Top tips for getting baby back to breast during a nursing strike

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way for a mother to bond with her baby. However, challenges such as nursing strikes can arise, leaving both mother and baby feeling frustrated and disconnected.

Has your little one just suddenly started to refuse the breast? Out of nowhere your little one just won’t latch on!! Where once it was their favorite place to be, all of a sudden they arch away as if you are poisoning them!! Don’t fret.

There are lots of reasons for your baby to suddenly refusing the breast- either baby or mom is ill, pain, trauma or flow preference of the bottle.
I have worked with many parents in recent years who have experienced a nursing strike and I work tirelessly to find out why and what strategies we can implement to get the baby back onto the breast.

Every consultation is individual to that particular mother & baby so if you are having issues seek help from an IBCLC.

Understanding a Nursing Strike

A nursing strike occurs when a baby, who has been breastfeeding without issues, suddenly refuses to nurse. This can be a perplexing and emotional experience for mothers, as they may wonder if they’re doing something wrong or if their baby is rejecting them. It’s essential to understand that nursing strikes are often temporary and can be triggered by various factors.


The most important thing during a nursing strike is to protect your supply so there is loads of yummy breastmilk for baby when they return to the breast.

So what do you do; Here’s my top tips

Don’t force baby onto the breast

Often, out of panic our intuition tells us to get baby to feed no matter what. Forcing your baby to the breast when they are reluctant is only implanting a negative association with the breast. Yes offer the breast at every feed but don’t forcibly keep baby at the breast as they wil only get more upset and worsen the situation.

Watch your timing & environment

Babies often feed best in these situations when half asleep or dozing. Consider taking your little one in to a darkened room with little distraction and do some skin to skin. This often calms baby and will allow easy access to the breast but on their terms.

Switch Nursing Positions

Experiment with different nursing positions to find one that is comfortable for both you and your baby. A change in position might make breastfeeding more appealing.

Try some bath time

Take baby into the bath and recline back . Have baby skin to skin close to the breast. Using a face cloth pout the water on baby’s back to keep them warm. This process is often referred to as ‘rebirthing’ and can have very positive effects on nursing strikes. Its important to keep another adult close by to assist you should you need it!

Shake it up

Babies love movement and soft noise. Try offer the breast while using a rocking motion, walking around the room. Distraction can be your best friend. The soothing motion can often bring baby back to breast.

Babies will generally go back to the breast within a day or two, however if it persists contact a lactation consultant for specialist help.. You are not alone!

Overcoming a nursing strike requires patience, understanding, and persistence. By addressing potential causes, offering comfort, and creating a nurturing environment, you can strengthen the breastfeeding bond with your baby. Remember that seeking support from professionals is a sign of strength, and together, you and your baby can navigate through this challenging but temporary phase.


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