Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nursing Strike

On Sunday, Ethan fussed and cried in the late afternoon when he was hungry.  And refused to nurse.  Even though he was hungry.  

I was concerned, but it had happened once or twice before, where he just wouldn't latch and be patient enough.  And it wasn't a big deal before. So we gave him a bottle.  He nursed fine later in the evening, overnight, and in the morning.

Last night, Monday night, it happened again.  I came home from work, we played, and he showed hunger cues.  So I got ready to nurse him - like I have over 900 times before - and he SCREAMED.  Pushed.  Grabbed.  Arched.  Cried and kicked.  So we gave him a bottle.

Both times I tried to console and reintroduce nursing when he was calmer, multiple times.  Nada.

Then, during our bedtime routine, he started down this path again.  He wasn't super hungry and was acting really tired, so I decided just to put him down, and then try to feed him again when he was sleepy / asleep.  It worked.  So did all the overnight and morning feedings, again in the sleepy state.

I did a ton of reading about nursing strikes last night.  I was really, really, really upset.  Nursing has been such a struggle, but it has been such a complete joy when it is going well.  I am not ready to stop.  I can't believe he is either - babies don't wean out of the blue, this early.  

He is just growing, and changing.  Like he should - and like I should too.  

From my reading I found - 

1.  This is a temporary thing.  It is not calling into question - "Am I good mom?".  Or "Does he still love me like he used to before I went back to work?".  Or "Will I be able to do this parenting for the long haul?".

2.  We need to be patient with each other.  I've never been a nursing mommy before, and he's never been a 5-1/2 month old baby before.  We are in it together.

3.  I am not alone.  This happens to a lot of mother-baby dyads.  And we will get through it.  

4.  There are specific things I can do to try to encourage him to nurse, but ultimately, he will be loved, fed, and taken care of, and that is most important.

5.  My feelings of apprehension, inadequacy, guilt, fear, sadness are all normal.  Validating my feelings is huge.  (There is a good life-lesson for me in this one as well.)

Wish us luck today.  I'm hoping this is temporary, but we will work through it no matter what.

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