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by Aoife Holland

My 3-month-old baby girl has been refusing to nurse (breast feed) on and off for over a week. She also brings up the little bit she does take.

She may nurse for 8 minutes on one side and refuse the other. She cries when I but her to the breast.


Baby Help Line:

Reasons Why A Baby May Refuse The Breast

I can think of several reasons why your daughter is acting the way she does:

  • First of all, is your daughter also bottle-fed? In such case, it could be that she has figured out that it takes much less effort to eat from the bottle. It is quite common that babies start refusing the breast once they get access to and start to like the bottle.
  • If she is only breastfed, it could actually be so simple that she is full! At some point, different for all babies, they become stronger and more efficient with nursing and if you have plenty of milk, it is quite likely that 8 minutes on one breast is enough for her to be satisfied.
    Is she gaining weight as she should? If she is, then let her have it her way. Once you let go of the worrying, you’ll notice that it is great to have an efficient eater. I know it is so easy to become frustrated and worried, but trying to “strongly convince” a child to eat, no matter what age, is never a successful strategy in my experience.
  • Another reason may be – especially if she eats quite rapidly – that she swallows so much air that after a while it becomes painful. This could explain both the spitting and the fussiness if it starts only after a while. In such case, try nursing her is a more upright position, letting her bottom rest in your lap. You can also press gently with your fingers above the nipple of the breast she is eating from. That can slow down the milk flow a little bit. Also help her burp after one breast.
  • If you feel that she is really not getting enough food and hence you suspect she is not gaining weight as she should, I recommend that you take her to a doctor. For example, babies that have Gastroesophageal Reflux might have the symptoms you describe – crying while nursing and spitting up, especially if combined with poor weight gain. Reflux is less common among breastfed babies, but it does exist and can be medicated effectively.

Do any of these explanations seem reasonable to you?

I’d be happy to try to help you more if you provide me with some more information. (Bottle-fed or not, fussy all the time or just on second breast; gaining weight or not etc.)

I really hope you get it sorted out soon!


Find comments below.

Comments for “3 Month Old Refusing Breast On and Off For Over a Week”

Jan 07, 2013

refusing breast

by: Anonymous

3 month old baby cries and fusses when put to the breast and is now starting to refuse breast. she is gaining weight but will cry if put to breast and will feed a little & often and then will feed for a long time. is now refusing breast. what should I do and what is wrong?

Mar 17, 2013

same problem

by: Anonymous

my 3 month old baby girl is also doing this, screaming hysterically when the breast is offered. she is not bottle fed at all and hasn’t gained proper weight over the last week (just 2 oz). she may feed intermittently but screams sometimes when feeding. I feel very distressed and don’t know how to get food down her as he wont take a bottle.

Apr 12, 2013

refusing/check mouth

by: Anonymous

Check the baby’s mouth for thrush (white patches that don’t wipe off).

May 08, 2013

3 Month Old Refusing Breast
by: Anonymous

My 3 month old boy has been refusing breast since a week. I don’t know how it all started. He has been having 2 bottles (pumped breast milk) a day when I am off to work and the rest of the feedings directly from my breast. But from the last week he fails to nurse directly. He has a little and then starts screaming and crying. No thrush and not reflux too. Just plain irritation. I don’t know how to get him to my breast again. Should I start exclusively pumping and feeding from bottle? Please help.

May 14, 2013

help with switching back and forth
by: Anonymous

For 3 month old refusing breast, it’s probably bc bottle release milk faster than breast. The baby is expecting milk to come out at a fast pace. Have a bottle ready during breastfeeding, when the baby becomes to upset and screams give he/she the bottle for a second or to as if to tease and switch back to breast. It takes alot of patience but eventually ur baby will learn the difference between being breastfed and bottle. I had to do the same with my baby.

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