Nursing Woes {Baby Playing While Breastfeeding}

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What to do when your baby wants to play instead of breastfeed

That little grin is so cute. The curiosity of your baby is precious. The look of wonder is magical…until it isn’t. When you are breastfeeding a baby who suddenly won’t eat and wants to just look around, your stress levels can easily rise. You start wot worry the baby isn’t eating enough. If you have other children, you can’t very well sit and sit and sit while baby decides to get back to eating.

What to do when your baby wants to play instead of breastfeed

As wonderful as nursing is, there are also plenty of difficulties associated with it, especially your first time around. Does it hurt at first? Well, for me it did. I have heard from many women that it is the same for them, though I do know some who experienced not pain (not even engorgement!). My second time, engorgement wasn’t bad at all and I had no pain from nursing (until the yeast infection hit…).

I think one of the biggest difficulties with nursing comes when the baby is too distracted to eat a full meal without “popping off” ever couple of minutes. This was a major difficulty with Brayden, and it started around 3 months old. He usually had no one around–it was just me and him at home all day with no real distractions. I would laugh because he seemed to want to make sure the plant hadn’t moved or something. He is still that way–he can’t stand to miss one bit of action. I just sat and patiently waited for him to decide to eat more. Once we weaned and he could drink his milk and still look around the room, he drank well without the “popping.”

Kaitlyn also does it on occasion, though not to the degree of my first and she started showing signs of it at an older age. As soon as she started it, I would immediately put her back into nursing position to get her to latch back on. I wanted to avoid that game if possible. It works most of the time, but sometimes she is insistent upon looking around, and in that case I let her look for a bit, then put her back into position. Nursing her at church is a nightmare because we are in the mother’s room, and they have a feed so you can hear the speaker. She is always unlatching and trying to find the speaker in the room. That is why I usually do a bottle at church.

So how can you minimize the “popping off” syndrome? Here are some of my ideas:

  • As I just described, put baby back into nursing position immediately. Don’t let her start the game. Let her look around all she wants once the meal is over, but try to get her into the habit of eating first then playing.
  • You can try going into a room you can make completely dark (or as dark as possible) with as few noises and other distractions as possible. This isn’t fool-proof, but it might help.
  • You can see if covering with a blanket helps at all.
  • Hold your baby close to (cradle tightly).
  • Try to relax and focus so your let-down will come quickly. Some moms think baby pops off because she is impatient for the let-down.
  • Burp baby in case gas is the culprit.
  • See if you just need to switch sides or if baby is done eating. At some point, Kaitlyn suddenly started nursing really fast. It takes her only a few minutes to drain each side. Once it is basically empty, that is when she starts the off and on thing. I just have a hard time believing she can eat that fast and I put her back on. Sometimes she comes off for distractions, but mostly it is because she is basically done with that side. It is nice now that she signs “all done” when she is done with one side!
  • If baby is old enough, encourage her to communicate when she is done nursing or done with one side.

As always, if you have further insights, please add!

Breastfeeding Twins? Check out this valuable resource guide for breastfeeding twins

Related Breastfeeding Posts:

What to do when your baby wants to play instead of breastfeed

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Anonymous
    March 27, 2008 / 10:08 PM

    Wow– you wrote this posting especially for me- I know it!! This is exactly what I am dealing with, with my 5 month old. It is so hard because it is almost a fight to get him to focus. I have been fishing through your postings on moving to a four hour schedule because I am not sure if he is just not hungry or more interested in looking around? But I am so happy to hear that I am not alone. The way I have been able to manage it best (although not ideal to say the least) is BF right when he wakes up from a nap, still a bit sleepy and not as active. But like you, I go through the exact same thing at church in our mothers-room and nursing in semi-public, even having a conversation with my husband is impossible.Thank you so much for your blog- I just discovered it a week or so ago and I enjoying checking in each day!Megan:-)

  2. John and Amanda
    March 28, 2008 / 4:22 AM

    I started having the same problem with Caden at around 5 months or so. If there is any noise in the house whatsoever he will have to look around for it! My poor husband walks on eggshells when we are nursing. I have also found, like Megan, that nursing as soon as he wakes up, before a diaper change, etc… is best. Also, he still sleeps swaddled/semi-swaddled and I have found that the more wrapped up he is the better he nurses, so I wait to unswaddled him (if he is still swaddled when he wakes up) until we finish nursing, or even a bottle for that matter. His newest nursing/bottle game is to try and grab our noses… so the swaddling helps control that, too!

