When my son turned about five months old he became a distracted breastfed baby. The sound of the TV, the phone or his sister playing would cause him to stop eating. He would pull off from nursing and stop to look around. He would then want to nurse again. This cycle repeated itself many times throughout a feeding. I’ve found some ways to help with this problem and wanted to share them.
You can help your baby to get a better feed by nursing when they are sleepy. Right before a nap a baby is more willing to feed and may not be concerned to stop and explore the world around them. At this stage with my son, his best feedings come right before a nap.
Another thing that has helped me is to take the baby into a quiet or dimly lit room. Sometimes having low light and quiet can help baby focus on the task at hand, eating. For many busy moms, this is not always an option.
When there are very noisy times that I have to feed, I entertain baby with a toy. If his sister is playing loudly, or we are out at a busy place, I often bring out a small toy for my nursing son. I hold the toy near my chest at eye level for him to play with. This seems to focus his attention on the toy and he is able to eat a good meal at the same time. Another helpful strategy is to wear a necklace. I have a couple really sturdy necklaces with large beads and my son enjoys touching the necklace while he feeds. Babies are really strong, so make sure your necklace is durable and doesn’t contain small pieces that could choke a baby if it breaks.
One of my last tips is to cover baby with a blanket when they are a distracted eater. My son will often play with the blanket while he feeds. It also helps him feel safe, warm and to focus on getting his meal. It can help to drown out the distractions of what is going on in the world.
Lastly, if none of these tips seem to help, you can always be prepared for the frequent pull offs that come with a distracted nursing baby. By keeping your finger near their latch – you can break the suction when it appears they are getting ready to pull off. It will save you some discomfort!