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Baby Weaning

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Why Does My Baby Have a Milk Strike?

As a mother, you will probably start feeling worried upon noticing that your baby no longer consumes milk as he normally does. Well, it’s not a cause of alarm as this can be completely normal, especially at about four months. A milk strike refers to a period of time where a baby who has been fed well and suddenly refused to have milk, irrespective of whether they are breast or bottle-fed.

This is why you are expected to regularly monitor your baby’s intake so you can know when they go on a milk strike. Other clues of a milk strike are when your baby refuses to nurse, but yet seems unhappy and fuzzy. Some parents may confuse a milk strike as a sign that the baby is ready for weaning, which is unlikely as babies rarely self-wean before they turn two.

Babies rarely go on a milk strike automatically. They often begin by gradually reducing the frequency and duration of nursing. Although a milk strike can be totally normal, here are the possible causes;

  1.     Teething

Some babies feel unwell when they are teething and this can cause them to lose appetite. Besides, babies can also experience sore gums during teething which can cause them discomfort while nursing. Some babies will rather stay away from nursing until the soreness is gone.

  1.     Low milk supply

Low and slow milk supply is another reason babies go on a milk strike. This is why it is imperative for mothers to always check their breasts to see if they are producing enough milk. The frustrations that come with putting efforts to suck but getting very little in return is enough to send babies on a milk strike. Similarly, the wrong size teat for bottled-fed babies is enough to frustrate them into a milk strike.

  1.     Poor feeding positions

A poor feeding position can keep your baby so uncomfortable to the extent that he starts rejecting milk. This is why it’s of the utmost importance to make adjustments to your baby’s nursing positions as they grow bigger. Certain positions may get uncomfortable for your baby with time and he may choose to express his dissatisfaction by rejecting the breast.

  1.     Changes in the taste of milk

Changes in your diet, coupled with hormonal changes may result in changes to the taste of breast milk. When this happens, some babies may decide to go on milk-strike because they are either not familiar with the new taste or they don’t like it at all. A formula bottle-fed baby may also go on a milk strike if you decide to switch to another brand of formula.

  1.     Illness

Although unlikely, a milk strike can be an indication that your baby is not feeling well. Just like with adults, babies also lose appetite when they are sick. Therefore, parents are advised to have close monitoring on their baby’s intake and consult with a paediatrician if your baby doesn’t get better after a few days.

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