  3. swanny
    March 28, 2008 / 4:29 AM

    I was just looking on your site yesterday to see if you had any tips on making sure that your little one was getting a full feeding if they have started to become distracted. I must agree with Megan, you wrote this post just as I needed it. First let me appologize for the length of this post- I wanted you to have as much information as needed. I truly do value your opinion. Lately my daughter, 3 months old, has started doing this (pulling off during a feeding)on occasion (1-2x per wk and always at our 3:30 (we are currently on a 3hr schedule). During the week she is watched by a fellow BW mom who keeps her on a good schedule and tells me if she is off/went down late for naps/woke up early, so I am not worried about her routine being messed with. Her 3:30 feeding is as soon as I can make it there after work which is usually between 3:25 and 3:40 at the latest. One problem is my daughter is consistantly waking up early at 3. We have cut her wake time down from 1 hr to 50 min for all her cycles except her last one before bed which means she eats, gets her diaper changed and about 10 minute later is back down. She goes down well- hardly ever any crying although sometimes she lays in bed and talks to herself for about 10 minutes before finally falling asleep.When I get there at 3:30 and try to nurse her she pulls off frequently and will start to cry if I dont stop and let her look around. Question 1: Could her being over stimulated cause her to become distracted? Usually when I get there she is just laying looking at herself in the mirror, is sitting in her Boppy watching the other two children at blanket time, or is in her bouncer. The activity doesnt seem to make a difference. During the weekend she tends to do better (I feed her early 10 minutes of her waking). Question2: Am I messing with her schedule by feeding her early on the weekends? Is that contributing to her waking early during the week?Once I did not try as hard as I could have to give her a full feeding and she woke at 4am- the only time she has ever woken in the MOTN since she started sleeping through. I have since then been offering her a bottle if she wont nurse well to ensure a full feeding. Question 3: Am I doing her a disservice by offering a bottle instead of teaching her to “tune out” distractions to focus on eating?(I nurse her in a quiet, semi dark room. She wont nurse with a blanket over her and I always burp her before, in the middle of and after feedings and I dont think that gas is the issue).

  4. Anonymous
    March 28, 2008 / 2:40 PM

    Thank you for your posting Swanny– as I want to chime in as well with the same concern wondering if there is anyone else that could provide some insight. I too worry about the same issue of BF when they are so easily distracted: First, milk supply. I don’t want this to drop so I find myself feeling that I need to pump after a questionable BF session. Second, of course I hate getting off schedule with possible snacking?Thoughts from anyone would be great. As I mentioned in my above post I was wondering if slowly moving to a 4 hour schedule would be the answer (we have been on a 3 hr since day 1.)Also with Swanny I find it easier to pump and give a bottle but am I giving into the behavior?Thank you so much- I also value the opinions from other BW mommies:-)Megan

  5. Plowmanators
    March 29, 2008 / 3:00 AM

    Megan, you definitely are not alone–it is quite common! Thanks for the thanks!

  6. Plowmanators
    March 29, 2008 / 3:02 AM

    Thanks Amanda!

  7. Plowmanators
    March 29, 2008 / 3:36 AM

    Swanny,I have found that at the 3:30 feeding I have the least amount of milk.It is possible that she is upset because she is overly hungry by the time you get there. She could be so hungry she is impatient for the let-down. Also, she might be distracted there. Do you nurse her in the room with the other kids? If not, can she hear them where you are nursing? She might do better if you can take her to a quiet room. When you say you nurse in a quiet room, is that at this house? If she is being fed via bottle there, she is used to being able to see while she is eating at that house. To nurse takes away her “entertainment.”Q2: I would doubt it. She should lean toward her norm, which would be the 5 days of the week rather than the 2 of the weekend.Q3: It is possible. I have read babies can prefer the bottle because it is easier to drink from, though I don’t know if that is true. She might insist upon it because she is used to it throughout the day? There really isn’t anything you could do if that is the case. I do know women who have pumped and bottlefed breastmilk for a year.

  8. Thomas
    March 29, 2008 / 4:02 AM

    Valerie,My LO has the same problem, 11 weeks old, she does not take a full feeding 70% of time. I have done my parental assessment and have come up with the following conclusions.1. She has some pain which prevents her from eating- I have tried burping her, which has helped.Infact she only eats after she burps all that gas out.2. she is irritated by the fast let down, which comes very forcefully that she pulls away and let the stream go into the air. She is also swallowing a lot of gas here due to the fast let down, which is again the reason for her pain.3. Plain distraction at other times, which is evident when I pump and feed her from a bottle.So basically, she is waking up after 2 hours sometimes 1 and half to feed again. I have been trying to distract her, works most of the time and ends up giving us a 2and half hour schedule.She eats better when she is drowsy thats where I suspected the pain issue.Many times we end up having a play, feed and nap schedule because she is waking up early and I am trying to distract her until next feeding time. And the feed will be close to the nap. What do you do in such a situation, Do you give importance to the feed, play, nap sequence[ in my case then you would fall in the 2 hour schedule]Or distract her and some how get on the 3 hour schedule. I hope I am clear with my questions.Raichel.

  9. Plowmanators
    March 29, 2008 / 4:03 AM

    Megan,You might try a combo 3-3.5 schedule or even a combo 3-4 hour schedule. If you have nursed since birth, by 5 months your milk supply should be established. There were times Kaitlyn would not nurse well and I just moved on, but no bottle. My guess would be that you are more likely to compromise milk supply if you offer a bottle following a feeding than if you wait until the next feeding. Of course, if you feel the need to do a bottle, I would be sure to pump.

  10. Plowmanators
    March 29, 2008 / 4:41 AM

    Raichel, Have you looked into other medical issues, or are you sure it is just gas?When Brayden got up early, I focused on the cycle. But I don’t think that is the best solution. I think you want to get the metabolism stabelized. Also, see this post:Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle:

  11. Anonymous
    March 30, 2008 / 10:54 PM

    Raichel,I went through the same thing at 12 weeks and I ended up contacting a lactation consultant. She told me that they (babies) end up figuring out how to manage the strong let-down and to keep trying. I just kept at it and it eventually worked itself out. I am not sure about the gas issue but just to share my experience- my LO was terribly gassy early on, I cut out my dairy and his gas went away over night! Seriously. So that could be something to play with. I have learned that it is all about trial and error:-)I hope this helps- but at least you know that you are not alone!MeganPS. Thanks Plowmanators- a combo schedule has worked GREAT these past few days (when he is hungry he is much less distracted!)

