Nursing Strike and Baby Negotiations

So around four and a half months or maybe just four,  the babe decided to go on a nursing strike. When I rushed back from work, ready to nurse him, he would greet me with the biggest smile but any sign of nursing would make him cry with all his force. His little body would arch up on the nursing cushion, his head slipping out from the top, his hands flailing. He would go back to my mom, with whom he spent the day or my husband.

My road to nursing had been arduous, but now I had been just settling into a confident feeling about it. And I had also gone back to work, so this was a valuable connection for me to the babe on weekends and when I rushed home ( I want to say even the pumping was good, but it wasnt really). Anyway, the babe got expressed milk in a bottle during the day. And I believe he started loving the bottle. I also feel now, knowing him more as he grew older, that he missed me terribly. This was his way of telling me.

At work the first day after he started it, I couldn’t concentrate. I was feeling so guilty and kept feeling I would quit. But I had to work, and thats why I had gone back. But I felt my little wordless babe was using all he could to tell me to stay home. I expressed milk six times a day as he refused to nurse and went about work mechanically, my mind far away sittng on my soft bead with my baby nursing peacefully. And so it went on. I mentioned this to a coworker and she looked at me, piercing eyes filled with sympathy ‘That’s hard’ she said and that understanding calmed and helped me. I decided I wouldnt express milk any more at home. I would try to solve it with my son.  So I went home, and while driving back told my mom to give him some of the extra expressed milk so that he wasnt hungry. Then when I reached I played with him, and gave him his massage and loved him. And then held him close. He snuggled peacefully. Now, I thought. But at the first suggestion of nursing, he was back to crying and pushing me away. Around 7, my husband tried to make him sleep. One of the books I had said that sleepiness helped with nursing strikes. My husband walked around the room singing to him while I sat on my bed with the pillow waiting. Then he brought him close and gently put him down. Instinctively he turned to his right and began nursing. As if nothing had happened.

This worked the next morning as well. And the next day. So now we are in denial, I thought. Do you know you are still drinking from me, my little son? I didnt like that fact that he would only nurse when asleep, but hey, it beats pumping! We scheduled all the feedings around naps. It reduced my free time severely, as I was nursing when he was sleeping.  And so it went on for a full two or two and a half months.

I dont know at what point he withdrew his objections. I do know that by 8 or 9 months he was back to liking to nurse. I dont know why he ever did that. Do you?

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