We sometimes get questions sent privately to our Lactation Consultants in the Breastfeeding clinic. Today we are sharing a recent question and answer that was sent, just in case anyway else has a similar experience.
Question from Alice:
I am not sure if my seven month old might be weaning herself, she has a good feed in the morning about 7am if I keep it nice and quiet (no Dad around), she then refuses the breast until about 2ish despite me trying and will have a pretty good feed then.
I keep trying her all day but she refuses to latch. She might have a bit more again about 4pm and she has a big feed just before bed at around 7pm. Sometimes she refuses this as well! She wakes once at night and has a great feed for about 15-20mins.
She is now on three meals a day so maybe she does not want the breast anymore?
Any suggestions? She is probably getting four feeds in that time. Her meals are at:
7am – Breastfeed
7:30am – weetbix and banana
11:30am – fruit and yogurt
2pm – breast feed
4pm – might take a bit more breast milk
5pm- Dinner (vege and fish, chicken, meat etc)
7pm – final breast feed
She will wake over night for one more feed – this is her best one.
Response from Lactation Consultant; Simone Casey
Breast refusal can be stressful for the mum, as it can feel like your baby is rejecting you, but they are little individuals and you can’t force them to do anything they don’t like. Because breastmilk is your baby’s main source of nutrition for the first 12 months of her life, you may like to offer the breast before meals where possible, but if she refuses, she’s just letting you know she isn’t ready for it and you can only really follow her lead. Babies of this age are incredibly busy and interested in the world, and often feed better when there’s no distractions (like Dad or visitors!) around or in a dark room. Lying down to feed on the bed is a relaxing position to try for both of you. Having said that, all babies are different and some babies actually respond to quite the opposite, and need something stimulating to do to keep them at the breast longer, so wearing a necklace or scarf around your neck for your baby to play with may also work. Offering the breast as a comfort as well as food will also encourage her to seek the breast more during the day. Another great time to try a refusing baby is when she’s just woken up from a sleep when she’s still a bit drowsy. The Australian Breastfeeding Association have a fact sheet regarding the topic. Starting solids is an exciting time for babies, exploring and trying all these new foods, so she may regain more interest in the breast as time goes on and food isn’t such a novelty.
Remember, the only thing constant with babies is change so this all could be a phase that she moves through quickly. You are doing a great job providing breastmilk to your baby, well done!