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My baby is very distracted while breastfeeding: why it happens and how to get him to refocus his attention on breastfeeding

During the first weeks of life, breastfed babies often only want to be at their mother’s breast. The shots are long (practically one with another), the baby’s movements are slow and calm, and the exchange of glances between mother and child is constant.

But there comes a time, around three or four months, when everything changes. The baby begins to show great interest in the world around him and mom’s breast is no longer his priority . Many mothers define feedings as “chaotic”: the baby nurses for a minute and lets go because everything that happens around him captures his interest and distracts him. Getting him to grab the nipple again is not always easy, and when he does, he usually releases it again at the slightest stimulus.

Why it happens? What can the mother do to redirect the situation?

My baby is constantly distracted when he’s nursing!

Your baby has just latched on to the nipple and starts suckling, but it only takes a minute before he suddenly lets go and turns his attention to what’s around him . Everything seems to capture his interest, especially if there are visual or sound stimuli, such as a television on, the light of a lamp or the voice of someone other than his mother.

The baby’s whole desire is to know what is happening around him, who is the person who has just entered the room or where the sound he hears is coming from.

“He is distracted by the flight of a fly” , say the mothers. And it really seems that way. The baby lets go of the breast quickly and struggles to sit up to look, others turn their heads toward the stimulus, try to look under their mother’s arm, or repeatedly release and latch on the nipple.

Be that as it may, the result is a chaotic, distracted and constantly interrupted shot, much to the mother’s frustration and despair.

Why it happens?

This stage usually begins between three and five months , coinciding with a greater development of the senses and with the awakening of their curiosity.

The baby realizes that mom’s breast is not the only thing in the world.

The baby has gone from sleeping practically all day, to spending long periods of time awake and very attentive to everything around him . He enjoys observing, analyzing his surroundings and marveling at every little detail he discovers.

Although in some cases it is only a stage and over time the baby relaxes again during feedings, in others this behavior could return later or even remain over time. And it is that not all babies are the same, and there are those who are especially restless, curious and observant!

Are you eating well despite constantly stopping feeds?

This phase usually coincides with the three-month lactation crisis, and many mothers interpret it as a sign that their baby is losing interest in breastfeeding or that she is “running out of milk”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The baby still needs his mother’s breast , only as he grows and his curiosity develops, it is easier for him to get distracted during feeding.

However, from the Spanish Association of Pediatrics they remind us that after three months babies significantly improve their suction capacity , being able to extract all the milk they need in just a few minutes.

For this reason, and although it may seem to the mother that her baby is at the breast for a short time and that she barely breastfeeds, if her growth is being adequate and the baby is happy and active , there would be no reason to worry.

Is there anything I can do to redirect the situation?

For many mothers, this distracted behavior of the baby becomes very confusing and frustrating. For this reason, the most advisable thing would be to consult with a lactation professional who gives you confidence and security, because as we said, on many occasions this gesture is interpreted in a negative way.

But being clear that the baby’s distractions during feeding are something normal and typical of his development , the only thing you can do is be patient and continue offering the breast on demand as before.

However, we share some tips that could help you :

– Try to breastfeed your baby in a room with few stimuli (low intensity lights, no noise, no one to distract the baby while he sucks…). It is not about locking yourself in a room in the dark every time you have to breastfeed your baby, but it is about reducing the stimuli that surround you as much as you can.

– Some babies focus more on feeding when the mother is in motion. In this sense, breastfeeding while you wear could become a good solution.

– Take special advantage of the moments in which the baby is sleepy to breastfeed him (for example, when he has just woken up from his nap or when he is about to fall asleep), and of course do not do without night feedings.

– Sometimes the situation also improves by changing the position to breastfeed the baby.

– Try to capture your baby’s attention during feeding so that he only notices you . For example, you can talk to him, sing to him, caress him, play with his little hand in your mouth, put his hand on your nursing necklace…

Don’t get angry with your baby if he constantly lets go or even turns his head towards other stimuli with your nipple in his mouth and hurts you. Make a vacuum so that he releases you and try to redirect the situation with delicacy and patience, persuading him to return to the chest.

Foto de portada Freepik

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