  12. Plowmanators
    March 31, 2008 / 3:46 PM

    Megan, thanks for adding your experience! And I am glad things have gotten better 🙂

  13. Thomas
    March 31, 2008 / 10:44 PM

    Thanks Ladies. Things are getting better. I have understood that consistency is the key. She has moved to a 3 -3.5 hr schedule now since the last 2-3 days. I hope it remains the same, and with a little bit of fussing or whimpering it out, she has been sleeping 7 hrs at night now. We are definitely behind, but thanks to Babywise and Valerie and all you ladies, we are slowly getting there. And oh, once she has started sleeping 7 hrs at night, she is taking full feedings[ of course needs to be burped frequently and thoroughly] and napping 2-2.5 hrs. Yeahhhhhhh!! I hope this will continue.

  14. Plowmanators
    April 1, 2008 / 8:15 PM

    Thanks for sharing that–it is great to hear success stories!

  15. swanny
    April 4, 2008 / 3:25 PM

    Val,Thanks for your advice, I had the sitter try and give her a bottle instead of waiting for me this past week and she did the exact same thing- cried and cried,and then eventually took the bottle (after 10 min) and ate 4.5 oz- which is what she usually has. My DD hasnt really ever had a “fussy time” before. I know that they are usually in the evenings, but do you think that she could just happen to have a fussy time earlier than normal?

  16. swanny
    April 7, 2008 / 3:28 AM

    Just wanted to let you know I figured out what is going on- she is teething! She starting being “fussy” at nearly all of her feedings yesterday and starting drooling/ sucking on her fingers constantly. I put my finger in her mouth and low and behold- two little bumps! Hopefully they come in fast so things go back to normal

  17. Plowmanators
    April 7, 2008 / 3:57 AM

    Swanny,I am glad you got that figured out! Teething pains can happen months before any teeth actually come in, so don’t be surprised if none come through. Babies seem to have the hardest time with teething before the first tooth and with the first tooth (then molars start and a new world of pain).

  18. KJackson213
    September 2, 2008 / 1:32 AM

    I was hoping somebody could help me out! I have read Babywise, although I am finding it difficult now to even stick with a feeding schedule, as the baby is CONSTANTLY rooting (5 weeks old). Even before, she was always rooting and we give her a passy. She will only eat 10 minutes worth of food total, and then ten minutes later she will root, so I will put her on and she will pull off. She will play this game for a long time. I dont know if its something Im doing or not. She’ll be really fussy if she doesn’t get it. Everyone else seems to have such an easy time, and most babies seem to do the 3 hr schedule naturally. BUT, she’ll sleep a straight seven hours at night without food! Somebody help as I am close to giving up breastfeeding because sometimes it can take an hour to feed her 10 minutes worth because she just sits there. I do have milk, bc Ive pumped afterwards to make sure. Any advice would be appreciated.

  19. Ihave2boys
    September 3, 2008 / 6:17 PM

    I’m looking forward to hearing the answer to this one. I have a 10 week old and am wondering if BW will work with him while breastfeeding. I struggled and struggled with my first son and he finally did BW good at about 6 months or so. I breastfed him over a year. This time though, I’m really struggling with the gassiness in my LO and it is taking him almost an hour to get a full feeding – and then no “waketime?” I know he needs to play for his development. His waketime is mainly spent eating. I have a very forceful letdown, and am working on that. But most of the advice for that doesn’t line up with BW (nursing one breast per feeding and doing short, frequent feedings). Any advice here would be appreciated as well.

  20. Ihave2boys
    September 5, 2008 / 6:13 PM

    Kjackson213, its been a few days since you posted. I know you’re waiting to hear back. How are you? I hope you haven’t given up. Breastfeeding your baby is so much more important than a schedule anyway. Maybe we’ll hear something soon!

  21. Plowmanators
    September 5, 2008 / 8:24 PM

    KJackson213, She most likely is wanting to suck for comfort. If she takes a full feeding the first time, she doesn’t need to “eat” 10 minutes later. A pacifier might help her with this (I am unlcear if it does or not?). Make sure she takes a full feeding at each meal, then you can be sure any sucking she wants to do beyond that is purely non-nutritional, which is fine (on a paci, she doesn’t need to suck on you all day).

  22. Plowmanators
    September 8, 2008 / 7:47 PM

    Ihave2boys, I apologize if you don’t think I am getting to you fast enough; I do it as fast as I can. I literally spend hours each day answering questions, but I do have a family to take care of also, and I do this for free.I know a lot of moms who only feed one side per feeding. It is what the Baby Whisperer recommends. She says your supply will regulate and you will make enough in one side to feed baby a full feeding. I don’t have experience with a forceful letdown, but could you start the let down, pull baby off while it is shooting out, then put baby on to eat once it was done gushing?I would work to get your feedings faster–whether you do BW or not, a 10 week old is a 10 week old and can only handle successfully so much time awake at a time. Good luck!

  23. Ihave2boys
    September 8, 2008 / 9:32 PM

    Plowmanators, please forgive me for offending you. I’m sure you have your hands full and know that you are sacrificing a lot to help other moms. It is greatly appreciated and you may never know how much of a blessing you are to others. I’ve read through a lot of your blogs and am so amazed at your wisdom and insight. I seriously didn’t mean to offend when I posted to kjackson213. I heard the frustration with her issue and sincerely didn’t want her to give up on breastfeeding. I also have been very frustrated and wanted to quit at times.Thanks for your reply. I haven’t read the Baby Whisperer (just Babywise – actually Along the Infant Way), but think I’m going to get it because someone else mentioned it to me as well. Thanks again.

