Bayo Ajibola

When your baby won't breastfeed

Breastfeeding connects a mother to her child in a way that only she can. When a baby gets fussy and refuses to breastfeed it can actually be devastating on the mother. It could make you feel like your baby is rejecting you as a mother and maybe doesn’t even like you that much.

It happens sometimes and it doesn’t mean that your baby doesn’t like you as much as she used to.  It could be an indication of another problem altogether especially if your baby usually feeds well and without much trouble. The reasons vary between you, the environment and the baby herself.

The baby

  •           Something could be wrong with the baby. She could probably have a bout of thrush or an ear infection that can cause some pain.
  •          She could have a problem latching on properly such that she doesn’t get enough milk in her mouth.
  •          It could be a stuffy nose that makes breathing difficult while suckling.
  •          The baby could just be impatient especially if your milk is flowing a little slowly.


  •          Hormonal changes like when you begin your periods (or get pregnant again!) affect the taste of the milk.
  •          The things you eat affect the taste of your breast milk especially if they have a strong flavor. Go slow on the spicy and strong flavor foods for a while until you find out what the baby is comfortable with in his milk. You can go back after the baby is weaned.
  •          Did you change your perfume or shower gel? The baby knows what you smell like everyday and alteringanything could irritate her. Check on it and correct it because anything that affects the baby’s feeding is bound to affect you.

What to Do

You will need a little more patience with the baby as she sorts out her issues. In the meantime, you can express some milk to ensure that she remains fed and to keep your supply flowing. It will also keep your breasts from getting engorged due to unused milk.

Keep trying to give the baby the boob. You can wait for when she is very hungry to try or when she is very sleepy like just before bed or immediately she wakes up. You can also move to a quiet room with dim lights to help her relax a little. It may take a little while and more wailing but it will eventually pass. If she completely refuses she will be fine so you can relax.

Bayo Ajibola

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