How to breastfeed distracted baby? I remember searching this query when my son was around 4 month old. He had become very aware of his surroundings and breastfeeding sessions were becoming challenging. While it is a good sign that your baby is becoming more aware of surroundings and interested in absorbing everything they can, it does make the breastfeeding mother’s life a little difficult.
I have already written about the best tips to help you succeed at breastfeeding and help you achieve your breasfeeding goals. But distracted baby at the breast is one such hiccup on the way that can demotivate you from continuing with breastfeeding. These are phases in your child’s development that are challenging to say the least.
You think the session is over so you stop, then baby cries in 5 minutes for more. This cycle keeps repeating. Or if you decide to give them time at the breast, baby keeps unlatching to look around not focussing on the feeding session. Making every session very long drawn.
Distractions happen even at later stages like 8-9 months of baby’s age and you may mistake it for baby self weaning. But this is not the case. In fact in my own case my son was very aware of his envirnoment from very early on and I could never have successful sessions out and about or in noisy envirnoments. He would want to keep looking at everything around him.
So how do you tackle this type of feeding behaviour. As a mother you begin to worry if they are even getting enough milk in to provide proper nutrition. The following steps helped me immensely with my son and getting him to focus on the feeding session at hand and not get distracted. I hope these work for you and your distractible baby.
Tips to breastfeed distracted baby
- To breastfeed distracted baby choose a quiet spot of the house. Draw the curtains and make the room dark. This helps baby focus on breastfeeding. Turn away from any light source like bulbs, lamps in such a way that baby can’t see them.
- Try breastfeeding at times like early mornings or closer to times when baby is drowsy. This is called dream feeding. Early mornings are great times to have longer feeding sessions.
- When travelling outside with baby during this phase try and find a quieter spot (being outside stimulates baby and may affect your feeding session). I looked for feeding rooms in malls or breastfed in our car before taking him outside. Basically find any spot that is quiet.
- If baby is unlatching from the breast many times during one session wear a beaded teething necklace or scarf around your neck. This keeps them engaged in the session, while they fiddle with your accessory.
- Use a nursing cover. When all else fails, use a cover as a way to cut out all distractions.
- Feeding baby in a lying down position side by side is also a great way to get them to focus on feeding.
- Wait until baby is hungry. This was a trick that worked for me. During phases of distractible feeding wait it out until baby is really hungry. Chances are when they are really hungry they will focus on feeding first rather than looking around.
Most of all be patient. Like everything else in motherhood, distracted baby at the breast is also a phase and teaches us more patience and creativity in parenting.
Do let me know which tricks worked for you during this phase of breastfeeding distracted baby?