  24. Plowmanators
    September 8, 2008 / 10:59 PM

    No worries, I am not offended. I just wanted you to know I am working my way through comments as quickly as I can :). There are a whole lot of them!The baby whisperer might be a good idea for you, especially with your forceful let down. I would imagine it would be better for baby to eat on only one side at a time with that going on.

  25. KJackson213
    September 10, 2008 / 1:03 AM

    ihave2boys, to answer your question I am doing somewhat better! I took my baby to the doctor yesterday, and she gave her zantac for her acid reflux; she said pulling off like that can be indicative of it hurting (shes always had the reflux- she just spits up and swallows it most of the time). She also coughs frequently and salivates alot which is supposedly indicative of GERD. That also explains why she doesn’t want to eat as much, and does it slower. So today, she has taken mostly full feedings and is on her fourth nap, which is great for her as she could barely do one before, and especially without waking up 30minutes later. I hate having to give my baby medicine, but I also hate to think of my baby in pain. She was so happy today too- smiled more than Ive ever seen her smile. Its just been one day though! Ill let you know how it goes! Also, I’m thinking acid reflux babies want to eat sooner thinking it will relieve their pain; I know it works this way with me so why not baby?! So I think thats why shes rooting 10 minutes after a feeding. Plowmanators, thank you for your advice! Yes Ive tried a pacifier; she took it for a while, but she doesnt like it as much now bc the past three- four days she had been getting the breast every time she rooted- I was doing an experiment, see what woudl happen if I fed her more. Also, I was afraid she may be going through a growth spurt so I was afraid to use the passy. I’m gonna try to get her back on it for those times! At least let her practice daily :).

  26. Ihave2boys
    September 10, 2008 / 11:48 AM

    Great! I’m so glad you’re doing better! Our nursing is getting better as well, one step at a time. Calming down this oversupply has thrown the schedule off a lot, but I’m trying to work back to it.

  27. Plowmanators
    September 12, 2008 / 8:09 PM

    KJackson, I am glad you got medication for your baby–it sounds like she has silent reflux which is actually worse than the kind that spits out because then they get burnt twice, going up and going down.Do be aware and on the lookout that zantac often loses effectiveness after a while, so if she reverts back to past behavior, keep that in mind as a possible reason. Be sure to see the babywise and reflux post also.Babywise and Reflux:

  28. Becky
    October 8, 2008 / 8:12 PM

    I am dealing with this. David is 4 mo old and is popping off to watch his 2 yr old brother play. I cannot leave the 2 yr old unattended for too long, so David has not been taking in a full feeing and my milk supply being compromised. This leads also to a HUNGRY baby when it is time for nap…leading to no nap at all! This also leads to him nursing at the 3 hr time, but falling asleep. I have been stuck in this rutt, and need help. I don’t want to loose my milk, and also don’t want him to fall asleep when he is nursed. I am taking one day at a time, but they seem to get worse each day!

  29. KJackson213
    October 8, 2008 / 9:47 PM

    What I did for my milk supply issue is if she doesn’t eat enough, I pump. Then I dont lose my milk and hope that at the next feeding she’ll take more milk. Another thing I do is sometimes I will cover my shoulder with a plain white blanket and she will focus. Mine’s only 10.5 weeks old, but she still gets distracted so I hacve to deal with this also!

  30. Becky
    October 9, 2008 / 12:30 PM

    Thanks KJackson! I hope to get this resolved soon!

  31. Plowmanators
    October 9, 2008 / 8:38 PM

    Becky, I gave you my ideas on the other post you asked this. Good idea KJackson about pumping. You could then save it and see if he will take it in a bottle after you try nursing.

  32. Becky
    October 9, 2008 / 9:02 PM


  33. Mahal
    October 17, 2008 / 12:11 AM

    Hi, I have a quick question: my 14WO daughter use to nurse for about 45 minutes total, then it went down to 25 minutes. Lately she’s been nursing for about 10 to 15 minutes total. Is there something wrong?

  34. KJackson213
    October 18, 2008 / 4:26 PM

    Hey! I had this same issue with my daughter, but my lactation consultant said its completely normal because babies become more efficient as they get older. Theyll take in more but it will take less time, which is great! As long as your breasts are as full RIGHT after let down as they normally were before, your producing the same amount of milk.Also, I have posted a question about naps three different times (in the last two weeks), and I havent gotten an answer so I dont know if theres something wrong with the nap posts!! So I’ll ask it here. My daughter is 12 weeks old and sleeping 11 hours at night…normallyt they still have 4naps at that age but since she is sleeping so much at night should she only need three? Her naps have been 45 minutes since she was 8 weeks old (when she started sleeping 8 hrs) with a sporatic 2 hour nap maybe once a day or every other day. Im wondering if shes trying to drop a nap, even though she appears tired before every nap! PLEASE HELP!

  35. Plowmanators
    October 20, 2008 / 10:11 PM

    Mahal, most likely not. Watch diaper output. Kaitlyn got down to taking less than 5 minutes total to nurse both sides. She was fast. KJackson has some great advice for you to check.

