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Breastfeeding/baby refuses breast


I recently had a baby via c section and plan on breast feeding. I  successfully breast Fed my son for 9mos so I have the basics down for a baby who wants the breast but my daughter doesnt seem to want it. After she was born I offered the breast as soon as I was with her but because of anesthesia I couldn't move to get into a good position so I allowed the use of formula until I was able to sit and nurse her. when I was finally able I sat for a long while offering her the breast and even though she rooted around, when she would suck the nipple it was soon spit out. My colostrum looks fine to me so I continue to try. She started to turn jaundice and the Dr  said she would be required to be under the billi lights and be fed every 2 hours. He recommend that I use formula every other time in order to ensure that she was hydrated and her bowels were stimulated so she could poop the bilirubin out. I agreed and am ok with that decision. The problem with the breast is still the same though. She still refuses the breast after a couple of sucks. I live in a small town so access to a lac consultant isnt readily available.

Dear Mikala,

First, congratulations for wanting to give your daughter the same great start in life that you gave your son by breastfeeding her!

I'm sorry I didn't answer sooner -- I had some computer problems.

One thing you might try with your baby is to give her a small amount of formula -- just about an ounce or so -- before you begin to nurse her so that she is not desperately hungry and frustrated when she can't get hold of your nipple right away.

You might also try pumping your breast milk and feeding that to her via the bottle so she will get the benefits of your good milk. If you can rent a hospital-grade pump, this will be the easiest. Don't get frustrated yourself when you see that you get only a small amount. If you have not done this before, it will take a little time to get the milk flowing. Also, no pump is as efficient as a vigorously suckling baby.

Give both of these routines several weeks, and if you can't make any progress, remind yourself that the most important thing is a healthy baby and that a formula-fed happy baby is better than a frustrated baby and a frustrated mom.

Also,  if there is a La Leche League chapter near you, you might try contacting the leader. You can locate the closest one by going to

I'm attaching some suggestions from my book (see below). Maybe one of these will help.

Good luck!

Sally Wendkos Olds
Author, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING: Olds & Marks, 4th edition, September 2010, published by Workman Publishing, and available in most public libraries, bookstores & La Leche League chapters.
There are two kinds of breast refusal -- that by a newborn who does not even begin to nurse, and that by a baby who has been nursing well and then decides to go on strike and refuses to take the breast. In either case, you can almost always figure out why this is happening and help your baby nurse happily.

If your baby rejects the breast almost from birth, you might check the following possibilities:
  * She may be having a problem latching on. Check the way you're holding her, and experiment with other positions. If you are engorged, relieving that condition (see Box 15-1) may make it easier for her to take your breast.
  * Your baby may be "tongue-tied." Some infants have a tight frenulum. This is the stringy membrane that connects the lower part of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If it's too tight, the baby cannot extend his tongue far enough to take hold of the nipple. You may be able to tell yourself whether this is the problem; a lactation consultant can usually diagnose a short frenulum. Then you can ask your doctor to clip the frenulum, a quick procedure that can be performed in the doctor's office.
  * Some infants, right from birth, fight being held and fight being nursed. You're not doing anything wrong; you just have a baby whose personality makes it hard for him to settle into your arms and onto your breast. You need to experiment with ways to calm your baby and to find a position that he will accept. You also need to remember that your baby is not rejecting you and that you are not to blame. You may need to express your milk for a while and feed it to your baby by cup, dropper, or nursing supplementer, until he feels comfortable in the nursing situation. One mother finally got her baby to nurse by leaning over him and dangling her breast into his mouth.  


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Sally Wendkos Olds


What do you want to know about breastfeeding? I can tell you what`s good for the baby, what`s good for the mother -- and the father, how it`s related to a woman`s sexuality, how working moms can nurse, how to overcome obstacles, and lots more. As the author of THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING and author or coauthor of 8 other books and more than 200 articles about child and adult development, I can offer sound, sensible advice on breastfeeding, child care and family issues.


I nursed my 3 daughters and am the grandmother of 5 breastfed children. My book THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING (written in consultation with pediatrician Marvin S. Eiger, M.D.) was first published in 1972, and in 1999 came out in an updated 3rd Edition by Workman Publishing & Bantam Books. It is now a classic, with over 2 million copies in print. I am now revising this book for a fourth edition, consulting with pediatrician Laura M. Marks, M.D. This new edition will be published September 2009. I welcome any and all suggestions for the new edition. I coauthored college textbooks A CHILD'S WORLD: INFANCY THROUGH ADOLESCENCE, and HUMAN DEVELOPMENT; both are leading texts in their fields and have been read by 2 million students. I am the coauthor of HELPING YOUR CHILD FIND VALUES TO LIVE BY and RAISING A HYPERACTIVE CHILD, and author of THE WORKING PARENTS' SURVIVAL GUIDE & THE ETERNAL GARDEN: SEASONS OF OUR SEXUALITY. My newest book, A BALCONY IN NEPAL: GLIMPSES OF A HIMALAYAN VILLAGE, published in 2002, tells the story of the way of life in a remote village in Nepal, where all the women breastfeed! My book, SUPER GRANNY: COOL PROJECTS, ACTIVITIES, AND OTHER GREAT STUFF TO DO WITH YOUR GRANDKIDS, will be published March 2009. I speak often to professional, parent and general audiences and make many radio and TV appearances.

Credentials I received my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where I minored in Psychology, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude.

Other points of interest I have received national awards for my writing, and am a former president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. I am listed in the World Who's Who of Women, International Authors & Writers Who's Who, and Contemporary Authors, and am a member of several professional and civic organizations. I believe: that all parents are working parents; that parents employed outside the home need special support; that mothers' well-being is crucial to their children's welfare; and that the family is the best institution in the world and the one for which we are least prepared. My thrills come when parents or kids tell me they were helped by my writing or speaking or just understanding. To find out more about me, go to

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