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Has your baby developed a preference for the bottle? Is he in a growth spurt and too frustrated to nurse? Is she teething and too miserable to latch?
Whatever the reason your baby is suddenly fighting you on nursing, there are a few ways to get that sweet little chunk of love back to the breast.
If baby is on a nursing strike and you’ve been bottle feeding, one important thing to consider is learning about paced feeding. Paced bottle feeding is a method of bottle feeding that mimics breastfeeding mechanics to reduce gassiness, chances of bottle preference, and overall contribute to an easy transition between bottle and breast.
Nursing an angry baby is never easy. We want to make sure nursing is a relaxing and enjoyable experience, rather than a fight to feed.
If baby takes bottles, try taking off the hunger edge by offering a little bit of milk in the bottle, then as baby calms down, offer the breast. A baby who loves the breast most days will typically go back to the breast if they’re nice and relaxed.
But what about a baby who doesn’t take or want a bottle or other alternative feeding method? (Which is absolutely okay, by the way!) You can’t take the edge off the same way as I mentioned before. That’s okay! There are other ways to relax a baby.
Sometimes you can try a new nursing position. Personally, collapsing into a side lying position almost always helps my six month old relax enough to focus on nursing when he’s fussy from teething.
Another favorite approach is a mama-baby bath. Baths are just so relaxing for both of you. Slip into a warm (not too warm, of course!) bath, and dip baby too. Both of my little bears always fussed a bit at first then relaxed into me and went searching for the breast on their own. The combination of bath time relaxation and skin to skin gets the oxytocin flowing, allowing for a relaxing bonding experience.
Of course breastfeeding isn’t one size fits all and you might have your own unique approach (which I’d LOVE for you to share by the way!).
You’ll notice with all three of these approaches the most important concept is to never force baby to the breast, but rather remain relaxed and calm while fostering a relaxing environment for baby.
Don’t forget to submit your breastfeeding questions for Little Bear Lactation’s Q&A video series!
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