Nursing Strike: Getting to the Root of It

Nursing Strike: Getting to the Root of It

I’ve made the disclaimer several times in the past week that, no, I’m not pregnant even though I’m posting on this or that pregnancy related topic. Well, the joke’s on me.

Turns out I was too quick to make that denial.

I started suspecting last night. First there was Ben’s sudden refusal to nurse, which unlike the last time seemed not teething or biting related. Rather, he seemed mad about the taste of the milk. He’d latch on, get a mouthful and then pull off and scream, with the milk running down his chin.

Then, there was my moodiness. I snapped a couple of times at Dom. Over really, really silly stuff. I found myself on the verge of tears several times. Well, it’s probably just PMS. Man, I’d almost forgotten how crazy that can be! Oh and maybe it’s just the hormonal shift that’s making Ben so upset.

Well, there were hormones at the root of it all right. Just not the ones I was thinking of.

I hardly touched my dinner. Fish suddenly didn’t sound good at all. But it must have been that cookie I ate before dinner. Right?

But I’ve never got queasy with PMS and by bedtime I was feeling a little green.

I looked at my charts and a different explanation started to form in my head. Waking up in the middle of the night feeling overheated: check. Elevated temperatures: check. Excessive tiredness in the evenings of late: check.

One of the suggestions I discovered in reading about nursing strikes suggested that the shifting hormones of pregnancy can make the milk flavor change and babies might decide they don’t like the new taste.

So that’s my working theory: the problem is a flavor change in my milk caused by shifting hormones. I tried to do tonight what I did last time and rocked Ben to sleep and then tried to get him to latch on while asleep and, well,  he got a mouthful of milk and then grimaced and pulled away and started crying in his sleep and refused to latch on again.

So I’m wondering if this means he’s really and truly done or if I can gently convince him over time that the new flavor isn’t so bad. He’s a strong willed guy and if he decides that cheese and bread and strawberries are good enough for him and that nasty tasting milk isn’t worth it, I’m not sure I’ll be able to convince him otherwise. But I’d like to hear about any success stories with similar situations that anyone out there might know about.

I do remember Sophie having issues with nursing at around the time I found out I was pregnant with Ben. But it never went as far as a nursing strike. She was much younger, about seven months old, and eating almost no solids and her hunger led her to just deal with the taste issue. Ben, however, might just be a little milk snob (thanks, Kate, for that perfect description!) and not be interested in forging on with our nursing relationship.

*Yes, I did just bury the news that I’m pregnant in the middle of a blog entry about Ben’s nursing problems. I also announced my engagement to my sister by asking if she’d like to help me host a party. I’m subtle like that. I don’t know why; but being direct sometimes does not suit me at all.

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  • When my daughter’s kindergarten teacher became pregnant I bought a pair of booties as a little gift for Em to give her.  The teacher thanked me in the afternoon and told me that Em wanted her to swallow the booties so that the baby could put them on!

    Rose has always been one of my favourite names.

  • Naomi’s middle name is Rose smile. The older girls were terribly frustrated that we wouldn’t tell them her name before she was born, but we did take their ideas into account. They came up with a shortlist of three – Jessica, Madeleine and Naomi – and we were already thinking of Naomi, so that settled it. Poor Cherub … she would so love a baby :(. But somebody has to be the youngest!

  • Sharon,



    How sweet. I do like the name Naomi, too. It’s on my list of possibilities.

    Katherine and Scotch Meg,

    What was the error message you got? It seems that quite a few people couldn’t post comments yesterday.

    Oh and I love the baby doll story. I’m surprised Bella hasn’t advanced the name Gina, as that is her favorite doll. But perhaps she is too invested in the storyline of Gina as her little girl.

  • Congratulations!  I also couldn’t post yesterday…

    A funny naming story:  when my older daughter was six and we were expecting the baby who turned out to be my younger daughter, the older had a baby doll (the only one she ever liked).  She asked me what she should name the doll, and I, for once thinking the situation through, told her the name I wanted to give the new baby if a girl.  Later, my daughter began lobbying for that name if the baby were a sister.  When the baby was born, a girl, we named her that name.  To this day I think my older daughter believes that she chose her sister’s name (the doll has slipped out of memory).

  • Congratulations Melanie!!!  Another blessing for your wonderful family smile  And four is so much fun!!  Hope you feel better.  And my daughter was supposed to be named Margaret Rose, but when I delivered her, I got a slight panic attack at the thought that she might be my only girl, and felt I must include the name Mary somehow.  So she became Margaret Rosemary, and it suits her just right smile

  • Congratulations! And Rose is a wonderful name— all the Roses I know are sweet! (My 4 year old’s middle name is Rose…)

    My youngest, Maximilian, was named by his older siblings (6,4,2).  They all got together one afternoon and decided the new baby was a boy named Max.  I caved quickly, because Maximilian Kolbe is AWESOME.  My husband took a bit longer, but the kids prevailed.

    Max definitely fits his name, so I’m chalking the whole thing up to the wisdom of siblings…