Written on Thursday, October 19, 2006 by Jessica

I haven't kept you updated on the nursing strike. It ended just as quickly as it began, although he continued to be fussy about nursing from time to time. I wrote a cutsie little newspaper article about it for you, but I didn't publish it b/c I wanted to include a photograph of my naked index finger -- the one without a long beautiful fingernail (see article below for explanation).

Anyhow, I'm utterly frustrated. Tonight he absolutely refused to nurse even though he was clearly starving. Here are some reasons babies refuse to nurse (i.e., go on strike):

  • Mommy has eaten something that has given the milk a yucky taste.
    In this case, unlikely. He eats anything I pump without complaint. If he didn't like the taste of the milk, he would occasionally refuse a bottle.
  • Baby has an earache, which causes suckling to be painful. (The jaw motions hurt the ear.)
    This is not our problem. As mentioned above, he eats just fine from a bottle. Furthermore, he shows no signs of any other earache symptoms.
  • Baby has thrush, which somehow makes nursing uncomfortable.
    Actually, he does have a minor case of thrush. The pediatrician wasn't even going to treat it, but I mentioned that my nipples were stinging after a feeding, so she prescribed treatments for us both. Here's where I'm confused. The lactation counselor said sometimes thrush causes breastfeeding to be painful while not affecting bottle feeding, but I'm skeptical. Why wouldn't bottle feeding be painful as well? Furthermore, we've both received treatments for several days, so the thrush symptoms have cleared up.
  • Mommy has slow letdown, so baby gets mad.
    Sooooo not the case. My milk always seems to be instantly available.
  • Mommy smells funny.
    I haven't changed my deoderant or detergent, and I don't wear perfume, so this isn't the case.
Because nursing strikes are more common in bottle-fed and pacifier-using babies, I can only conclude that he has decided he like bottles better. Conventional wisdom says he's getting milk faster from a bottle, so he prefers it, but that just isn't the case. We're using low-flow nipples, and furthermore, I happen to produce a bunch of milk at the beginning of a feeding. I'm certain that I actually deliver it faster than a low-flow bottle.

Bottom line: He's just being stubborn. In the beginning, I said I was more stubborn and could wait him out, but tonight I began to wonder how I can take eight more months of this. Yes, tonight was extreme, but it's a daily occurance that he's become difficult about breastfeeding. Most of the time, he'll nurse for only about five minutes and then refuse to nurse any longer, which means I'm feeding him again in two hours instead of the normal three. And it's really frustrating to have to relatch forty or fifty times in a single session, which is how we go about nursing an entire meal two sucks at a time.

I'm so tired that I'm just blathering on and being utterly boring (or "udderly" boring -- ha! which reminds me, I'm thinking of being a cow for Halloween). I'll go away now. Here's the cutsie article I was talking about, still sans the photo of my missing fingernail:

Tentative agreement reached between management and union

AP - Mommy management and baby union leaders announced a tentative agreement today to end a week-long nursing strike. Baby union's only demand was to be bottle fed at all meals, but Mommy management refused to make any concessions, going to far as to call in scabs in the form of a supplemental nursing system (SNS) and a nipple shield.

An SNS is a device that delivers bottled breastmilk to the baby through a small flexible tube. The tube is usually taped to the breast to encourage a newborn to nurse by rewarding him with small amounts of milk. In this case, the SNS was taped to Mommy management's index finger, which Baby union happily suckled. A nipple shield is a device that fits over the mother's nipple to protect a cracked or very sore nipple while nursing. In this case, the nipple shield tricked baby union into thinking he was suckling a bottle.

Events came to a head on Saturday, when Mommy management threatened to take away the three bottles that Baby union received each day while she was at work. In that case, Baby union would have to be spoon fed instead. However, a lactation counselor-arbitrator ruled this step unnecessary.

Although Mommy management was reluctant to make concessions, the strike was not without sacrifices. Mommy management was forced to lop off her index fingernail to use the SNS.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous |

    This is too funny Jessica!! I used to work for a union shop and every couple of years, the shop would re-negotiate their contract and I swear to you, in looked and read exactly like that!!

    I am glad the negotiations went well??? kind of...???

    HA ha.



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