Of the many struggles a breastfeeding mom can face, fidgeting is one that isn't brought up too often but can be very frustrating. If you find yourself getting slapped in the face, tugged left and right, or unable to breastfeed for more than a few minutes at a time, you may be desperate for some ways to keep your baby from fidgeting when breastfeeding.
It isn't uncommon for a baby of any age to fidget while they nurse. It's a phase most babies go through at one point or another. If you're taking advantage of some tactics to combat your little one's fidgeting during daily feedings, then you may be able to put a stop to it fairly quickly. And if not, there are also several suggestions to help you work around fidgeting while you breastfeed to ensure your baby is still getting their milk intake without annoying you too much.
So if you find yourself frustrated in a position where your baby is beginning to fidget (or you haven't been able to get them to stop), know that you are far from the only mom dealing with it. And consider taking advantage of some of the tips below to relieve your breastfeeding stress.
1. Find A Quiet Place Without Distractions
As they age, babies' desire to fidget while breastfeeding comes from wanting to see what's going on around them, according to Breastfeeding Basics. A simple way to combat this urge is to find a quiet room, turn down the lights, switch off any noise, and ultimately create a calm environment to breastfeed in.
2. Take Advantage Of Night Nursing
Generally your baby is less active and more likely to rest while nursing at night. According to Kelly Mom, until you've passed the fidgeting stage, it's helpful to take advantage of night nursing.
3. Start The Let Down Process Yourself
According to the aforementioned Breastfeeding Basics article, while newborns are fine nursing until your milk lets down, older babies get impatient. Try massaging or working your breasts to get more milk.
4. Stay Alert
Most mothers biggest complaint with fidgeting is when their baby starts pulling away without unlatching from their nipple. The aforementioned Kelly Mom article suggested keeping a finger ready to break the latch as soon as your baby starts pulling away. This can start a reaction habit for you and potentially for your baby to start unlatching as well.
5. Offer More Feedings
According to the aforementioned Kelly Mom article previously mentioned, if you're concerned your baby's not eating enough because they're fidgeting so often, offer more feedings in shorter durations. Most older babies get the milk they need in five to 10 minutes. Consider that time limit once your baby starts fidgeting and incorporate feedings more often for shorter amounts of time.
6. Set Limits
If you're baby is older, Breastfeeding Basics suggested they can begin to understand limit setting. Start teaching your baby or toddler that fidgeting behaviors, like pulling your shirt or nipple tugging, are not acceptable. You can do this by giving a verbal command or stopping the feeding if behavior persists. It's important to stay consistent with this approach.
7. Swaddle Your Newborn
If it's a newborn specifically you're having difficulty with fidgeting or getting their hands in the way of your nipple, in my experience, swaddling works best. If you wrap them up like a burrito and their little hands can't get in the way, it's much easier to focus on breastfeeding your newborn.