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8 Ways to Help a Distracted Nurser
I was very fortunate that Macks latched on from just a few minutes after he was born. He ate for an adequate amount of time and was gaining weight like a champ. All of the worries and fears that I had before we started our breastfeeding journey quickly subsided when I saw the accomplishments we were making together.
Now that Macks is nearly five months old, he is becoming more and more aware of the world around him. He notices things a lot more and will track anything that passes him by. He’s discovering new things every day and is excited at the sight or sound of something new.
While I love that he is learning new things, it’s starting to wreak havoc on our nursing routine. He’s becoming more distracted in each session and is nursing for shorter amounts of time. If he wasn’t gaining weight, I’d be more worried, but I still want to make sure that he’s getting an adequate amount of milk each day. To help keep him from becoming distracted during our nursing sessions, I’ve used these tricks to help keep him nursing and focused longer.
1. Take advantage of when they are tired. Macks still wakes up in the middle of the night to nurse. Although I am tired and need my sleep, I know that he will get plenty of milk as as eats when he sleeps. There isn’t much to distract him when everyone else is sleeping. I usually lay down and nurse him.
2. Find a quiet and dark place. Macks is distracted by just about everything, but one major source are his big sisters. He loves watching them and smiling at them, which is great when he’s not trying to eat. When it’s time for him to nurse, I take him into his room and sit in the rocker and nurse him.
3. Make eye contact. I find that if I keep my attention focused to Macks and not on other things like my phone or the television, he is more likely to have longer nursing sessions. I look at him in the eye and smile. Sometimes I’ll even sing him a song while nursing. That way he is one hundred percent focused on me and nursing together.
4. Nurse often. Much like those newborn days, I find that I am nursing a lot more often now because our nursing sessions are much shorter than in the past. Rather than continually trying to get him to latch back on because something has caught his attention, I stop and let him watch whatever he was watching before trying again.
5. Nurse in a different position. Sometimes the position you always nursing in is just too stimulating for your little one. There are several different nursing positions that you can try. Find which one works for both you and your baby and stick with it.
6. Don’t stress. This is probably one of the most important things. It’s hard not to get frustrated when your excellent nurser all of the sudden is much more interested in things in the outside world rather than eating. Stress can inhibit milk production, so it’s important to relax even when he is on and off the breast 10 times within the first 2 minutes of nursing.
7. Try a nursing cover. This isn’t Macks’ favorite thing, but if we are out and he needs to eat, I pull out my cover to nurse him and to keep him from getting distracted with all of the things going on around us. He sometimes will try to pull it off, and if that happens, I let him grasp onto my finger while he nurses to keep him focused.
8. Consult a lactation specialist. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your little one is still distracted while nursing, reach out to a local lactation specialist to help you. It takes a lot of dedication to breastfeed your baby, and there can be many challenges along the way. Getting support from someone who knows what you are going through and knows how to help is key to helping make it a successful journey for you and your little one.
What helps you keep your little one from being distracted while nursing?