Freeman Medical Musings Blog

Is Baby Weaning, or is it a Nursing Strike?

Posted by Lorie Peterman, IBCLC, BS, on August 06, 2015

Most babies will breastfeed until 18 months to 2 years, if allowed to self-wean. There are a few developmental stages at 2 – 4 months and again at 8 – 10 months which where new parents might get the perception that baby doesn’t want to nurse anymore. Around 2 – 4 months, babies discover they are separate from their mother and their vision improves, allowing them to discover other things that can distract them during a feeding session. They are also awake for longer periods at a time. Babies have difficulty multitasking – nursing and watching what is going on around them at the same time. Another time of easy distractibility occurs at 8 – 10 months. Babies at this age may pull off the breast and re-latch several times during a feeding session. 

The breastfeeding session can be a challenge to keep baby at breast long enough to accomplish a feeding. Limiting the distractions can help. Try going to a dark quiet room to breastfeed or try breastfeeding baby when he or she is sleepier. If baby is “too busy” to nurse enough during the day, try offering the breast more often at night or during nap times for a while. Spending more time doing skin to skin exposure or wearing baby in a sling can also help “remind” baby to nurse more often. If baby pulls away, but does not unlatch, be ready to break suction with a finger to prevent damage to the nipple. 

I hope this advice will help you with this potentially frustrating period of breastfeeding so you can continue the nursing relationship until both of you are ready to wean.

For assistance with breastfeeding or questions feel free to contact the Freeman Lactation Office at 417.347.1067.