Distracted Nursing

There’s a certain stage of development when baby begins noticing the world. Sights, sounds, smells, mamas new shirt, baby sister, the dog, the sofa…everything except for nursing at the breast is their new priority. We typically see this happen around the 4-5 month mark and we suddenly find ourselves with a distracted nurser.

If you have a distracted nurser, it might be reassuring to hear it’s normal and you’re not alone! This is typical for babies beginning around 4-6 months when their brain development revs up and they begin noticing everything around them. It’s also common for babies to begin teething at this age too, adding to the distraction because of the discomfort on the gums. So what can we do to keep our busy-body baby focused enough to finish a breastfeeding session? Here are some tips!

-Nurse in a quiet, dim lit room with minimal distractions

-Try playing white noise or soft music

-Sing songs or tell baby a story

-Try different positions such as the side-lying or koala position

-Nurse baby before naps when they’re sleepy or after tiring activities such as tummy time, a trip to the store, a walk outside, etc.

-Nurse in a carrier and walk around! This is my #1 go-to and it’s usually a life saver once the mama gets comfortable with it

-Hand Express or pump a little milk before latching baby so she gets an instant milk reward when she’s at the breast

-Use breast compressions to increase the milk flow and keep baby interested to finish a feed

-Dream feed baby at night so they get the extra calories they may be missing due to the daytime distractions

-Wear a nursing necklace for baby to play with or let them hold a small toy while nursing

Distracted nursing can be frustrating for mama. As long as your baby is meeting milestones and gaining 4-6 oz per week (after 4 months of age), there is no need to worry. It’s also important to remember at 4 months + you have an expert nurser on your hands! Baby may be getting all the calories they need in their short distracted sessions at the breast. If you have a distracted nurser, hang in there and know this phase will pass!

Photo of one of my distracted nursers that sums up how she felt about it

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