. Not even a little bit. I know technically introducing solid foods is the start of weaning, he’s already been replacing milk calories and satisfaction with food.

Is that what this is, though? Is he making a decision to wean faster than I am comfortable with? Or should I be looking for some undiagnosed problem? Or is it possible this is just a temporary decision that food is more interesting and he’ll later go back to nursing as much as he was previously?


In the past couple of weeks he also become more…. well, I don’t know if articulate is exactly the word I’m looking for. He’s added a few new sounds and gestures but it’s more like he’s become better at defining in his own mind what it is that he wants. Instead of being vaguely upset and waiting to see if what I offer will satisfy that incoherent need it’s more like he’s formed an idea of what he wants and is unhappy until I can figure it out. So nursing isn’t what he wants and he won’t accept it as a substitute when what he’s really got his heart set on water and solid foods.


I’m sure that doesn’t mean that he’s done with nursing completely; but it does seem like we’ve gone to some new, different stage. And I don’t think I quite like it. He is definitely the most decisive and strong-willed of my children. He knows his own mind and won’t settle for anything else.

And no, I haven’t changed anything in my diet or habits that I can think of that might explain his disinterest.


I usually am frustrated by unsolicited advice; but this time I’m not just complaining or thinking out loud. I’m outright asking: Any of you more experienced or more knowledgeable moms out there have any ideas about what might be going on?


Photos: Ben eating beets.

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  • Betsy, I think I mentioned in the original post that I’d ruled out teething (silly me!) So of course everyone took my word for it.

    Leila, I actually am alternating Tylenol with ibuprofen. And I haven’t been worried about his dehydration because he has been sucking down large amounts of water. Ben taught himself to drink out of his sister’s straw cup that he found on the floor when he was about 6 months old and has been drinking water regularly ever since. I just usually make sure he nurses before I give him the cup.

    My plan did work. I woke at 5:30 and got Ben out of bed, still asleep. He latched on easily and nursed for a good 45 minutes before the girls got up and really woke him. When he did wake, he was in a very good mood, smiling and laughing. 

    At 8:30 or so I gave him some Tylenol and changed his diaper and played with him for a bit until he decided he was tired. I gave him his blankie and zipped him into his sleep sack, his usual nap cues. Then I banished the girls to their bedroom and we sat down and he actually did nurse to sleep!!!!!

    He was very tentative about latching on and seemed to be even more relieved than I was when it went smoothly. I wonder if part of the problem hasn’t been that with the teething pain he’s been wanting to bite on stuff and I’ve yelped a few times as he’s nipped me. I didn’t think there was a connection because he had kept nursing after those incidents; but maybe he was a bit gun shy and the pain was making him want to bite so bad he didn’t trust himself or me.

    Thanks again for all the advice and encouragement and prayers and sympathy. I’m hoping we’re over the hump and it’ll be smooth sailing now.

  • I’m so very sorry that you are going through this struggle right now. Hearing about both of your pain pains me. I think you’re doing such a wonderful job, Melanie, patiently trying to coax him to nurse. What a wonderful mother you are!

    Love to you.

  • glad you found the cause, but poor baby! It’s funny that through all of our suggestions i don’t think anyone mentioned teething. I don’t know about you you but it’s always the last thing that i think of, and i always say “of course! why didn’t i realize?”

    You’re doing so great. I understand the tears. I’ve cried over a crying baby many times. It’s nice to know that Ben will nurse when asleep too.

    If he’s like Claire, who also got most of her teeth in a bug rush, maybe this pain will come and go, and he’ll have some good days/hours between now and the teeth erupting.

    Hang in there. lots of hugs for you all!

  • Oh Melanie, I’m so sorry for the both of you. I don’t know how often, where or how he naps, but maybe you can get him to nurse each time he sleeps? And hopefully, like in the office, there will be some times during the day when he wants to nurse. Prayers for both of you!

  • Poor both of you!
    Teething is the pits. Will the Dr. let you give him ibuprofen? It would calm the inflammation, and unlike Tylenol, you can give more than the rec. dosage—a lot more. Never give more Tylenol, especially to a non-drinking baby, b/c even a little dehydration can lead to kidney/liver issues.

    Make sure you drink more than usual yourself, girl! If it were me, I’d be down and out with mastitis by now.

    You’re doing a great job!