9 Mth Old Will Not Breastfeed Anymore

Updated on July 20, 2008
L.M. asks from Indianola, IA
19 answers

I have a soon to be 9 mth old on the 24th of this month. He has only been breastfeed. He has been eating baby food now for 4 months. He has been teething and has 4 bottom teeth and is getting his two top teeth now. He had tubes put in his ears June 12th and had his first infection already last week. We had to go back to the Ent to get some of the infection suctioned out. He started bitting a lot last week also while we were breastfeeding. I would firmly say no. Now for the last three days he will not breastfeed anymore. I have been pumping and he takes a little here and there out of a sippy cup. I have done some reading and have found that some babies wean themselves?? I am not ready to give up. I keep offering him the breast at all times throughout the day. Has anyone experiened this or have any advice? I know he is not getting his full day of milk. Is there anything I can add to milk in a sippy cup to get him more interested? For the most part he is still eating his solid baby foods, but occasionally he will cry during the middle of his feeding. Thanks for any help.

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So What Happened?

First of all let me thank all you ladies for your WONDERFUL advice and support. This site has truely been amazing. It has helped me out so much. My little guy finally started to latch back. He seems to be interested again and we have breastfeed all morning!! I just keep offering the breast and he finally agreed! I took him to the doc. today and he says his ears have cleared up. Thanks to all of you.

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

It sounds like it's a combination of his teeth and ears bothering him, and him weaning himself.

Are you giving him baby Tylenol for the pain?

He may just be ready to decrease his milk intake, given the fact that he won't drink out of the sippy cup. You could try just a regular cup, too.

More Answers


answers from Bismarck on

Hi L.,

I just wanted to let you know that my 9 month old weaned himself as well. In his case, he was just too busy to sit there and nurse. I would try to nurse him and he would just act like he wanted to get up and run around and was constantly wondering what everybody else in the house was doing. You know, I think he came back once to try to nurse a few days later and I just No buddy you gave that up and he was soooo fine with that.
Each child is so different - my daughter I nursed her until she was two.

Good Luck and hope this helps.



answers from Minneapolis on

Dont give up just yet, yes some children self ween, but some babies/children give up for a little while then go back to it ...

The biting phase is HARD. Take baby off then (if you can, as sometimes mentally you cant) put baby back.

As baby is also having food (water?) then it is not that despatarate to get baby back on ... however just keep offering and see if he comes back ... but try to mentally prepare yourself that it may unfortuantely be comming to an end ... very very good luck and hope it is not the end and just a little glitch ...



answers from Minneapolis on

I don't have experience with the ear infections or having tubes put in, but nevertheless, my baby had a couple spells of nursing strikes - once around 6 months, and another around 8 or 9 months. My best advice to you is to keep plugging along. Try not to get frustrated - follow your baby's lead, and keep offering the breast. At some point, he should come back to it. My very wise ECFE teacher taught us that your job as a parent is to offer your child nutritious options for eating (breastfeeding included), and your child's job is to decide what and how much they want to eat. Once I really got that in my head, I was able to relax about what she ate or drank, and how much.

Also, somebody else mentioned giving the baby a lovey while they nursed. I did that, and it totally helped! Now she doesn't nurse without it (perhaps I created a monster?!) But she knows as soon as I grab her bunny it's time to nurse. I hope this helps! Good luck!




answers from Duluth on

he might just be distracted by some growth or developmental stage he passed through, or he might actually have some ear pain. if he is truly hungry and cant seem to figure out how to eat, then i would go to your doctor and see if theres some issue with the tubes. poor kid.

you could try finding a lactation consultant at your hospitol...

another EXCELLENT resource for breastfeeding is the le leche league. they have MUCH information for breastfeeding moms, ESPECIALLY moms who want to keep breastfeeding! WAY TO GO MOM for wanting to continue! :D
www.llli.org is the website, search for your area, or a town close to you for a group. they are fantastic! :D

im sorry i cant help more. i hope you find someone to physically help you out and see if its a positional thing... or something.



answers from Minneapolis on

My mom told me that my sister went on a nursing strike while she was teething. He probably really isn't ready to wean but is maybe just really uncomfortable. Not sure how to help you with that part. Contact a lactation consultant or le leche leage about nursing srikes.


answers from Minneapolis on

Its a nursing strike, babies don't wean themselves. They have nursing strikes that moms think is the baby weaning so they stop and call it weaning when its not. Nursing strikes can 'strike' at any time, and can last from a few hours to a few weeks.

