*This post may contain graphic information. These are real stories*
If you missed last weeks post, go ahead and check out Basics of Breastfeeding: Part One before reading here!
So, if you are a breastfeeding Momma, I am sure you have experienced as babies grow that they start to get a little acrobatic with their feedings. This is one of my huge struggles right now, as Lily has gotten bigger she gets so distracted and does all kinds of crazy things while nursing.
She wiggles so much, and grabs at everything possible – her feet, my skin, my hair, she pinches me, scratches me, rubs me… its comical sometimes. Her worst move is ripping her hair out in clumps. I especially hate this one because I get sad watching her hair go! My only way to distract or divert her from doing this has been to give her this stuffed monkey that she absolutely loves, and I think it is the funniest thing!
She holds on to this monkey for dear life and cuddles him instead of pulling her hair out! It is actually super cute, but now we have to nurse with him or else she gets too wild.
Upon research, I actually found it pretty neat that there are all sorts of feeders. Every baby is so unique. I am sure there are even more than this, but here are some examples from Dr. Sears:
The Marathoner is always hungry. This breastfeeding baby seems to want to feed continuously and can never get enough. This usually happens when baby goes through a growth spurt and they need more nutrients. Babies also go through high needs periods where they need to suck and be held frequently. If your baby is going through a high needs day don’t feel guilty about putting aside other responsibilities. Baby is more important than any chores around the house.
Mr. Suck-a-Little, Look-a-Little
Mr. Suck-a-Little, Look-a-Little usually pops up between two to six months. This curious little guy will suck for a minute, look away for a minute, go back to sucking, and then get distracted again. This is because baby’s vision is developing, and they are noticing more things in their surroundings. Dad walking by, or the family pet scurrying into the next room peak baby’s curiosity, and he will look away from feeding time. Try breastfeeding baby in a dark room with no distractions. A sling can also help because it shields him from what is going on around him.
The Nipper-Napper breastfeeding baby likes to eat and sleep on and off. He will feed for a couple of minutes, take a short nap, and then go right back to feeding. This occurs in the early weeks when some babies prefer sleeping to eating. As he grows older he will get the feeding finished before he nods off.
The Gourmet Feeder
The Gourmet Feeder savors every last drop of their meal. She will do anything to prolong a meal. Baby licks, sucks, fondles, nestles, and goes to great lengths to draw out feeding time. If you have the time let her indulge herself. Breastfeeding is a phase of life with baby that passes all too quickly. Enjoy your time with your little foodie.
The Yanker Breastfeeding Baby
The Yanker is a painful breastfeeding baby personality. He will turn his head while sucking but forget to let go. This may be amusing the first time but the novelty wears off quickly. Use the clutch hold to secure the back of baby’s neck in your hand. This will stop his eager little head from turning at inopportune moments. Feeding baby in a sling also has the same effect. The sling will secure the back of his head and stop him from making sudden jerks. Be on your guard with the Yanker. Be ready to insert your finger into baby’s mouth to break the suction just as baby begins to pull away.
The Chomper is a close relative of the Yanker. This one tends to bite down while feeding. She does this because babies start to experience gum pain around five to six months. When they feel this discomfort in their gums the tendency is to bite down on something for relief. Before feeding, let baby gum your index finger or a teething ring so she can get the chewing out of the way ahead of time. Also use your index finger to depress baby’s lower jaw if you feel her start to press down.
The Twiddler is a sometimes amusing and sometimes annoying breastfeeding baby. Between six and nine months babies love to use their hands to pinch the breast (annoying) or grab the face (amusing). Be sure to discourage them from grabbing the other nipple while feeding. Try putting a favorite toy in her hand to keep her busy little hands occupied while feeding.
The Gymnast is the most physical of breastfeeding baby personalities. This prospective Olympic swimmer kicks his leg as you begin feeding. Babies’ legs are surprisingly strong, and it doesn’t feel very good when they kick you in the chest during a feeding. Feeding in a sling helps contain this guy. The “toddler tuck” is an effective maneuver to use as well. This works by wedging baby’s legs between your arm and body while baby is in the cradle hold. Babies can also kick because they feel their legs dangling. Try to hook his leg over your arm to give him a feeling of security.
The Snacker makes an appearance as the breastfeeding baby turns into a toddler. She likes to eat on the run. Toddlers like to move around a lot more so they have less patience for long feedings. The Snacker gets into this habit of short feedings as a sort of pit stop. She likes to run around and play more but needs to return to a familiar place in the midst of her adventures.
The Pouncer is the other breastfeeding baby personality that happens as they mature into toddlerhood. This toddler will descend upon you while you are resting and go right underneath your shirt for a feeding. This can be one of more painful personalities if she doesn’t pounce gently. This urge to pounce will usually happen when she sees you sitting in a place where she is used to feeding. You may need to become a mobile mommy and rest in unfamiliar feeding places to baby.
How to discourage bad feeding manners
There are several things to do that I have discovered in order to discourage bad habits while nursing.
First and foremost, start early on while trying to get rid of these habits. Discourage it from the beginning. I know I didn’t at first, and I am paying for it now because she had thought it is okay. Babies are incredibly smart and they will catch on to “no”. If she has gotten to the point where it is too bad, I have set her down and give her a minute and restart and that way she sees that is not okay.
Next, enter the toy for a distraction. My friend had told me to give her something else to hold so that it keeps her calm, and that has worked so well. That is where the cute little monkey comes in. She likes to cuddle soft stuffed animals anyway so this one works best for her.
When we are at home, I try to have a spot just for us, so that she knows it is feeding time. We have a rocking chair we sit in, with a pillow and her little monkey. Every time I even walk up to that chair, she knows she is about to eat and she gets all excited for food! I typically try to nurse her before leaving the house and plan our trips around her nursing schedule because it has just gotten way too difficult to even try to feed her in public anymore as she gets way too distracted. If I do have to feed her while we are out, I will sit in the car and that works so much better. I have learned for our breastfeeding journey specifically, that she leads and I follow, and I try to just do what works for her and keeps her comfortable to make sure she eats enough and gets everything she needs.
So, as part of this breastfeeding series, each week I am going to feature a mom or two that has successfully breastfed, is breastfeeding, or one that has chosen not to breastfeed with each of their stories in hopes that whatever struggle you may be having, that you can find a mom to connect with on that level. Of course, I would like to thank those of you who have already reached out to me with your stories and struggles, and I am always willing to lend an ear.
Here is Sarah Hocks Story
“My name is Sarah and I am a mama of three. I have been very blessed to be able to breastfeed all three from the moment they first arrived to when they each chose to wean themselves. I am currently still nursing my youngest at 16 months.
Do you have any advice for these acrobatic feeders? If so, please comment or send me an email!
Join me next week as I go over best foods for nursing and feature 2 more awesome Moms!
Check out Part Three here