Baby refusing breast/negative association with my right breast.
Don't give up!
Baby refusing breast: this is more than I usually like to share about myself, but maybe someone else is going through or will go through the same issue.
I've always had a problem with oversupply. After four plugged ducts in a three week period, I came very close to planning my exit from breast-feeding.
Finally after two months, my supply leveled out. After four months, I stopped leaking. My baby was happy and I was happy. I actually came to love breastfeeding, especially staring down at my daughter as she happily ate.
Then on Sunday, my right breast was engorged and my daughter refused to eat from it. I brought her to my breast, struggling to get her to latch on- sometimes I tried to force her, but she would pull away.
Apparently this was a big mistake! I essentially created a negative association with my right breast. I couldn't even hold her in my right arm near my breast. She would arch her back very far away, yell, grunt, cry and shake her head.
She is five months old. I read online about letting babies feed exclusively from one preferred breast, but I'm not willing to go that route.
Each refusal was so discouraging and sad. But when I realized that she had a classically conditioned response to my right breast, I knew that I had to extinguish that conditioning and coax her back.
I spent Monday doing a lot of skin to skin time with her, offering my right breast and watching as she pulled away. By the evening I got her to sit by my right breast. On Tuesday, we did more skin to skin time and instead of being in my lap, I placed her on top of me while I laid down. As she did in the moments after birth, she eventually bobbed her head around looking for my nipple.
She found my right nipple and happily ate. After feeding her laying down several times, I started trying to sit up while she was latched. She would realize she was on my right breast and pull away.
Finally, eventually she would eat briefly even after I sat up. The most crucial thing was to create a relaxed, loving, and even playful set of feelings around returning to the breast.
She would look at me and I would look at her and smile. I would play with her hand, which was reaching out towards my face. I would make noises that made her smile.
This morning, when my husband brought her to me for her first breakfast, I took off my shirt, she sat in my lap, and she turned her head towards my breast. She fed from my right breast without any prompting!
Just a few days ago I was almost hopeless about this. Incrementally, I think it's very possible to retrain. So best of luck to all the parents of babies out there, whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding!