My six-month-old is very distracted during nursing. We can’t seem to make it through a feeding; what can I do?
This is a common concern for parents. Beginning around five to six months, babies can become very distracted while nursing. As your child is more aware of his/her surroundings it can become more difficult to figure out whether they are done nursing, or just interested in a little bird outside the window.
One tactic is to nurse in a dark room—no music, no chatting—just you and baby. Some women opt for making or purchasing “nursing necklaces” with large beads or charms on them. This way the baby can play with the necklace while feeding, and stay more attentive to the breast. The necklace is only used during feeding sessions.
Another option is to have an intense play session right before nursing and then retreat to a quiet place. This approach should allow the baby to have the best of both worlds. Lastly, try nursing before your baby is fully hungry. If you are used to nursing every three hours, try offering the breast at two and a half hours. It may be that the desire to eat is so intense at three hours that your baby has trouble settling down to nurse. If you are concerned that the distraction is leading to diminished eating by your baby, talk to your pediatrician about other possible causes.
Kelly LaChance-Guertin BA, CCE, CD (DONA), CLC, has been a birth and postpartum doula for the past five years. She is currently a certified birth doula through DONA (Doulas of North America) and a certified childbirth educator. As the co-owner of Bellani Maternity and the mother of two, she experiences first-hand the struggle of balancing work and family, as well as the realities of raising children. Visit to learn more about Kelly’s one-stop resource for pregnancy and parenting.