If your baby is refusing to latch all of a sudden and you are experiencing a nursing strike, it can be a frustrating and challenging time for both you and your baby. Here are a few things you can try to help get your baby back to nursing:
- Offer lots of skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact can help your baby feel more comfortable and relaxed, which may help encourage them to nurse. Try holding your baby close to your skin, with their chest against yours, making sure the baby’s nose is touching the nipple and their chin is touching the breast/chest.
- Try nursing when your baby is hungry. Babies are often more willing to nurse when they are hungry, so try nursing when you know your baby is due for a feeding.
- Try nursing an asleep or drowsy baby. Catch the moment when your baby is just waking up or almost falling asleep as they are very relaxed then. Side-lying position can work best in such case.
- Try different positions. Experiment with different nursing positions to see which ones your baby is most comfortable with. Some positions that may be helpful include biological nursing, the koala hold, the cross-cradle hold, and the side-lying position.
- Try nursing while standing and in motion, holding the baby firmly very close to the breast/chest so they could latch themselves without you holding/shaping the breast/chest. Try out squats, bouncing from leg to leg, like dancing with your baby. Do NOT shake or move the baby, they must be aligned and firmly hold against your body.
- Try “bait & switch”. Get your baby into the nursing position then offer them a bottle for a few gulps and then quickly switch to the breast/chest. Alternatively, you may want to offer 1/3-1/2 of the bottle and then try latching your baby again.
- Use a lactation aid: If your baby is struggling to latch onto the breast/chest, a lactation aid, such as a supplemental nursing system, may be helpful. These devices can help your baby get more milk while nursing.
- Protect your supply. A nursing strike can last for quite some time and if you’re not pumping for 15-20 minutes on each side as often as your baby would nurse, you may encounter breast/chest engorgement followed by a milk supply decrease.
- Seek support: If you are struggling to get your baby back to nursing, it can be helpful to speak with a lactation consultant for guidance and support.
It is important to remember that nursing strikes are often temporary and can be resolved with patience and persistence. Try to stay calm and stay positive, and be open to trying different strategies to help your baby get back to nursing.