  36. Plowmanators
    October 20, 2008 / 10:18 PM

    KJackson, Since her naps are only 45 minutes long, no I wouldn’t say she needs only three yet. It is possible–some do drop it as early as 3 months. You can try it and see what she does, but be aware that it is possible it would affect her nighttime sleep if she isn’t ready to drop it yet.

  37. Esther
    December 17, 2008 / 4:27 PM

    Hello, there. First let me say how wonderful what you do is. Thank you. I read Babywise, and while it is VERY informative, there are a few things that I have a little trouble understanding in it. I have a 13 week old boy. I have been playing with the babywise routine (eat,wake,sleep) for several weeks, but have only gotten serious about scheduling (specific wake times, etc) in the past three days. So, I am kinda starting late. I am a new mom, and have been really worried about milk production, and then once I was convinced that was ok, I have started to think he has silent reflux. So, he has started Zantac. My first question is at thirteen weeks, how long would you guess he would nurse for? I know all babies are different. The problem is that I think he would just nurse on and on out of instinct. I have been taking him off after twenty minutes on each side. However, since I have started the BW routine, that means he only has 10-20 minutes of waketime after that (I have started following your example schedule for Kaitlyn at 3 months). That doesn’t seem like very much for an almost 3 month old. So, do you have any ideas on how to tell when they are “done” if they are still sucking? One other question, on your example schedule for Kaitlyn for three months you said she is a big sleeper. Is that schedule still something I should aim for if I don’t know if he is a big sleeper? I am such a rookie! One other question (sorry!!) The book says that if a baby is waking up fussy it probably means that they are not getting enough sleep. My little guy either wakes up crying, or I have to wake him up to eat. He never wakes up happy, cooing, etc. Is that a problem? I’m not sure if the whole “wake up happy” thing takes time to work itself out or what. Again, thank you SO MUCH for all your work. You really have no idea how valuable this site is for me.

  38. Esther
    December 17, 2008 / 5:04 PM

    Sorry, one more thing to clarify the nursing question. He sometimes falls asleep while nursing, after 8 minutes or so. I wake him up and he has a strong suck for a little while and then he falls asleep again. Maybe he falls asleep when i am empty? Thank you!

  39. Plowmanators
    December 29, 2008 / 9:10 PM

    Esther,Thanks for your thanks! Length…it does vary. I have heard (and I can’t remember where so take it for what it is worth) that after 20 minutes a baby should have drained a side. If that is true, then you needn’t nurse longer than 20 minutes per side. At that age, Brayden was just dropping from 60 minutes to 30-40 minutes to eat. Kaitlyn was about 10-15 total to eat. Very different.The best I can tell you is that with time you will get it and he will get it. If he does have reflux, he probably likes to suck for comfort. You could try a pacifier after he is done nursing and see if that satisfies that need. I would recommend you take some time to pay attention to only him while he is nursing. No reading, no TV, etc. Pay attention and really get to know the process. Work to keep him awake. See the posts on that. That length of waketime is common for a young baby, especially if they are long nursers. It will soon get better. Kaitlyn took long naps for all of her naps, so your son’s naps might not be as long if he isn’t a big sleeper. So keep that in mind.Waking up happy usually doesn’t really start until around 4-5 months. I wouldn’t worry so much about it at this age, especially since you are starting a bit late.

  40. Kristi
    January 7, 2009 / 1:33 AM

    Val,Thanks again for all of your great advice. I have posted before, and you have really helped us out. My twins are now four months old, and they have been BF since birth. The last few days they have been pulling off after only 5 or 10 minutes and then refusing to go back on. I try burping them (and usually get a burp), but then they scream when I try to put them back on. Once one of them starts crying, the other does too, and then no one is eating and all three of us are upset. I don’t want to force them to eat if they are truly done, but I also want to make sure they are getting a full meal. I’ve tried to get rid of all distractions in the room (tv, other people, music, talking), but they still turn away. My question is how did you know Kaitlyn was actually done when she finished quickly? And out of curiosity when did her fast eating start to happen? Also, a lactation consultant told me it might be gas and to try a product called “gripe water.” Has anyone heard of it or know if it does any good? Thanks again for all your help!

  41. KJackson213
    January 7, 2009 / 6:55 PM

    I was browsing and I saw your post Kristi! I don’t know if gas is the problem or not but if you think it is, I used Colic Calm on my daughter for a while. I would lean more toward reflux, but if it hasnt been a problem in the past Im not sure. Anyway colic calm is amazing when dealing with gas. My daughter would be screaming bloody murder and then pass out 10 minutes later with relief after we gave it to her. Is it the same twin that starts the crying every time or does it vary? That might make a difference in the possible cause. Hope that helps a bit.

  42. Plowmanators
    January 10, 2009 / 9:56 PM

    Kristi,The fast feeding typically starts around 3 months old. That is when most get really fast. I think I just figured she was done because she suddenly started to get mad when I tried to get her to eat more. When she ate at her own speed, she still made it to the next feeding just fine.I haven’t ever used gripe water, but have heard good things. If it is gas, you can try that, what KJackson suggested (thanks!), or gas drops. If it is possible, you might try nursing them separately with just two of you in a room together. I don’t know if that would be possible, but it might help.

  43. Kristi
    January 13, 2009 / 10:26 PM

    Thanks for all your help everyone. Both of the boys are still coming off early, but it’s getting better. I can usually get them to both eat together for about 10 minutes, and then I feed them the rest of their meal individually in courses. I think the problem is gas because neither will go back on until they have burped, which can take awhile. I wish they were just really fast now, but I don’t think that is the case yet. When I let them eat as long as they want, they both wake up early. Thanks again for all your help! We’ll just keep on trying.

