Mommies, does it feel like your baby is already acting up like a teenager being on a milk strike? Not to worry, as it is far from the case! Whether from breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, a baby being on a milk strike is completely normal. As a parent to a newborn, you probably regularly monitor your baby's milk intake. This makes it easy for you to notice when your baby is not drinking as much as you think he or she is supposed to. When your baby suddenly refuses milk by the breast or bottle, or if their nursing pattern suddenly changes, it is important to figure out what is happening and how to restore it as soon as possible as it is the only diet that your baby consumes. Credit: justsimplymom.com What Is A Milk Strike? So what exactly is a baby on a milk strike? As the name implies, it is defined as a period of time when a baby who has been nursing well suddenly refuses to have milk. This includes both babies who are breastfed and bottle-fed. This usually happens when they are around three months old and are more aware of their surrounding, not realising that they still need to feed! Credit: Freepik This is why babies who are entering a milk strike often refuse the breast or the bottle but seem unhappy and fussy from not nursing. There may be times when a baby would pull away from the breast or bottle because they are distracted, and not necessarily on a milk strike. A baby on a milk strike simply refuses to nurse for any duration. Some parents may also mistake a milk strike as a sign that their baby is ready to wean, but this is unlikely as babies rarely self-wean before the age of two, and this is especially true for breastfed babies. When they do decide to wean, they will usually gradually reduce the duration and frequency of nursing sessions rather than stop abruptly. What Are The Plausible Causes of A Milk Strike? 1. Baby Not Feeling Well As adults, we tend to lose our appetite to eat when we are not feeling well ourselves. The same can be applied to babies. It could be something as typical as a sore throat or congestion, or other serious illnesses that can make nursing or feeding very uncomfortable for the baby. 2. Baby Teething Just like not feeling well, a baby going through teething may also fall sick such as having a fever. On top of that, teething may also cause them to feel uncomfortable while nursing as they are experiencing sore gums. Therefore, pressure from nursing might steer them away from wanting to feed. Credit: Getty Images 3. Milk Supply For breastfed babies, it is possible that they may get frustrated if the mother's milk supply was low and the flow of milk was slow. On the flip side of that is there is an abundance of mother's milk and the flow is too fast for the baby to be comfortable with. Whereas for bottle-fed babies, the wrong size teat may cause the same problems. 4. Uncomfortable Position As your baby is getting bigger, perhaps the way he or she is positioned while feeding is no longer comfortable to them, and parents might not notice it. They may associate feeding with the position, and if they do not like it, they may reject the milk as well. 5. Change In The Taste of Milk Breastfed babies may also get frustrated if there is a change in the taste of milk due to hormonal or diet changes to the mother. Similarly, a bottle-fed baby would also feel the same if you have switched to a different brand of formula milk. Credit: Getty Images 6. Bad Experience While newborn babies have only lived for a few months, they are still affected by their surroundings. Any small bad experiences such as choking or accidental loud yelp from Mummy after a bite may cause the baby to associate the bad experience with feeding. They then tend to avoid it. What Can Parents Do About A Milk Strike? A baby on a milk strike can be very stressful for both mom and baby, so finding a solution to help get the baby back to feed immediately is necessary. Once you have determined the plausible cause of the milk strike, it is imperative to then ensure that your baby is fed. 1. Check if your baby is feeling under the weather. Many illnesses such as blocked nose, or even as subtle as an ear infection, may cause the baby to avoid milk. If you suspect your baby is not well, seek medical help immediately to confirm and treat it and then try to keep on feeding the baby. 2. \u00a0Change your diet. If you suspect your baby does not like the taste of your milk because you know you have made some changes in your diet lately, for example, you have started drinking coffee again, reduce your intake gradually if you are not able to remove it from your diet completely. 3. Pacify your baby's teething. If you noticed your baby has started teething, which could hamper your baby's feeding, try to give him or her a teether to soothe their gum. If your baby has started solids, you can try giving cold fruits too. 4. Offer small amounts of milk more frequently. If your baby is more distracted by his or her surroundings, you might be hard-pressed to get them to feed for longer durations. If this is the case, try to keep on offering milk, even just a little, to remind them that they still need to feed. Credit: Getty Images 5. Finally, encourage your baby to nurse. You can do so by dimming the lights in the room, get rid of any distractions, and lie skin to skin and offer your breast or the bottle. Try to stay relaxed and avoid any stress during nursing or bottle-feeding because the baby will be able to sense that. Also offer positive reinforcements for successful feeding. Eventually, your baby will pick up these cues and start nursing again. In the meantime, you may need to pump or hand express your milk if breastfeeding to maintain your milk production and avoid clogged milk ducts and infections. In no time at all, your baby will start feeding normally again with the right help.