Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Distractible Baby

From kellymom.com: "Latch on, suck a moment, pull off...latch on, suck a moment, pull off. Nurse a minute, pull away to smile at mom. Nurse a minute, pull away to see who just walked in the room. Nurse a minute, pull away to listen to the TV. Nurse a moment, pull away because the dog wagged his tail. When baby first becomes aware of the rest of the world, he will have a hard time concentrating on nursing. In effect, he will be unable to ‘walk and chew gum at the same time.’ Distractibility is common around 8-10 months, and can lead mom to think that her baby is trying to wean. If your baby is younger than a year, it's highly unlikely that this temporary disinterest is self-weaning."

What you have just read has been the story of my nursing life for a while now. Asher is almost 9½ months old (?!?!?! I’ve attached a recent picture!) and since about month 7 I’ve had to get increasingly more creative to facilitate effective nursing for my busy little guy. At first it just meant muting the TV and asking Adam to be quiet until Ash got settled in, but it wasn’t long before we had to go to a different room, and soon we had to shut the door; even then sometimes the smallest noise from outside the room would be enough to lure Asher’s interest away from the task at hand. Basically we had to make the setting as un-stimulating as possible! It’s been somewhat inconvenient at times, not to mention painful (he often forgets to let go before turning his head – ouch! He also enjoyed testing out his new teeth on me for a while).

Things really reached a critical point about 2 weeks ago when I went to nurse Asher before bed, as usual, and he started crying and pushing away from me, absolutely refusing to have any part of it. I figured he just wasn’t hungry yet and didn’t push the issue. After his bath I tried again and there was no problem. But then I got the same reaction the next day when I got home from work, and again several more times throughout the week. I always look forward to the weekends because I get to take a break from pumping (pumping is NOT my favorite), but that weekend, not so much. Half the time he would nurse as usual, and the other half he would flat out REFUSE. Lack of hunger certainly wasn’t the issue, as he would suck down an 8 ounce bottle of expressed milk in record time. I couldn’t understand it! I became increasingly disconcerted and upset, even battling feelings of rejection. I confided in my mom, my closest friends, and Asher’s pediatrician, and of course got many varying opinions about what might be going on. I also turned to my trusted resources, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, the La Leche League website and kellymom.com for any insight or advice I could get. After reading extensively about nursing strikes, self-weaning, and distractibility, and deciding that I was definitely not ready to stop nursing, I determined to press on. I prayerfully started utilizing some of the tips and suggestions I had read and have been absolutely OVERJOYED and thankful at the outcome. Within just a few days, the crying and resisting stopped almost entirely. In fact, he seems almost eager to nurse again – it’s great! I think we just needed to hit the "reset button" on our process. I also think his recent milestone (crawling was achieved just this past Saturday!) was throwing things off. Of course, I know the day will come when he will truly be ready to stop for good; after this unexpected hitch I can see that I really need to start mentally and emotionally preparing for that day! In the meantime, this experience has given me a renewed sense of gratitude and appreciation for the special, quiet moments I get to spend with my sweet boy; I won’t take them for granted anymore!

I did want to mention that in my search for solutions and suggestions, I ran across a really great website called mommynecklaces.com. This is an independent company run by a busy mom, and I was really impressed by what I saw. She uses extra-strong cording with a breakaway closure (so if baby pulls on it too hard, it will pop apart, not break and cause little beads to scatter everywhere), the acrylic beads are tested for both lead and phthalates to meet (and exceed) the CPSIA regulations (because the necklace will of course end up in baby’s mouth at some point), and the beads are sourced from within the USA! I had been considering making my own nursing necklace, but when I read about these I realized I definitely couldn’t do it better. The really cool thing is that these aren’t just nursing necklaces – yes, they help keep baby occupied and interested while nursing, but they look like regular, cute jewelry. Regular, cute jewelry that your kids can mess with and you don’t have to worry about breakage or toxicity. I bought the Simply Snazzy design (pic attached), which is definitely the least "stylish"; however, it’s the most colorful and seemed like the best choice to keep Asher’s interest. So far, so good! He likes to twiddle with it – it’s even staved off a few diaper-change-related meltdowns. I’m all about supporting fellow moms in their creative endeavors, so there’s my plug for a cool, useful product!!


  1. So glad things are on the up and up in that department. And I love the necklace idea - I've never even heard of a nursing necklace - how great for your distractible little guy!!

  2. So glad you were able to push through the frustration...it paid off, lil mama! I LOVE these nursing necklaces, too- I may have to get one of these with Chase...