  44. Plowmanators
    January 20, 2009 / 5:47 PM

    Kristi, have you every tried gas drops? (mylicon drops). Brayden had really bad gas, and these were a must for him after each meal. You can also see the blog label “gas”–there are some other ideas from readers.

  45. Kristi
    January 21, 2009 / 3:56 AM

    Thanks again for your help. We have been trying the gripe water (the nurse at my doctor’s office said it is the same thing as mylicon), and it does seem to help. I’ve just decided to feed them seperately because they both eat better. I started seperate feedings because we were on vacation and around a lot of people, but now that we are home I just kept doing it, and it seems to be working better. Well, less convenient for me, but better for them. Thanks to babywise they are both very patient while they wait for their brother to eat. Sometimes I wonder what I would have done without BW! I probably would have gone crazy!!!

  46. Plowmanators
    January 24, 2009 / 10:36 PM

    You are welcome Kristi. No doubt, I bet you would have gone crazy! I can’t imagine twins without it (let’s be honest, I can’t imagine twins with it 😉 ).

  47. Paladinos9801
    August 21, 2009 / 5:25 PM

    Hi! I love, love, love your blog! I'm constantly on here checking out what you have to say about the various issues or problems I might be having on my first BW journey with our daughter. She's 8 months old, right now. She's grown increasingly distracted while nursing, and over the past week and a half, it's been nearly impossible at times. We're on a 4-hour schedule, and she takes 2 naps, plus an early evening cat-nap (just to give you an idea of where we're at). We started solids at 5 months, and that's been going pretty well ever since then. Right now, I feed her cereal after I nurse her at 7:30 AM, fruit/veggies after I nurse her at 11:30 AM, then just a straight nursing session at 3:30. Then I nurse her at 7 PM, followed by veggies & cereal (sometimes mixed together). I try to randomly substitute a bottle at one nursing each day (mostly formula). Three out of four of each day's feedings are going pretty well, but usually one out of the four goes horribly . . . and I'm just talking about the liquid portion, not the solids. She has no trouble with the solids, but is having a ton of difficulty with the liquid portion—both bottle and breast. Sometimes she won't take either one. I've tried serving the formula warm, and I've tried serving it cold. I've tried nursing in different locations. I just can't figure it out. She doesn't have any teeth yet, but I'm wondering if this is all symptomatic of teething. I can't tell if there are any "bumps" right now, but it just seems odd that she'll take the solids, but not the bottle or breast. I get worried about hydration. She's not adept at a sippy cup, yet, either. I've been giving her one to play with just so that she starts getting use to handling it, but she hasn't figured it out yet. Any thoughts or suggestions? She seems more interested in playing that eating most of the time, and I've tried just keeping her in nursing (cradle) position, but she gets quickly frustrated and is so strong and squirmy that it's hard to keep her there without her getting more frustrated (me, too!). She's not crawling yet, either, but I think she's on the verge. I'm thinking that could be part of the problem, too. She's napping fine, so there aren't any problems there. It's just the liquid portion of one feeding each day that is giving us the problem. Sorry for the long post. Just wanted to give you a full picture, so you can give me good input. Thanks for all you do!!!

  48. Plowmanators
    September 5, 2009 / 4:02 PM

    If she won't nurse at all, then it might be pain. If she nurses for a few minutes, it is likely that she is just really efficient and doesn't need it any longer than that. You might try a nursing necklace–which is just a necklace that you wear while nursing. She could look at it and play with it while eating and keep her distracted enough to eat.

  49. Stephanie
    November 5, 2009 / 1:48 AM

    I too am such a huge fan of your blog. I cannot tell you how often I have referenced it! Thank you so much for taking the time to help others. What a blessing!My sweet son is 3 months old. He is a huge baby (weighed 8lbs 10 oz at birth and is at 17 lbs right now). I am nursing exclusively and have been super careful b/c I lost my supply with my daughter but I seem to have had tons of milk this time. I have a forceful letdown as well but he was able to handle that by about 1.5 months. For the past month, he has only nursed on one side. He usually took about 7 minutes and then was finished and would not take the other side at all. He got an ear infection about 3 wks ago and he took an antibotic. I am not sure if it is related to that or not but from that point on, we have had MAJOR issues. He is only nursing about 2-3 minutes on one side which seems too fast and his naps have gone to 45 min or 1 hr and for a few naps, he has gone from crying about 10 mins to fall asleep to 1 hr of crying. I have such a hard time with letting him CIO when I am not sure if he is hungry. I feel like my supply is dropping as well. But here is the kicker. He takes a great feed at bedtime (10-15 mins per side) and then is waking 2 times a night and taking HUGE feeds. It is as if he has his days and nights mixed up calorie wise? He still sleeps from feed to feed at night but I am so tired! It seems like he should be sleeping longer at night at his weight and age! I just want him to take good full feeds during the day so we can break this cycle but I have no idea how. My pedi wanted me to start cereal but I do not think it is a calorie issue. He could nurse more during the day but just doesn't. Any suggestions would be SO appreciated. Blessings to you…

  50. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2009 / 5:32 PM

    Stephanie, are you sure that supply is still good? Do you still feel full during the day or empty after he nurses?One thing is that a lot of times, three month olds nurse/eat less for who knows what reason. McKenna did that. Then she went back to eating well again. I would look into milk supply especially with having lost it before. Also, is he in pain some way? A lot of reflux babies eat better in the night because they are more drowsy and the pain doesn't seem to bother them as much. I would look into that, also.