Sounds like he's had a rough go of it these last few weeks with the tubes and infections. go to www.kellymom.com and search 'nursing strike' and 'getting baby back to the breast' for alot of helpful information.

Keep at it. Nurse first thing in the AM, and when he's drowsy like before nap and bedtime, and upon waking after naptime. Make sure the room is quiet, and dark. Look into some nursing beads so he has some entertainment... he'll eat better if he's fidgeting with something. Get him a blankie or lovey to snuggle with while nursing.

Again its a nursing strike, and it will pass. You have to keep offering and he will come back.



answers from Duluth on

My son weaned himself at 10 months after a bout of the stomach flu and several biting incidents. He was ok until I got the flu & had to keep interupting his nursing to be sick. Then he bit a few times, hard, I yelped and that startled him enough that he cried & would cry every time I tried to nurse him after that. It was heart breaking. Neither of us were truely ready to stop but he was tramatized enough by the three problems, one right after the other that he was no longer happy nursing. We kept trying but he never went back to nursing.

He already took a bottle when I was at work so we had to swtich 100% to pumping & the bottle, then suppliment with formula when my milk started to dwindle.

You may want to try a bottle, he may still want to suck even if he is not nursing. He may respond better to this than the sippy cup.

I also would add breast milk instead of water to his food when I made it. That way I knew he was getting as much breast milk as possible.

Good luck


answers from Omaha on

You pretty much have to go at your litty guys pace. He may be a little unnerved that he can't bite you since you say no firmly. So perhaps he's decided that he'd rather not nurse if he can't bite. Or he may be confused as to exactly what you are saying no so firmly to. You mentioned that you are not ready to give up. It may not be up to you. You can always pump and put your milk in a bottle or sippy so he can get the nutrients, but some babies just decide for themselves that they really don't want to nurse. You dont' want to fight him on it cause it will most likely stress him out. But I understand the strong urge to want to nurse. When I nursed it was very comforting for me and a wondeful bonding experience. I was lucky enough to nurse for a year. One day she just wouldn't have it. Literaly glared at me. I tried again and she hit my boob. Yes I was mortified but what could I do? I just put it in the bottle and let it go.

Good Luck!



answers from Milwaukee on

Both of my children definatly weaned themselives! They just wouldn't hold still whil I breastfed and kept turning their head.. .. I greadually just stop breastfeeding (you can still pump if you want!) They were happier sitting up holding their own bottle in their high chair.
When they were done, they were DONE!

E. Beaumont
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answers from Minneapolis on


If you are not ready, I'd say keep trying, it is probably a phase. My son went through that at about that age. It was frustrating, but we made it through and he nursed until he was about 16 months. Some babies go through nursing strikes. I'd contact your local La Leche League and see if you can get someone to talk about nursing strikes.

Something that worked for me during that phase was to rock him until he was nearly asleep, and then slip him my breast after he was cozy and relaxed.

Some people said I was nutty for trying so hard, but I really wanted to nurse until a year (and beyond) for various reasons.

It could go away once his teeth come in.

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

What I was told by a lactaction consultant at the time: between 6-9 mos, babies often become so engaged in the world, so interested in what's going on around them, that they lose patience with looking at your chest for the time it takes to breastfeed. If you stick with it, he will most likely come back to it. That said, at almost 11 mos, my son basically got down off my lap and refused to come back, so I pumped for the last two months and gave him breast milk in a bottle - which he loved, he could sit in his high chair, look around, see the world, and still get the food he needed. (Incidentally, when I did finally make that move, I always gave him the bottle FIRST, then whatever solid food he was going to get, just as if I were breastfeeding.)

Since he's only 9 mos, I wouldn't give up yet. Be patient, and as long as he's peeing consistently so you know he's not dehydrated, he'll figure it out, and he won't starve in the process.

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Yes, some baby's do wean themselves. My daughter was fully weaned at 11 mo and she would have NOTHING to do with nursing anymore but would drink the milk. She just didn't want to lay there. The problem with them weaning themselves is that you begin to decrease your milk supply quicker and we worried about running out of breastmilk, which we did.

