Dear Coco,

First don’t worry about losing your milk – even if you baby doesn’t breastfeed for a few days. It is estimated to take 42 days (that’s 6 weeks) for a mother with a well established supply to stop having milk after the last feed.

Babies rarely self wean before one year old. But the best way to know is to watch your baby’s behaviour. If she is happy and content without breastfeeding then she may well be ready to wean. If, however, she has fussy periods at the times that she normally would have breastfeed it is likely she is having a nursing strike rather than wanting to wean.

Extra cuddling, stroking, and skin-to-skin contact with the baby can help you re-establish closeness. Some babies are more willing to nurse when they are sleepy. Sometimes it helps if you are rocking or walking around (in which case a sling or cloth carrier can be useful.) Try nursing in a quiet room with the lights dimmed to avoid distractions. You can also try to stimulate your let-down and get your milk flowing before offering the breast so the baby gets an immediate reward.

Often a baby will be willing to feed at a particular time of day but not at other times when on a nursing strike. If this is the case try to stimulate the conditions when she is willing to feed at the other times.

The following page has information about nursing strikes from the LLLI web site,

Best wishes and Happy New Year,