  51. Stephanie
    December 1, 2009 / 6:39 PM

    Thank you SO much. Things actually got a ton better in terms of taking full feeds during the day. I have one side that produces a TON (7-8 oz) and my weak side will only produce 2-3 oz when I pump (and that is from an end of the day feed). I think that is enough at this age right? I have actually wondered about reflux from day 1. He sleeps on his tummy which helped a ton in the beginning b/c he would cry so hard after feeds. I read what you said about one of yours having silent reflux which I think is what he has had. They even prescribed reflux meds and he took them for a while but it never seemed to help. He is super gassy. I mean horribly. Even the pedi said it was really bad by listening. I have tried everything to eliminate that as well. From changing my diet, to nursing him sitting up, to burping for 10 minutes to mylicon. Nothing has seemed to help. The worst is he is now 4 months and is STILL waking twice in the night to eat. I just may need to let him CIO now. I just don't know b/c it always seems to be gas that wakes him. Any thoughts would so help. Thanks again for your time.

  52. Kelly W
    February 6, 2011 / 5:58 PM

    I have the exact opposite problem… My daughter is almost 4 weeks old and is seeming to nurse longer and longer. She started out at 15 min a side from day one and it has slowly increased to about 30 min a side for most feedings. Is there anyway to encourage her to drink faster instead of taking her time? I have a 22 month old boy also so it is becoming harder to keep him occupied for each of her feedings. Could it have something to do with my milk not being adequate? She seems full after feedings but there are times that she will still root around after she has fed on both sides and pulled off on her own. I eat oatmeal every morning (read multiple places that it helps with milk supply), have one cup of the mother's milk tea a day, and pump once a day after her first feeding to totally drain both sides (usually get anywhere from 2.5-5 oz). I ended up exclusively pumping and bottle feeding my son to make sure that he had enough because I didn't like not knowing how much he was getting breastfeeding. Plus he was 9.6 lbs when he was born and took at least 40 min a side to nurse (drank 6 oz breastmilk bottles by 6 weeks old!) Really want to avoid going the pumping route with my daughter… I have her on a 2.5 hr schedule to get 8-9 feedings a day but there are at least a couple feedings a day that she is ready by 2 hrs.Any suggestions?

  53. Plowmanators
    February 21, 2011 / 11:18 PM

    Kelly,If she is 100% awake while eating, I don't know of any way to get faster. But do make sure she is awake the whole time.She could be growth spurting, in which case she will go back to faster feedings when the growth spurt is over.

  54. Leah
    February 22, 2011 / 4:21 AM

    My little girl is 8.5 months old and we are having trouble with her last nursing of the day. Have you ever heard of a baby not wanting to nurse before bed? She is doing the "distracted / off & on" stuff more and more too. We are doing a 5 feeding schedule, with no nap between the last two feedings. She is getting really tired by the last feeding and I think that may be why she won't eat well, but I just don't know what to do. Do you have any suggestions for me?

  55. Leah
    February 22, 2011 / 4:38 AM

    Something I forgot to add… She is also waking up around 6:00am really hungry! I would like her to make it until 7:00 or 7:30, and she has in the past, but not the last month or so. I am assuming it is because her last feeding of the day is the worst instead of the best, like it should be, right? We were trying the 4 feeding schedule, but then she didn't seem to be getting enough, so I went back to 5 feedings. How can I get her to eat enough at the right times so she can go back to sleeping later? (I want to add that my husband works 2nd shift and I often stay up until 1am or later waiting for him to get home, so our days start a little later than most people.)

  56. Leah
    February 23, 2011 / 2:52 AM

    So, I think I accidently figured out why she wasn't nursing well at her last feeding before bed. As I said, I was keeping her awake between her last two feedings and I thought she wasn't nursing because she was tired. That might be true, but it is also the only time I nurse her after being AWAKE. All her other nursing happen right after waking her up. Not sure how I'll solve this exactly, but today when she napped 6-7:30pm, she nursed fine when I work her up. What do you think about that? Should I put her down for a nap between her 4:30 & 7:45 feedings?

  57. Plowmanators
    March 3, 2011 / 11:01 PM

    Leah, my guess is it is caused by being tired–so not necessarily that she has been awake, but that she is tired. A lot of 8/9 month olds will still have that third nap in there, so if youfind things go more smoothly with it, I would have it for sure.

  58. wherewestand
    October 15, 2011 / 10:51 PM

    Valerie, thanks so much for writing this! I was feeling like pulling my hair out because today my 4 month old son has only been nursing about 6 minutes total (for both sides). He will nurse a few minutes on one side then pull off and fuss. I was like you and thought SURELY he can't nurse that quickly (the last several weeks he had already sped up to 10 minutes) and kept trying to convince him to continue and he would have none of it. I was relieved to read that you had a baby that nursed in a few minutes per side. Is that very common?A friend introduced me to your blog about a month ago and it has become a resource I use frequently as a first time mom. Thanks again!

  59. Plowmanators
    November 2, 2011 / 2:21 AM

    Wherewestand, I am glad to help!I don't think it is terribly common…that would be an interesting poll actually. I had a range. I had my oldest who was slower, my second who was a speedy girl, and my third who was in between. I *think* my third was more the average. It will be interesting to see a poll on that.