Also, the worry about the weaning early is that the baby still needs the iron and vitamins that the milk offers, until the baby can be introduced to cows milk, usually at 12 mo. We brought our daughter in for her 12 mo check-up early and they tested her blood to ensure that her iron was high enough to drink cows milk, which it was so we made the switch early. But, at 9 mo's, your little one probably isn't quite ready for the switch. You could offer the sippy cup. Perhaps your letdown isn't fast enough for him and he becomes impatient with waiting and gives up, like my daughter did. I'd continue to offer him the milk in some form, but if he clearly isn't getting enough, you could always supplement with formula. It's very sweet and most kids like it so much that once they get formula, they many times will not go back to breastmilk. It is however less filling though so the quantities will not match breastmilk to formula ratio. I've been told that it's approximately twice as much formula as the amount of breastmilk usually consumed.



answers from Fargo on

It sounds like a nursing strike to me mama, which a lot of mom's tend to think that baby is weaning, which really he probably isn't.

Here are a few links that may help you:

teething: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/teething.html

Help! My baby won't nurse! http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby/back-to-breast.html

Good luck!

ETA: to the other moms who's babies are so distracted, it stinks! We are right in the middle of that right now. The only way I can nurse my son is if we are laying in bed, otherwise he spends more time looking around than eating.



answers from Minneapolis on

I know you said that he started back up again, that is great! My son went decided at about 10 months that he was done and would just play and not nurse. It was very hard on me, I had planned on continuing for a while, and was not ready to quit. I continued trying to nurse until he was 13 months, but around that time my milk pretty much had dried up, so I had to accept that it was time to let go.

My son also had tubes, but not until he was 2. He had a bad ear infection, and while I was at the chiropractor one time, they asked how he was doing (he was with) and I told them I was thinking about bringing him back in because he didn't seem to be getting better. They asked if they could check (since he wasn't their patient), and looked in his ears and said it is still infected, but looks like it is healing. Then he asked me if he could give him an adjustment, and I should have learned from that, because the constant ear infections stopped completely for over 4 months. I didn't link it together until later, that was August of '05, his next ear infection wasn't until that December, and from then on he didn't go more than 2-3 days off antibiotics and finally got tubes in March. I thought the ear infections stopped because that same month I quit working at a daycare and became a nanny, and he wasn't in daycare anymore. Then I couldn't figure out why they started back up again so bad while he was still out of daycare. It wasn't until after the tubes that I realized the timing of the adjustments, and I am positive that was what helped. I wish I had continued to bring him in to get adjustments now. I would recommend it. Even once every month or 2 could make a huge difference, it stopped my sons infections for 4 months from just one time.
Another thing a lot of people don't know about is teething tablets- they are amazing! They are all natural, no side effects, and instead of numbing the pain, they releive the symptoms that come with it. I know of someone who's daughter got the whole bottle, and poison control said there was nothing to worry about. My sons daycare called them miracle tablets and recommended them to the other parents after I brough them for him. You can get them at Walgreens, and that may help keep him nursing while teething too.



answers from Davenport on

I don't know what constitutes a "nursing strike" but to me, if he's crying during nursing, it sounds like he's in pain. I think you have more of an uncomfortable baby than one who is striking. Also if he's biting you, his teeth hurt and he's trying to teethe on your breast. He's probably in so much ear and teeth pain that when he sucks it hurts. Obviously the tubes didn't help if he still got another ear infection after they were put in. Have you taken him to a chiropractor yet? There's nothing better for an ear infection than a good adjustment. I would try some natural remedies to ease his ear and teeth pain before you dismiss it as just not wanting to nurse anymore. Good luck to you.



answers from Sioux City on

I have an 8 month old who also quit breastfeeding cold turkey! It was more upsetting to me than it has been for him. Have you tried milk in a bottle?? That may help ease either the transition from breastfeeding to pumped milk or returning to the breast. I have heard of children who after a while of not breastfeeding will return to the breast. I would continue to offer it. However, be proud of yourself for breastfeeding for 9 months--what an accomplishment! This is also a time when they should be receiving more of their nutrition/calorie intake from regular foods as opposed to milk products.
A little about me: first time mom, OB nurse for 3+ years.



answers from Rapid City on

It is possible that he is weaning himself, but more likely, it's a nursing strike brought on by the ear infection and teething. They can both make nursing very uncomfortable for a baby. Keep pumping, and keep offering, and most likely, he'll be back on the breast in no time. A little tylenol might help things along.



answers from Duluth on

I've also heard some babies wean themselves, but my experience has also been that my children lessened nursing when their ears hurt and when they were teething. So...while your baby may be ready to be done, give it a little more time at least--find out if the teeth and the ears are causing the problems, too.

Next question: HELP! My 15 Month Old Is Rejecting My Breastfeeding Cold Turkey!