Nursing Strike, continued

Thursday, January 31, 2008

This post contains the functional details of the breast. If you're shy - quit reading.

Sofia's Nursing Strike was getting better. And then it got worse late yesterday. I went to feed her at around 5pm, and as she began to draw the milk down it started to come out FAST. She choked on a Niagara-Falls-amount of milk and refused to eat after that. She was screaming for a good while after that, also. This kind of crying is enough to break any parent's heart (i.e., full out red-faced, shrieking, gasping for air...).

This is not the first time it has happened. In fact, almost everytime she has tried to nurse over the last two weeks it has been like this. Sometimes if she pulls off, milk actually sprays. (Yup, pretty sexy stuff.) This seems to be a cause of the Nursing Strike.

This problem seems to relate to the mother's abundant milk supply. I believe the baby probably wasn't not latching on well from the beginning... Many mothers say they and their babies had problems with an "Overactive letdown reflex." Their babies would go to the breast, and when the letdown occurred, the baby would sputter, choke and sometimes pull off the breast, crying from getting milk too quickly. This problem of he overactive letdown reflect then seems to get better for a few weeks, and then boom, the baby is on strike (Newman, 172).

So, she got set back a bit. I hope that today will be better.

Anyway, here are a few things I've figured out to help get the baby as much as possible during this time.

  • Be careful about the amount of pressure you're applying for compression. In holding the breast to feed the baby, you're instructed to gently squeeze the breast to encourage milk flow. If you've got the "overactive letdown reflex", you really don't need to help this. So, really pay attention and listen to the 'gulps' that your baby is making. If your baby is starting to get too much with each gulp, you can actually hear this and prevent her from starting to choke.

  • If your baby is crying/screaming and you really feel like you need to make sure she gets something, try putting your pinky finger to rest on her tongue. She may take to sucking it. If so, quickly swap out the finger for your nipple. I've gotten Sofia to successfully feed for at least a little bit using this 'technique'. (I should call this the "SIKE!" technique).

  • To try to correct the overactive letdown reflex, try using a different position for the baby. I've found that instead of using the "cross cradle" hold (which is the most common to begin with), I've used the "football hold" on my, more guilty, left breast. I have found that she has had less trouble drinking this way.

  • Dr. Newman recommends trying to feed the baby while she is more drowsy. Coming out of is the best time to try to feed her. During this Nursing Strike time, I've found that she fights me way more when she is fully awake. So, try to catch her as she is just waking.

  • Doing the above, I've managed to at least get 8 to 10 minutes to feeding time into Sofia. My mother saw her after not seeing her for 2 days and exclaimed that she had gained weight. So, perhaps she is getting what she needs still. But, I'll still be happier when she's over this.


    1. These blogs are GREAT. Love it. Thanks for blogging your life for us to read :)
      I read some of Karen Cheung's blogs. Ok. She's officially awesome.

    2. hey beka -

      it's nice to know that someone is reading this stuff! :-) anyway, i guess i shouldn't be too concerned about Sofia's lack of interest in eating. i just weighed her and somehow she still managed to gain two pounds! go figure!

    3. Kathy you're doing a great job. I always seemed to have some issue when it came to nursing with the girls-each time. Anyway, I remember someone once told me that "she will eventually have to eat". I found a little comfort in that. No matter what the problem was she will have to come back to the boob and she did! I also found a nursing group to be helpful or a calling a nurse from the healthcare unit but it sounds like Sofia is back on a roll.

      p.s- i am (and was) reading your blogs and will comment more now that I know how to sign in again -it helps that i'm blogging again and can use that address.


    Hey, thanks for leaving a comment.