  60. Michelle
    November 22, 2011 / 11:25 PM

    Okay, I haven't seen anything on this site but was wondering if you or any readers have any experience or advice with nursing strikes. My 9-month old has been a great eater. He usually breastfeeds every 4 hours in the day. He now has two teeth and plays with biting me to say 'I'm done'. He's also got a lingering cough from an old cold, but has been checked and is ear infection free. For the last 1 1/2 days he will not nurse. If I hold him up to my breast he will try to bite it, try to turn away, or pull at it with his hands. Trying to encourage him to nurse by bringing him closer just results in more biting or back arching and screaming.So far I have been trying to breastfeed on the usual schedule and then pumping and feeding him with a sippy cup when he won't breastfeed. My questions are: how long does this last? Should I do anything different to encourage him to nurse again? Is he just weaning? (I was hoping to make it to 12 months.) Any advice is appreciated.

  61. Plowmanators
    December 7, 2011 / 3:54 AM

    Michelle,Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with it. If you would like, I can post it as a 'help a reader out question' or you could ask it in the Google group. Let me know!

  62. Kelly W
    December 10, 2011 / 9:23 PM

    Michelle, I had a similar problem with my daughter right around 9 months old. She was a great nurser the first 9 months and then just stopped! I could only keep her on for maybe 1-2 min a side, and I knew she wasn't getting enough because she would start waking early. She had just decided that she wasn't nursing anymore and weaned herself. I continued to pump every 4 hours and give her a bottle of breastmilk. She would suck it right down (we had given her a bottle for 1 feeding a day from 1 month old on). I pumped for 1 month and then slowly weaned off pumping and used up my freezer supply. Toward the end of that month, I started adding a little formula to her breastmilk bottle to get her used to the flavor before my freezer supply was gone. She had her first full formula bottle at 10.5 months old without a problem. I was disappointed when she first stopped breastfeed, but what can I do? She was done. She is happy, healthy, and content with formula now…

  63. Plowmanators
    December 27, 2011 / 11:43 PM

    Thanks for sharing your experience Kelly!

  64. Stonehouse's
    February 9, 2012 / 9:48 PM

    Hi Valerie,I'm a first-time mom and love your blog! My 10 week old daughter is a curious little one and has already started pulling off the breast to look around during feedings; she does so with the bottle as well. During at least one feed per day, often more, she will not take a full feed and will then wake up early from her nap. I have resorted to making her wake until her next feeding so that she is hungry enough to take a full feeding (I'm almost positive she is not going through a growth spurt). And she must not be taking enough daytime calories anymore either, since she's started waking up in the night again after doing great sleeping through the night since week 8. I have read a lot on your blog, online, and have talked to a lactation consultant. We have ruled medical problems in her and my supply has always been good, though this turn of events may be affecting it a little so I have been pumping after some feedings. I nurse her immediately after waking her in a dark, quiet room under a blanket and burp her whenever she seems to need it. My question for you is…what should I start doing about her schedule while I work on this problem? Right now we are feeding 6 times per day on a 3 to 3 1/2 hour schedule and then of course she has been adding her own nighttime feeding after having dropped it previously. I don't think she would eat well if I went back to 7 feeds per day, and I would feel like we're regressing even more. I sometimes wonder if she would eat better if I spaced out her feeds more during the day to every 3 1/2 hours…but still kept the 6 feeds – this of course would mean I would have to get up early and stay up late…I am at a loss. Should I just keep things as they are and hope she eventually drops the night feed or that her next growth spurt fixes the problem somewhat? Thanks!

  65. Stonehouse's
    February 13, 2012 / 8:35 PM

    Okay, I fixed my own problem…and now have more questions (of course). My husband and I took the controversial step of switching our 10 week old to 5 feeds in 24 hours from 6. She is now on a combination 3 1/2 to 4 hour schedule, and ate at 7:30, 11:30, 3:30, 7:00, and 10:20 yesterday. I did not have any desire to drop a feeding, but I feel that she has guided us in that direction and I'm following her lead. I realize that the medical community and your blog recommend at least 6 feedings per day at this age. I felt that Babywise is a little less clear on the matter (page 121). However, my daughter is a big baby (was 9 pounds at birth, and now is about 13 pounds), and it has worked as well! She actually seems hungry now and finally took full feeds every time without popping off the breast, and slept through the night. The only time she woke up on her own was 45 minutes before her dreamfeed, so today I am keeping the timing between morning feeds down to 3 hours 45 minutes to see if that helps keep her full enough so that doesn't happen. What a difference this made to our lives and sanity. I just wanted to put this out there in case any other moms of 10 week olds are having a problem with poor feedings and popping off the breast. Question for you Valerie: if I change her schedule so her last feed before the dreamfeed is at 6:30 pm, is that too early of a bedtime? I don't feel that she would tolerate me spacing her feeds closer together in order to drop the dreamfeed and give her a later bedtime. Any advice on scheduling at all would be appreciated. I feel she definitely needs at least 2 long naps in the morning, since that just sets the pace for her whole day, and she is still a huge sleeper (is able to take naps 2 1/2 hours or longer and still sleep through the night). I assume my next step (whenever it comes to that – hopefully not for awhile) is to drop the dreamfeed. Thanks.

  66. Plowmanators
    March 1, 2012 / 4:30 AM

    That would be a great bedtime. If you fed at 6:30, that shoudl end up with her in bed sometime between 7-7:30. I am glad you figured things out!

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