My baby is very distracted while breastfeeding: how to get him to focus on breastfeeding and eat well

During the first weeks of life, it is common for breastfed babies to only want to be on their mother’s breast. The shots are long (it is practically linked to each other), the baby’s movements are slow and calm, and the crossing of looks between mother and child is constant.

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

Why does it happen? What can the mother do to redirect the situation?

My baby is constantly distracted when he is sucking!

Your baby has just grabbed his nipple and starts sucking, but it only takes a minute when he suddenly releases it and focuses his attention on what is around him. Everything seems to capture your interest, especially if there are visual or sound stimuli, such as a television on, the light of a lamp or the voice of someone who is not his mother’s.

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

“He is distracted by the flight of a fly,” the mothers say. And it really seems like it is. The baby quickly releases his chest and strives to stand up to observe, others turn their heads towards the stimulus, try to look under their mother’s arm or release and grab the nipple repeatedly.

Be that as it may, the result is a chaotic, distracted and constantly interrupted take, to the frustration and despair of the mother.

Why does it happen?

This stage usually begins between three and five months, coinciding with a greater development of the senses and 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 one stage and after time the baby relaxes again during the shots, in others this behavior could return later or even remain in time. And not all babies are the same, and there are those who are especially restless, curious and observant!

Are you eating well despite constantly interrupting the intake?

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

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

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

That’s why, and although it may seem to the mother that her baby is on the chest for a short time and that he barely breastfeeds, if his growth is being adequate and the baby is happy and active, there would be no need 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. Therefore, it would be best to consult with a breastfeeding professional who gives you confidence and security, because as we said, this gesture is often interpreted negatively.

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

However, we share with you some tips that could help you:

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

– Some babies focus more on taking when the mother is on the move. In this sense, breastfeeding while carrying could become a good solution.

– Especially take advantage of the moments when the baby is sleepy to breastfeed him (for example, when he has just woken up from a nap or when he is about to fall asleep), and of course not do without night shots.

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

– Try to capture your baby’s attention during the shot so that he only notices you. For example, you can talk to him, sing to him, caress them, play with his hand in your mouth, put his hand on your breastfeeding 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 it hurts you. Make the void so that he loosens you and try to redirect the situation with delicacy and patience, persuading him to return to his chest.

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