July 6, 2020

My Baby Is Refusing To Drink Breast Milk – Common Reasons & How To Act

There could be many factors why your baby is not drinking breast milk. But don’t worry as this is just a way for your baby to tell you that something is not right.

Whenever your baby is not interested in drinking breast milk, it may be excited to drink, but soon refuses or starts to cry. Sometimes it happens suddenly and sometimes it may happen gradually.

Reasons For Baby Refusing To Drink Breast Milk

Let’s a take a look at some of the most common causes for your baby refusing to drink breast milk:

1. Your Baby Is Feeling Pain

Some medical conditions like teething or cold sore can cause pain or discomfort in your baby’s mouth during breast feeding. Even in some cases of ear infection, your baby may feel pain while sucking milk. Certain feeding position can also discomfort your baby.

 2. Your Baby Is Sick

If your baby is having cold or stuffy nose, it can make breathing difficult for your baby when breast feeding.

3. Your Baby Is Stressed

Some factors like delay in feeding or over stimulation can make your baby stressed and it can get difficult to feed. It can also stress your baby is you have over reacted in case you were bitten during breast feeding. And sometimes even a distracted baby refuses to drink milk.

4. Change In Taste Of Milk

Your baby can also refuse to drink milk if it senses any change in the taste of the milk. Some of the reasons for change in milk taste can be due to the food you eat, your periods or if you are getting pregnant again. If you have been using a different soap, skin cream or deodorant, the change in smell can also make your baby to lose interesting in drinking milk.

5. Milk Supply Is Reduced

If you have been feeding formula or if your baby is using pacifier too much then it will result in reduction of milk supply. This is also a sign of pregnancy sometimes.

6. Your Breasts Are Clogged

If your baby has started to sleep longer at nights, then your breasts may feel full and it can result in them getting clogged. This can be normal and your breasts just need some time to adjust to your baby’s changing habits.

7. Not Feeding On Time

Your baby will feed better when it is hungry and ready to feed. You will know when your baby is hungry when it starts crying.

8. There Is No Skin Contact

Babies need to feel the skin of their mother to know that they are safe and secure. When there is no skin contact your baby might lose interest in breast feeding.

Keep in mind that if your baby is refusing to drink breast milk, it doesn’t mean that your baby is ready to wean (ready to leave breast feeding). Such refusals are only for a short time.

Solutions For Baby Refusing To Drink Breast Milk

If you baby is refusing to drink breast milk, don’t feel uncomfortable or even guilty or rejected. It’s not your fault.

You need to have patience during your baby’s change of habits. To prevent overfilling of breast milk when your baby is refusing to drink, you can pump the milk at the same schedule when you feed milk to your baby. You can the feed this milk with a spoon or bottle. Some other solutions if your baby refuses to drink milk are:

baby refusing to drink breast milk

1. Try To Feed Again

Encourage your baby to suck milk by bringing milk to your nipple. If your baby is feeling frustrated, then stop and try again after some time.

2. Try Changing Positions

If your baby is uncomfortable about the breast feeding position, then try to change the position and check if they feel better. If your baby is feeling congested, then try feeding them in an upright position.

3. Take Care Of Distractions

If you baby is refusing to drink milk because of distractions (which can usually happen during the first 3 to 6 months) you can try and feed your baby in a dark and quiet room where there are no distractions. You can also try sitting in an opposite direction from anything that is distracting the baby.

4. Cuddling Can Help

As I said earlier babies can lose interest in drinking milk if there is lack of skin contact, you can try increasing skin contact with your baby by cuddling. This can bring back your baby’s interest in drinking breast milk.

5. Deal With Teething Problems

If your baby is going through teething phase then rub your baby’s gums with your finger or a cool soft cloth to provide comfort. And if your baby bites during feeding, do not react strongly. You can simply break the milk suction by sliding your finger into your baby’s mouth.

6. Analyze Any Changes In Your Routine

Are you going through any stress? Are you taking any new medication? Have you started using a new soap or perfume? Are you pregnant again? Check for any changes in your usual routine that could be making your baby uncomfortable.

7. Unclog Your Breasts

If your breast has become full and clogged, then consider pressing the breast milk that will help in maintaining a good milk supply and also reduce the risk of clogging of your breasts.

8. Maintain Your Baby’s Feeding Schedule

Make sure to feed your baby whenever he or she wants. Your baby getting enough breast milk is what matters the most.

If everything else fails and it’s been few days since your baby started refusing to drink breast milk and you observe that your baby has very few wet diapers and you are worried about your baby, then consult your doctor immediately.

Did you face similar situation with your baby? How did you manage to make your baby drink milk again? If you have any tips on baby refusing to drink breast milk, share with our readers in the comment section below.


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