Monday, July 7, 2014

Help! My Baby Won't Nurse in Public!

You know how I go on and on about how convenient breastfeeding is, and how you can do it anywhere, and you never have to worry about getting home to feed the baby, or running out of supplies while you're out, or needing to make a special trip to the store for formula or bottles?

Well, all of that is completely true, of course.

Unless you're my baby. Apparently.

Because MY baby refuses - REFUSES - to nurse anywhere but in bed. He WILL NOT NURSE anywhere but lying down in bed with me.

I mean this quite literally.

If he gets hungry while we're out of the house, I'm perfectly fine with sitting down to nurse him wherever we happen to be. After all, I have no problem nursing in public. I don't mind taking a few minutes to nurse him at...a restaurant, a friend's house, the park... But as soon as I get him into the cradle hold, he'll turn away from me and squirm. And if I have the audacity to actually offer the breast, he will scream bloody murder. People must think I'm insane. He screams and cries hysterically, like I'm torturing him! I'm not kidding! I'm not exaggerating! It's ridiculous!

I guess I got myself into this mess. We're at home most of the time, and he can go three or four hours without nursing. This means he's often ready to nap when he's ready to nurse. So I take him to bed and lie down with him to nurse him so that if he falls asleep, I won't have to worry about transferring him to the bed.

But I like nursing in bed!

What's happened is that I end up only ever nursing him in bed at home, which over time has translated to his only wanting to nurse in bed. It became a vicious cycle. He won't nurse when we're out, so I wait until we get home. But since I wait until we get home, he's gotten used to waiting until we get home, even if it's going to be many, many hours. I fear he doesn't even realize it's the breast that matters. He seems to associate eating with being in my bed!

Don't believe me?

On Saturday, he nursed around 8:30 in the morning when he woke up. He then wasn't hungry before we left for various activities out of the house around 10:45, so he didn't nurse before we left. We were then out of the house until 6:30 that evening. He did not nurse once that entire time. Ten hours, we were out, and he wouldn't nurse. I tried several times. I tried at synagogue, before he got frantically hungry. I tried in the car. I tried sitting in a chair outside a Starbucks.

I tried.

I really did.

And each time he got so angry.

I was able to give him little bits of solid foods throughout the day. He ate a bite of fish at lunch, and some rice at dinner. Hardly a meal, though.

When we finally got home, he nursed in bed very happily, and very hungrily.

I've tried offering him expressed milk in a bottle or sippy cup. I've tried lots of different nursing positions. I've tried on chairs and couches, in cradle hold, him sitting on my lap, even lying down on the floor or couch! I've tried in the car in the driver's seat, the passenger's seat, him in his car seat and me standing over him and dangling my boob into his mouth. That used to work.

The car seat feed.

The only thing I haven't tried is cold turkey - not nursing in bed at all. If he gets hungry enough, will he finally nurse elsewhere?

I have a two-week trip coming up where he'll have to nurse in other places. If I can't change his habits before then, I'm hoping this will "reset" him so that he'll re-learn to eat while we're out. It's gotten totally absurd, and it's an untenable situation at this point. He's not old enough to simply forego nursing all day in favor of solids. I don't want him to! I want him to nurse when he's hungry, wherever we happen to be.

I miss being able to do this.

Have you had a problem like this? Did it resolve, or did you fix it somehow? How old was your baby and how did you make the change?

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