As your baby gets older, you may find yourself breastfeeding a distracted baby more often that you would like. They may be distracted by their older sibling, nearby noises, the family pet, or pretty much anything else.
This can become frustrating to moms who are trying to breastfeed but feel like they have the world’s most distractible child on their hands.
If you started breastfeeding believing that your baby would stare intently into your eyes and you would have these amazing bonding moments each time that you breastfed, realizing that the ceiling, the clouds in the sky, and the dog sleeping on the floor are all more interesting than you is difficult to grasp. The fact that your baby wants to cut every feeding short to explore more important things may also leave you worried that he or she isn’t receiving the nutrients needed to thrive. You may also think they may be self weaning. That is not the case. Most easy distractible babies just are curious and don’t want to miss anything!
What to Do When You are Breastfeeding a Distracted Baby:
Some moms start pumping and storing breast milk to ensure that their milk supply doesn’t diminish, but there are some other actions that you can take to ensure that your distractible baby is well-nourished while exploring this great big world without needing to worry:
- Take advantage of sleepy times. If your baby likes to feed first thing in the morning before fully woken up or right before naptime and bedtime as he or she drifts off to sleep, get the most out of those sessions. Your baby is less likely to become distracted while in that sleepy state, so stretch out those feeding sessions as long as possible. Nighttime feedings can also ensure that your baby gets the nutrition that he or she needs despite the distractions during the day.
- Limit distractions to the best of your ability. While it’s easier to cover up and breastfeed in public, it’s probably not the best option for a distracted baby in need of nourishment. Try to find quiet places with nothing happening so that your baby has as little as possible to focus on beyond your face and the breast.
- Interact with your baby during each feeding session. Lock eyes with him or her. Smile or make silly faces. Sing a soothing song that encourages your baby to relax. Many mothers worry that this type interaction will distract their baby from the task at hand, but in this case, focusing on you is more conducive to feeding than focusing elsewhere in the room.
- Give your baby a special blanket or toy that they can hold only while breastfeeding. This provides comfort but may also keep their focus on an object that is close at hand and that is easy to explore while feeding. This may not work for every baby, but try it for a week or two before giving up.
- If your baby wants to breastfeed more often, try to accommodate those urges. They will eventually pass out of the distracted phase or will eventually move on to solid foods. At that point, you may need to allow them more time than expected to eat snacks and solid meals. That curiosity for the surrounding world may only intensify as they move into the toddler phase and have the ability to travel on their own two feet.
Rather than feeling frustrated by your baby’s lack of focus, take pride in the fact that your little one is already alert and in touch with the surrounding world. They are ready to explore and want to know what is happening in their living environment. Embrace that curiosity because it may be what makes your child an amazing adult in the future.
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