Why is your baby distracted while nursing?
Sometimes nursing your older baby is still all about sweet, snuggly connection, but often the long, sleepy feeding sessions of the newborn stage can become distracted, minutes long snacks, with your baby popping on and off and twisting this way and that to check out every little sound or movement in the space around them. Around this age, babies are becoming much more aware of the world around them. They are literally unable to eat and take in the world at the same time! Rest assured, once they get a little older, they’ll find it easier to both nurse and be in tune with what is going on around them.
In the meantime, this behavior is understandably frustrating for the lactating parent. They may worry that their baby isn’t getting enough to eat, in addition to having the discomfort of frequent quick detaching.
Tips for feeding a distracted baby.
Until this stage has passed, baby may need a quiet, darkened place to nurse and/or more night nursing until they’ve figured out how to deal with distraction. Take advantage of night nursing during this time – it doesn’t matter when baby takes in their calories during a 24-hour period.
Nursing while in motion (walking, rocking, in a carrier) can also help baby to focus better on nursing. Try to catch your baby when they are more willing, such as when they’re just waking up, already a little sleepy, or actually asleep.
Whereas some babies will be less distracted if the parent talks quietly or not at all, some babies may stay more focused on the task when the lactating parent keeps them engaged by talking to them, playing little games with their hands (my daughter found great joy in hold my finger and flapping my entire arm up and down!), or wearing a nursing necklace that baby can hold and play with while feeding.
Remember, baby’s initial pulling off is probably not an indication that they are finished – just a sign that they saw or heard something interesting across the room. When they pull off, try to coax them back to the chest a few more times before giving up on the feeding session.
Do you have more feeding questions? Reach out!