Nursing Strike Help Needed

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-11-2012
Nursing Strike Help Needed
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 3:29pm

My baby is 7.5 months. He had been happily nursing until 4 days ago. That day he had been biting me all day. That night, after I yelled when he bit me, he has refused to nurse. He screams and arches his back if he even comes near the breast. At first he would cry just being with me, now he will be with me but no breast. I have been giving him expressed milk via bottle, but in the nursing position (which he screams in until he has the bottle in his mouth). He is on solids 3x day as well. I don't know what to do. He is showing no interest whatsoever in the breast and just screams and screams. He is however biting the bottle and feeding spoon with everything he's worth. He has 6 teeth currently. He does not take night feedings, and doesn't really cuddle. 

Is there hope that with persistence and patience that he will return to the breast? I don't know how long I can keep up exclusively pumping. This hurts me so much. Please let me know what I can do that will help. 

Thank you,


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 7:48pm

I’m so sorry. I know it’s distressing when a baby goes on a nursing strike. You’re doing everything right. Definitely keep up with the pumping to maintain supply.

Talk to your baby’s doctor about things you can do to help with the teething pain.

Also, I might try to stop him every time he bites the bottle nipple only b/c you don’t want him to get in the habit of biting while drinking and sucking. Find things that are ok for him to bite and that he likes to bite and keep them handy to offer when he bites the bottle.

If he accepts the bottle while in the breastfeeding position try to see if you can progress to doing it with your breast exposed, holding him against your bare breast as he drinks. Maybe you can expose your breast partway through the bottle feeding. If he gets comfortable with that see if you can then offer some of the bottle and then switch over to the breast.

Some moms have had success ending a nursing strike by breastfeeding when the baby is asleep. You can do that either by letting him go to sleep as usual and then trying to nurse, or try to anticipate before he wakes up and nurse then.

Other moms have had luck with just sitting on the floor naked from the waist up and allowing the baby to play in the same area. Some babies will approach the breast to nurse in that situation. Or similarly moms will take a bath with the baby and see if they can encourage nursing at that time.

Definitely keep pumping, take a gentle approach and try to hang in there. I’ve seen many moms get past a nursing strike and continue breastfeeding happily.

If he does start nursing again, keep your finger ready to take him off super quickly if he starts to bite and have the chew toys ready.

Keep us posted and be sure to get back and let us know what worked for you b/c that’s how we pick up new tips.


Kathy Kuhn IBCLC

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte    

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-11-2012
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 8:31pm

Thank you so very much for replying so quickly!! I am going to copy and paste your response where it's accessible every day and am going to try all of your suggestions for sure. I will update, whether the news is good or bad. I really appreciate it!