The last three days have been awful, Flixster has been on a breastfeeding (nursing) strike. It’s been awful. Before the strike started we would feed each morning when he woke around 5am, then sometimes during the day if he asked for it by snuggling into me then often a quick feed in the later afternoon when he was tired, or if we were out and about and needed a little snack, a breastfeed would do the trick and relieve the immediate hunger.
Then all of a sudden he stopped feeding. It was like he’d never ever ever fed from me before. When I offered him the first morning he turned away. I offered again and he bit me hard and then just turned away again. He just wouldn’t feed, but I wasn’t that bothered as I thought I’d just feed him later in the day. But later came and he still wouldn’t feed. By now I just tried not to think about it, I thought the more I stressed about him not feeding the more he’d pick up on it.
As Flixster is now 14 months old my breasts never feel full anymore so I didn’t feel the need to express any milk off to comfort. If you were exclusively breastfeeding it would be advisable to express at normal feeding times if baby goes through a feeding strike so that the strike wouldn’t affect the supply and to avoid blocked ducts or even worse mastitis.
The next day came and went and still Flixster wouldn’t feed, he just kept refusing, turning away, trying to get away, even morning snuggles weren’t persuading him to feed. That was our special time together and now I couldn’t even offer him my milk.
By now I was worrying that this was the end of our journey, I wasn’t ready to stop feeding, inside I was crying. Desperately wishing I’d paid more attention to the last feed we had together, paid more attention to the way he looked at me. The way his tiny hand gently stroked me as I fed him. I’d missed it, I’d missed our last breastfeed together and now it was gone. The chapter was ending and I’d missed it.
By day three I told myself I had to start accepting that it was probably over. With a heavy heart I offered a feed again in the morning and again it was refused.
Today I went along to the breastfeeding group as normal, hoping against hope that if Flixster saw other babies feeding he might remember what to do, might remember our special snuggly morning cuddles. He didn’t, I offered at group and he refused, point-blank refused. I could have cried right there and then. The amazing lady who runs the group suggested I expressed a little milk off and tried to get it onto his lips. I gently hand expressed some milk and dropped it onto his mouth which wasn’t easy with him turning away. At first I don’t think he noticed, I did it again and he licked it off. All of a sudden I almost saw his brain click into action, he turned to me and I took the opportunity to get him into position to feed him. He latched on, I could have cried again. He was feeding, he was actually feeding from me. I hadn’t missed my last feed. I breathed it all in, I gazed at his face. I wanted to kiss his cheek (but couldn’t as I didn’t want him to unlatch!) All thanks to the amazing lady who runs the group I hope that the end hasn’t come and that we can carry on feeding. If it wasn’t for her advice right there and then at that moment then my journey may have taken a different turn.
Later in the day I managed to feed him again and I took a photograph, just in case it was my last ever feed, just in case I never ever breastfeed my baby again, I wanted to remember this very special occasion, from now on I won’t take his feeding for granted. I will be paying attention and enjoying every single feed and I make no apologies for posting my breastfeeding baby picture, he’s my baby and I am proud to still be feeding him. I won’t be aware when our last feed happens but just in case the next one is the last one I’ll be paying attention.