By Laura Lucas
Mamas, it can be tough! – Whoop there goes the cat… Whoop the T.V made a noise… Whooop a bloody leaf rustled outside! – aaaanndddd there goes my let down, squirting me in the eye. God I’m lucky to be blessed with that upward pointing milk duct!
That “whoop”, that’s your baby’s head turning away erratically mid-feed, sometimes creating the “niplash” effect with your nipple still latched, to take in their surroundings – yowch! Welcome to the “distractible baby” phase of your breastfeeding journey! Yes, there’s that “phase” word again, but truly, it will pass.
This phase is one that can strike anytime from 2 months on as your little babe becomes increasingly interested and aware of the world around them. It can often be mistaken for babies wanting to wean – however experts say that very rarely will a baby self-wean under the age of 12 months. So, how do we cope with this somewhat adorable, but oh so frustrating phase?
When Billy started getting distracted while breastfeeding, he was about 3 months old, in summer – at a super tricky time (being we were out and about a lot and visiting family and friends regularly). However, we survived and happily breastfed until he was 14 months.
Here are my top 10 pointers for conquering the distractible baby phase!
- Try feeding when your baby first wakes up, or is about to go to sleep. It is much easier to feed a sleepy baby than an alert, ready to explore one in a quiet dark room with no distractions.
- Sing to your baby or play music/white noise to tempt their audio sensory to dominate during feedings instead of their visual senses.
- Try to maintain eye contact with your baby and make quiet chat to keep them focused toward you, pulling faces, smiling, poking tongues (but don’t be too funny that they pull off to give you the sweetest wee smile – or maybe do…), will all help your baby to stay interested on the task at hand.
- Breastfeeding necklaces can be helpful, with beads made from a food grade silicone – they are soft and safe for baby to play with. Just be sure yours has a sturdy clasp; mine continually came undone when Billy would pull on it and he would simply whip it off, throw it across the room, then get distracted wanting to find it again – #fail!
See next page for six more handy pointers!