There are few things more frustrating than trying to nurse your baby and having them whip their head away from you to check out every noise. Except for when they also keep your nipple firmly planted in their mouth. There are some household objects you didn't realize distract your baby from breastfeeding, and once you know what they are, your nipple can get a break from being treated like a piece of taffy. (Insert collective ow here.)
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Tera Hamann tells Romper that sometimes you have to make adjustments to nurse your little one. "Sometimes you need a quiet, dark room to nurse when they are very distracted," she says. "It's easier to pump to protect your supply and offer it in cup while they are distracted. The flip side is that they may try to make up for missed feedings from distraction and have some sleepless nights."
I can personally attest to this. When my girl hit about 8 months, she was notorious for turning her head at absolutely everything in the room, with my breast still in her mouth. It was painful, it was frustrating, and it was incredibly annoying when she would unlatch to check out a sound on the TV before latching again and starting the cycle over. Basically, what used to be 15 minute nursing sessions took an hour or more some days as she explored the world around her. And Hamann is right — my daughter then woke up more at night where she would eat like she was starving in her dark, less stimulated room.
So what to do? Well, like Hamann says, you can pump during those distraction moments and just give them an open cup of milk so they can enjoy looking out the window and eating at their leisure. But if you don't want to make up for those distracted nursing sessions, head to a dark, quiet room. And look out for these five household items that could be more distracting than you realize.
1. The Television
I know. Netflix is what helps you power through those long nursing sessions, especially if your baby is cluster feeding. But the sounds and lights can be too much for your baby. (Or they just want to know what Underwood is up to now on House of Cards.)
2. Your Computer
I tried to write emails with one hand when I breastfed my baby, but it was ridiculously difficult. Not only because two hands are much more efficient, but because every tapping key sound made my daughter turn her head faster than I could even imagine. And if a video randomly started playing? Ugh. RIP nipple.
3. The Window
People walking by, dogs running, a cloud shifting across the sun — any and everything outside of the window could distract your baby. According to Kelly Mom, babies around 2 months old can see things clearly across the room. So even if you sit away from the window, chances are your baby can scope it out. Just go nurse in a cave, OK?
4. Your Cellphone
The ringing of it across the house or even having it in your hand to swipe — no matter what, a phone can be distracting. Your baby sees the bright light of your Facebook news feed and is dying to know if Bey has had her twins yet. Super distracting, which really sucks because when else are you supposed to get to use your phone if it's a no-no while nursing?
5. The Walls, Basically Anything In The Room
OK, really, it doesn't matter what it is. Your baby can be distracted by the fan spinning, the walls, a faint sound across the house. When asked about what could cause a baby to be distracted, IBCLC Kristen Gourley of Lactation Link tells Romper, anything goes. "Really, even a timer on the oven or the chime of an alarm system as someone else opens the garage door — these are things you may not think about, even if you're good about going into a dark, quiet room without any other people, pets, screens, or other distractions."
According to Gourley, changing your nursing position can be helpful. If you find that any household object, including a door being opened, distracts your baby, try nursing baby so that they are sitting in your lap and can see or even in a baby carrier. If they have the option to look around and check things out, your nursing sessions might not be so frustrating.