Baby Distracted While Breastfeeding? Tips To Help

Baby Distracted While Breastfeeding? Tips To Help

Does your baby attach, suck for a moment or two then pull off and look around? Then attach again, suck for a moment or two pull off, look up and smile at you… attach again, suck for a moment or two then pull off, look at the television… and so on and so on?

Does any of this ring a bell for you?

Well, you’re not alone.

Babies, typically between the ages of 2-6 months notoriously start doing this on-off-on-off sort of thing.

Sometimes they might forget to let go and so pull your nipple with them as they look around.

Why Is My Baby So Distracted While Breastfeeding?!

So, why do babies do it?

Baby Is Simply Distracted By Her Environment

It’s likely your baby does this sort of thing because she is distracted by the new and very exciting environment around her.

Like teething and biting, this distractibility is a passing developmental phase but it can be quite frustrating and require quite a bit of patience.

Many mothers find it can start anywhere from 2 months of age and it often peaks around 4-5 months. It typically settles down but can sometimes reappear a few months later and can give some mothers the impression their baby wants to wean.

If your baby is less than 12 months however, this is very unlikely.

So, What Can You Do About It?

It can be challenging when you have a baby who is easily distracted during feed times.

The best things you can do are breastfeed away from distractions and breastfeed more at night.

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Breastfeed your baby in a quiet, boring room away from distractions
  • Breastfeed lying down
  • Offer your baby a feed as she’s just waking up from a sleep or even while she is still half asleep
  • Offer more feeds during the night

Additional Tips If You Have A Distracted Feeder

Some mothers find their baby’s distractibility while feeding may lead to biting as they pull away from the breast to look at something. If this happens to you, keep a finger ready to break the suction as soon as your baby starts to pull away.

You may worry about your supply if your baby doesn’t breastfeed as much due to her distractibility. Offering feeds more often than usual can help (using the tips listed above), as can offering more feeds at night.

When your baby starts to become aware of the environment around her, she might have a difficult time concentrating on breastfeeding. As she matures though, she’ll find it easier to do both at the same time. In the meantime, go with the flow as much as you can. You can do this mumma!

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Renee Kam IBCLC CONTRIBUTOR

Renee Kam is mother to Jessica and Lara, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a physiotherapist, author of 'The Newborn Baby Manual' and an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor. In her spare time, Renee enjoys spending time with family and friends, horse riding, running and reading.


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