Nursing The Distracted Baby

By Wendy Wright- IBCLC Co-Founder and Lactation Consultant of the 16 Minute Club


By the time a baby is a month old, most breastfeeding moms feel like they are a pro at feeding their sweet babe. Then the inevitable happens. Your baby starts to grow and become more active. You no longer have a darling newborn to nurse but an overactive baby that is nearly impossible to feed.

Nursing a distracted baby can be difficult and frustrating, and let’s not forget to mention painful when junior quickly turns his head while still attached! These are the times that you may just want to throw in the towel and give your baby a bottle. However, while your squiggly babe may be harder to feed, these months are when he needs your milk more than ever. He is learning and growing at a rapid rate, and your milk will help nourish him for these times.

So before you throw in the towel all together, try some of these tips on how to nurse your distracted little one.

1. Make Sure They Are Hungry: If your baby is not fully hungry, then they are most likely to break the latch frequently. Obviously the key here is not to starve your little one so that they will feed better. Now is the time to pay close attention to baby’s feeding cues.  When baby turns her head from side to side or places her fingers and hand near her mouth, she is telling you she wants to nurse.  By feeding when she is really hungry she is less likely to divert her attention.

2. Turn Off the Noise: Your little one is discovering this great big world for the first time. Every single noise will amaze them, which can be detrimental to a good feeding. Try nursing in a quiet room and even play soft music or ocean wave sounds to help you both relax. Don’t watch television or use your smartphone during the feed because chances are baby will see and want to watch them too. Some moms swear by white noise to help their babes to feed better, so try running a sound machine or air purifier while feeding.

3. Make It Dark: Taking your baby into a dimly lit room can also help them focus on feeding rather than looking around. You can also use a cover to make it darker for your baby while out in public. Some moms consider a cover essential for the distracted baby, especially if your little one pops on and off the breast frequently.

4. Change Up Your Clothing: Who knew that your distracted baby might make you more fashionable?! Try wearing tops and tanks with different textures and patterns to keep baby focused on you. Another fun accessory to try is teething/nursing necklaces. These necklaces have large beads on them and are a baby-proof way to dress up an outfit. Your baby can finger the beads while nursing to keep attention on breastfeeding.

5. Try Moving: Another option to try when feeding your distracted baby is to nurse while moving. Try nursing while walking or swaying to see if this helps your little one stay focused. You can even try nursing while holding your baby in a baby wrap or carrier. Even just standing to nurse can help, and it is worth a try.

Moms, give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far with nursing. This is just another stage and challenge that you will endure throughout nursing. Don’t let your babe’s distractiblity get you down or think that they are ready to be weaned (especially if they are under a year). If none of these tricks work for you, your local lactation consultant will be able to help too.

Wendy Wright is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant approaching the lactation consultant’s role with a unique perspective. After breastfeeding two children during her very busy career as a bio tech marketer, she decided to pursue lactation consulting as a new career. Wendy founded the 16 Minute Club to assist  moms across North America in meeting their breastfeeding goals.  This article was originally published on Mamapure. 

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