What to do if my baby rejects the breast?

Breastfeeding is very important for any newborn. Mother's milk is a unique food that is specially designed to nourish the child. But what happens if your baby rejects the breast?

This is something that can happen to you and you shouldn't feel bad about it. There are some causes that you need to know to end the situation.

Why is breastfeeding so important? Because according to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEPED) it has multiple advantages. These include emotional well-being, reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum recovery.

When a baby rejects the breast all these advantages are put aside, because many mothers end up disappointed. Not knowing what is happening does not help. So let's try to figure this out.

What is the lactation strike or crisis?

The fact that a baby rejects its mother's breast is called strike or lactation crisis. But this term is only valid if it is kept for a long time.

As much as you offer your baby your breast and he is hungry, he still rejects it. We know it is very frustrating, but this reaction has its reason for being.

Have you returned to your work and spend less time with him? Have you ever been bitten on your nipple and jerked away or reacted with a loud cry? Have your teeth come out? These questions can be decisive.

What could be bothering the baby?

There are several things that you may not be aware of that bother a baby. These are the causes of your child rejecting the breast. Knowing them will bring you great relief.

At least you will know what may be happening to him! Later we will also give you some tips to solve it.

Many causes interfere with the breastfeeding process and knowing them allows you to plan a solution.

Environmental noise

It may seem like it doesn't matter, but to breastfeed your baby You should be in a quiet place without too much noise. The excess noise and people around cause the baby to reject the breast.

Nasal obstruction

Watching that the baby's nostrils are clear is important. If you can't breathe well you won't be able to suckle and this causes him to reject the breast, because he already knows what is going to happen. So use a children's nasal aspirator

Changes in routine

If you have started to work and this has meant a change in routines, the baby may react by rejecting the breast. It's like his way of complaining and protesting facing something he is not liking. The same can happen if you have recently moved.

Keep reading: 6 tips to combine work with motherhood


If your baby rejects the breast and none of the above matches the possible causes, see if you have changed your shampoo, body wash or cologne. Babies can reject new smells and this makes them not want to breastfeed.

Little milk

Another reason why the baby may be rejecting the breast is in the production of milk. The child will not be meeting their food needs and this can cause it to react with early weaning, as the AEPED correctly states.

Unpleasant previous experience

One last of the possible causes why your baby rejects the breast may be related to some unpleasant experience. A pain in the mouth at the time of nursing because the teeth were coming out or a scream from you because it has bitten you.

What can I try to break this crisis?

There are different ways to break out of this lactation strike or crisis. We cannot be sure that all of them will work for you, since each case is different. But why not give it a try? Here we leave you some options.

Don't push it

We are going to dedicate a section to this because it is important. Pressuring your baby to return to the breast is a mistake. Let him be the one to grab it again.

A good way to do this is by reinforcing skin-to-skin contact. In the bathtub or in bed, make that bond last as long as it has to last. It may be that with this simple gesture he ends up sucking again.

Discover: Skin to skin: an essential technique after childbirth

Use a baby carrier

Although the strollers are very comfortable, a baby carrier can be great to solve this situation. It will be close to your chest and if it is in contact with your skin better. If you get hungry, the power source will be nearby. Why don't you try it?

Choose a quiet environment

If the possible reason for the baby's rejection of the breast is noise or distractions, you can try a calmer environment. A room or area where there are not too many people and everything is calm. This may be the solution you needed.

Peace of mind when breastfeeding is key so that the connection is adequate and the child enjoys the space.

Take a different posture

It can be a good way to favor that your baby takes the breast without forcing him to adopt certain positions. For example, in a lateral position. Give it a try, as perhaps what doesn't convince you is the usual posture.

Offer your breast when you sleep

This is a great technique for your baby to breastfeed. They do it in an automatic way. When you are about to fall asleep you will find yourself calm and relaxed. Get next to him in a lateral position, skin to skin.

Don't let me go hungry

If your baby is hungry, he will be much more irritable and will be more likely to reject the breast. So we do not advise you to do this. The best? Offer it to him when he touches him, even if he doesn't want to.

If the baby rejects the breast there are ways to solve it

Remember never to force your baby to breastfeed and that it is important that you take into account all the above tips. Above all, skin-to-skin contact.

Newborns are very sensitive to any change in routine or schedule. In any case, do not hesitate to go to the pediatrician. Surely he knows your case better and can give you personalized recommendations.

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