After three of the worst nights we’ve endured since Hugo arrived, his nursing strike seems to be over.
It started because his mouth hurt after his fall, but even once he’d returned to eating normal food and drinking water happily from the Foogo, he did not want to breastfeed. Actually, that’s a gross understatement. He developed an aversion to breastfeeding so intense that I really thought he would wean suddenly and permanently.
He refused passionately on Thursday afternoon and evening. He refused flatly on Friday morning, when I had rather hoped he might give in as that morning feed is the one he is most eager for. He showed utter disdain for the very notion throughout the day on Friday and didn’t even consider it on Friday evening before bed.
Each attempt was met with tears and frustration, generally from both of us. He took a vast amount of effort to settle and getting him to sleep was a nightmare.
On Friday night, about 36 hours after his last breastfeed, I knew we were reaching a critical point. At 16 months (nearly) I figured he might decide not to bother going back to the breast, but I wasn’t ready to give up. I know he would never have weaned at that point had it not been for the fall.
So on Friday night I slept on a mattress next to his cot. I knew the best chance of getting him to nurse was to catch him when he was just stirring. At the first whimper, I brought him into bed with me. No go. He wouldn’t even face me.
Same thing the second time around – he turned over, snuggled in, and went back to sleep (previously unheard of).
The next few times he still adamantly opposed nursing but couldn’t settle himself either.
By 4am we were wandering around the house, both exhausted and out of ideas, while he cried and cried and cried.
Eventually we went back to his room and I sat on the floor in the dark with him cradled in my lap. He let me – and that was the first time he’d even agreed to be held in that position. About 15 minutes later I was able to latch him, but he did not suckle at all. Eventually he went back to sleep.
The next morning I was hopeful of trying him again as soon as he woke, but Hunter came barrelling in and he woke with a start and the opportunity was missed. He refused to nurse that morning, and before his sleep.
But that afternoon he latched again. And that evening he comfort nursed for a few seconds. And yesterday morning he took about half a normal feed.
By lunch time the boob monster was back. Yesterday afternoon he even came running across the playground, ignoring all sorts of exciting play equipment and children and fun to NIP for the first time in a long while.
Before all this happened, I thought I didn’t mind when he weaned, as long as it happened some time in the next year or 18 months. Now I realise that I don’t want it to happen any time in the next three to six months at least.
Meanwhile, he’s learned nothing at all from the fall. He’s taken two big tumbles since – the first one got him a badly grazed nose and the second busted his lip.