10 months old
Sudden loss of interest in breastfeeding
Women have a very wide range of feelings regarding breastfeeding, especially as the one-year mark nears. Some are anxious to have their body back to themselves, to finally pack away the pump and unlatch for good. Others are in the groove and happy to continue nursing for the nutritional and attachment benefits. Now that you’re a mere two months away from your baby’s first birthday, if you’re following the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations (which say, when possible, it’s best for babies to nurse for at least the full first year), you might be debating when you’re ready to wean. However, your baby might have his or her own agenda.
There are a lot of factors that can make a 10-month-old baby seem uninterested in your breasts – the very things that used to make their world go ’round:
- First of all, there’s just so much to do and see that it can be hard to keep your baby’s attention. From the garbage truck outside to the desire to practice crawling or walking, who has time to sit and nurse for that long?
- Perhaps your baby is filling up on too many solid foods and snacks
- If you’re just getting your menstrual period back, hormones might make your milk temporarily taste different.
- Of course it could always be teething, which is often in full-force by 10 months.
- At this age, a baby’s lack of interest in feeding is more likely a temporary “nursing strike” than a desire to stop breastfeeding. There are certain things you can do to keep her attention:
- Limit the distractions in a darkened, quiet room.
- Try other techniques, like nursing him or her in a baby sling while walking around. The movement might be enough to hold your little one’s attention.
- Offer the breast more frequently, for shorter sessions.
- It might be easier to nurse your baby when he or she is tired – although not too tired that your baby will simply fall asleep.
- If you can, pump during the feedings your baby doesn’t take from the breast so you don’t lose your supply.
- If you do decide to wean, you’ll have to switch to formula until your baby’s first birthday.
- In this case, try and keep a few breastfeeding sessions a day until you can slowly wean altogether. This will help prevent painful engorgement.
- Remember not to introduce cow’s milk until after your baby’s first birthday, or until your doctor gives the green light.
If you do decide to wean:
- Know that sudden weaning can lead to painful engorgement, clogged milk ducts and even infection – so take the process slowly, if possible.
- The best approach is to drop one feeding a day, and then wait a week or so to drop the next feeding. This will give your body a better chance to adjust to the change.
- If your baby is adamant on quitting the breast, try to continue pumping during the typical nursing sessions. This way you can still gradually reduce your milk supply while also pumping enough milk to feed your baby throughout the day (if he or she will take it).
- If you aren’t able to pump and weaning happens suddenly, hot compresses and a pain-reliever might be able to help.
- It’s also important to know that weaning can cause your hormones to be out of whack again – similar to pregnancy and the return of your postpartum period. While some women sail through unscathed, others experience menstrual-like mood swings and depression – more so for those saddened over the end of breastfeeding and, consequently, the end of infancy.