Breast Refusal

When a baby refuses to go to the breast or goes to the breast very briefly before coming off crying it can be a very distressing time for everyone.  They may refuse one or both breasts.

There can be many underlying reasons why a baby does not want to go to the breast.  Some of them are –

  • Milk flow – too fast or too slow
  • Milk supply – over supply or low supply
  • Physical issues with baby or mum
  • Difficulties attaching
  • Baby is unwell
  • Introduction of a bottle
  • Baby is becoming distracted (often around 4 months)
  • Hormonal changes with the mother
  • Lots of other reasons

No matter what the cause of breast refusal, it can be a challenging time.  If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to try to find a cause for the breast refusal and correct it if possible.  For most babies, this is a temporary stage that they can move through with help.  In the meantime, supporting  your supply and making sure your baby is getting adequate nutrition will be a very high priority.  Accessing professional support and information to help you through a time like this can be invaluable.  There are many strategies to help overcome this situation, so if you want to discuss your issues with breast refusal or arrange a consultation, please contact me.


Image by Louisa Stokes


  1. Christine Jenkinson

    Hi Stacey. I have been following your site recently and find it very informative. I have a 5 week old baby girl who until recently fed well. Recently she has become unsettled while feeding from my left breast. She seems to become agitated and will begin to cry and detach from the nipple. I move her to the right and she seems to feed well. I know there is milk in the left side as I can express without issue. Any ideas.

    • Stacey Revie

      Hi Christine, thanks for the comment. Breast refusal can be due to many different reasons. Sometimes it can help to look back at when the breast refusal started and try and work out what,if anything, has changed. Patience and gentle persistence will often overcome most cases of breast refusal. If you need a consultation, please feel to contact me on 0403 677 467.

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