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Is baby getting enough milk?

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  • 6-month-old has no interest in daytime nursing
  • Breast-fed Baby won't Take a Bottle
  • Nursing strike!

    6-month-old has no interest in daytime nursing

    Feb 1999

    My six month old (nearly 20lb) son now only likes to nurse at bedtime and in the middle of the night. He isn't really even interested in nursing first thing in the morning. He is on solids during the day while I'm at work - 2 oz. breast milk mixed with a fruit or vegie and some rice cereal. He has this a couple of times a day. My concern is that he isn't getting enough milk for a growing babys bones and development. Does anyone know how much milk he still needs at this point? In addition, my milk supply is beginning to diminish and at some point I may need to supplement with formula. Also, can anyone address dealing with the emotions (some sadness) that come with a baby having little interest in nursing? Thanks for any advice.


    There is a list of breastfeeding moms that I subscribe too that would be a wealth of information for you on problems w/ nursing, supply, etc. I found it very helpful with similar problems. I can't help much with your particular problems, especially without knowing more about the ircumstances that surround the refusal to nurse, but feel free to email me separately if you are not already subscribed to this list, and I will pass on theinformation. Ann
    To the Mom who wrote in "No Interest in Nursing" Please call Janaki Costello - she is an awesome lactation consultant and will surely be able to help. Her number is 525-1155. I've used her for help with many different issues related to breastfeeding and I think she's wonderful. Lisa
    I am in training to be a La Leche League leader and I'm a mother of a 10-month old, still-breastfeeding baby. The behavior you described is quite common for babies at that age. Developmentally, they are more aware of their surroundings and more active at this age-- usually what you'll see is a "I'm too distracted and there's too much going on for me to waste time by nursing" behavior. You could try nursing in a more quiet environment ("sheltered nursing"), in a darkened room with little to distract your baby. My daughter sometimes refused to nurse during the day, but I found that when I went to a quiet room and sang to her while she nursed, I was able to keep her focused on nursing, and she was quite content afterwards. Some days, she would only nurse while partially asleep- as she was drifting off into a nap, or awakening from one. At six months, babies still need the protein and other nutrients that breastmilk provides, though there isn't any set-in-stone amount. You might try going slower with solid foods-- don't force them. Many babies are exclusively breastfed for up to one year and thrive on only breastmilk. So, try these things: a) sheltered nursing, b) singing to your baby while nursing (a lot of moms find this works!), c) easing up on solids. In the mean time, you can pump your milk to keep up your supply. Keep at it-- it may just be a passing phase. My daughter still has weeks where she isn't that interested in nursing, and then the next week, she's back to nursing every three or four hours. You may be seeing what we call a "nursing strike." Perseverance and patience can get you through it. Keep in mind that most babies are not ready to wean from the breast until at least nine monthsold. Finally, my best advice to you is to contact the La Leche League leader in your area and attend some meetings. Many chapters offer nighttime meetings for working moms who can't attend uring the day, and chances are you'll meet other moms who have had similar experiences, who might help you deal with your feelings about weaning. I'm writing from Los Angeles, so I don't know who your area leader is. You can check out their website at lalecheleague.org for a listing or call 800-laleche. Good luck! Hailyn
    You are probably right that your baby needs more milk--the solids he's getting are "empty" starches... Maybe try cutting back on solids and see if he will then fill up on milk instead. Maybe have the caregiver give a bottle (of breast milk or formula) before each meal. As for the actual lack of interest in nursing, he may get more interested again in a few weeks. When my son was around 9 months I could barely get him to nurse except when there was nothing else to look at (in the middle of the night)! Then he got very attached to it again. So stick with it--maybe he is weaning himself and maybe not. You may be able to maintain night-time nursing for a long time--your breasts should adjust... Good luck! Deborah
    With both my babies their interest in nursing went way down when they were about 6 months. I was upset with my first and felt as if I were doing something wrong. When I finally gave into formula more than one time a day she was so happy to be getting enough milk without having to struggle for it my sadness quickly dissipated. She hung in there until she was 11 months, then at that time I was ready to let it end and so it did. With my second baby who was a great nurser I was so happy not to be struggeling I thought I was set to be nursing until she was two. But at 6 months her interest took a nose dive. The bottom line is you need to give your baby enough milk to keep them healthy; plenty of babies drink formula and grow up to be happy, healthy, loved babies. Nursing for 6 months is a great accomplishment. Pat your self on the back. Also, according to Penelope Leach, a baby needs 3 ounces of milk per every pound. Good luck. Teal
    My daughter went through the same thing when she started eating solid foods. She was so interested in solids and in looking around the room that she basically only nursed before going to sleep. For what it is worth, this turned out to be a passing phase. After a month or two she renewed her interest in nursing and now at nine months is nursing 4 or 5 times during the day again. I never had a problem getting my milk supply back up (and I have never had a copious milk supply). So don't give up hope yet...
    Theres a bunch of great books to look into. Nursing strikes happen. My daughter decided at that warm milk comes from mommies cold milk comes from bottles. so at day care when they heated her bottle she wouldnt take it. for the first few months she barely took 4 ounces a day at day care and they had wanted me to bring in 30+ a day! I was worried sick. As it turned out she made up for it in the night. and still wakes up around 5 am and latches on. When we wake up and get up around 7 I am empty. I pump during the day with a advent hand pump. and leave that milk in a bottle at the day care the next day. she now at 1 year drinks about 8 ounces a day at daycare. Is it a nipple issue, does she refuse a bottle at day care? May need a differnt shape color texture etc. As for yor milk supply pump to keep it going if you want to. The strike may pass when solids lose their novelty. -K Kimberly
    My son went through this a couple of times and I starved him. Meaning, I offered the breast only and temporarily stopped solids (as late as 10 months, for 2 days). Sounds cruel, but eventually, he knew what he had to do and we kept nursing for 16 months. Tell the day care provider not to feed the baby after a certain time (experiment with the time) so that the baby is hungry when you arrive. That's how we solved the problem on a couple of occasions. Plus, it may be a phase; so if you want to keep going, you should probably pump. That way, when s/he does come back to the breast, there will still be milk there. I suspect that the baby needs more milk or formula than what you describe, but I'm not sure--depends on how much nursing is going on at night. Either way, you should check with your doctor about how much breast milk/formula the baby needs. You might want to consider cutting the baby off at night. It is hard, but we did it and it makes the day-time feedings more predictable for both you and the baby. Good luck and if you want professional help, oth you and the baby. Good luck and if you want professional help, contact Janaki Costello, a certified lactation consultant (510)525-1155. She is amazing and knows everything and is super nice. laura beth
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