Breast refusal: Baby refuses breast after business trip

I am a working mom and have four month old who is still nursing. I recently returned from a four day business trip Since coming home my baby prefers the bottle to my breast. He gets very fussy if when I try to nurse him. I generally try to follow his lead and read his cues but I don't want to "give in." What can I do?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Your baby may just be protesting. Sometimes after a separation from mom, babies go through a nursing strike. By the time you receive this letter he may already be happily back to the breast.

If your baby is still refusing to nurse, there are several things you might want to try. Try breastfeeding him before he gets too hungry. If giving him a few sips from a bottle helps to get him back to the breast, allow him take the edge off his hunger in this way.

Babies who are drowsy often accept the breast easily and nurse well. You could try feeding him more often during the evening, and even pull him in bed with you for some nighttime feeds. Skin-to-skin contact, with lots of holding, loving and cuddling often works wonders at getting a baby back to the breast. Be patient. Babies of this age do not wean spontaneously.

If you are unable to get your little on right back to the breast, it is a good idea to express your milk during that time to help keep your supply intact, and to keep your breasts comfortable. Most nursing strikes last from a few days toa couple of weeks at the longest. Hoping your baby is already back at the breast!

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