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Thread: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    So my 10 month old is a very distracted baby. Everything captures his interest and attention. This is fine, unless it's eating time.

    I was working ft outside the home, so I pumped at work, and nursed at night.

    So for the past 6 months, in evenings and weekends / we've been nursing in the bedroom, with the blinds closed and usually the door closed. No noise, no distractions, low light.

    If the cat comes scampering through, it's game over.

    I quit my job (woo hoo!) and am going back to the heaven of ebf (hate the pump!).

    Does anyone have experience with babies who are so distractible? I knew it was normal once they started "discovering the world" around 4-5 months, but he's 10 months now, and seriously it's not any better.

    He will refuse to eat when we're out and about - nursing covers are a joke.

    so I basically have to make sure I'm home every couple/few hours for him to eat.

    I have gone the approach of "He'll get hungry enough to eat" on a couple occasions only to go out to the in-laws. I'd take him to a quiet room and after quite a bit of exploring, he would resort to a quick feed...but I dont prefer that approach, and he gets crabby when he's hungry (of course) when we're out shopping, etc.

    I guess this may be it, since he will start taking in more and more food and less milk (we blw)...but I thought someone may have experience or advice. Or maybe just commiserate!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    I have a 5 month old who is very distractable as well, but I'm not sure how it's going to work out when she's big enough to really move around. She will really only eat well in my bedroom, but at this point I am able to turn on the lights and open the curtains...although it wasn't always like that! What if you made very tiny changes? Like for a few days or even a week, you gradually open the blinds on one side of the window, or something like that so he barely registers the change. Kind of like weaning off the darkness in the day time? Does he only eat lying down, or are you in a chair feeding in your room? I have also tried the straddle position, where you are sitting up and baby is kind of wrapped around you. My baby will do this from time to time and I make sure she is facing so she can see what her sister is doing.

    We also can't go anywhere for a long stretch of time. We did go hiking last weekend and she fed well on a blanket under a tree in the woods, but I made sure that my DH and DD were off doing something else. It was absolutely quiet except for the birds! We have to go to my mom's for 4 days this weekend, so I have no idea how that is going to go, mine won't even take a bottle! I'm a little worried...

    I totally feel your pain, though. Although, after much careful observation in my community I can honestly say I have never, ever seen a baby over maybe 5 months nursing contentedly in a loud, distracting situation. And we go out a lot, and we have a lot of mom friends. Maybe it's some kind of biological protective mechanism, baby feels a little vulnerable when their face is in the breast? I really have no idea just trying to make us feel better!
    and Mama to two little girls

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    And my bf experiences are somewhat limited, I do not have a lot (any) mommy friends to see how their babies are. I just was around my (ex) sisters-in-law when they bf their babies about 10 years ago...and they each would nurse no problem in the living room with company over...it was never an issue.

    I guess I thought/hoped he'd outgrow this phase, I mean, heck, he eats in 4-6 minutes! HA HA

    I guess I can try adding in more stimuli one at a time, it doesn't seem to work to well now. If the cat is just sitting on the bed not moving, it's enough to make him want to go get the cat and not eat.

    He nurses in the cradle position. Every now and then he will sit up and lean in to nurse, but that's rare and he thinks it's kind of a fun game. I've tried sitting him up, and he's just not interested. He's rather fickle the more I describe his behavior! LOL

  4. #4

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    This is actually very normal for this age (8-12 months)...sorry it started do early for you without a break! It often gets better as child moves past a year old or so. I don't know if things are more pronounced in your case due to baby being used to bottles during the day and only being nursed at night in the dark from when you were working, or not. Some babies are just way more distracted than others.

    My 9 month old also has a hard time nursing well when out. I can usually nurse her in the car, but it's still short sessions only until we get home. Movement around her bothers her more than anything else-she will nurse ok in church while everyone is standing around us singing, but not in the park when little kids are running by. If I am chatting with friends forget it, she wants to talk too. Nursing covers have never worked for me- my kids find them way more distracting than not using anything. But it is sometimes possible to find a quieter corner to relax and have a quick nurse in. Some folks have luck nursing in slings/wraps. I would definitely try different positions, a 10 month old might be getting little ‘big’ for cradle.

    Assuming your baby is healthy overall, I think you can maybe look at nursing the same way you are probably looking at solids, since you are doing BLW-if baby wants it, baby will take it! Keep providing access and watch for cues. A healthy 10 month old is not going to let himself starve. If you co-sleep or in another way are 'available' so baby can nurse at night, this can help get through distractible times without serious issues.

    I found an excellent companion book to the BLW book is "My Child Won't Eat" by Carlos Gonzalez. VERY eye opening about normal baby/child eating behaviors, breast feeding and solids.

    If baby is really not nursing enough to be a problem, you can try the ideas for nursing strikes here and on kellymom.com?

    Animals are fascinating to babies. So I am not surprised he would rather play with the cat!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    Thanks, Meg! I will look into that book.

    He's definitely not on a strike (we went through daytime strikes before), it's just more of a when we're out running errands, he will fuss because he's hungry, but not want to focus for 4 minutes to nurse.

    I'm not really too worried about his overall intake, as I can mostly accomodate him in being in quiet, dark areas....but it would be more convenient (ha) if he would nurse in the car like he used to. I still do nurse him 1-2 times overnight (not counting before bed and wake up).

    I guess we'll just continue on...I'll try some other nursing positions out too - what do you use at this age?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    I could have written your post. Firstly I feel your frustration and I am the same boat. DD is just over 10 months, started crawling a few weeks ago and this weekend has been absolutely terrible. Had a real good cry today.

    I am slowly trying to make the transition from pumping and bf (due to an inoperable TT) to EBF. Well, I have to as DD has been refusing all my expressed milk and water in any bottle, form or utensil for weeks and will only bf. I already feel that our bf relationship is quite vulnerable and the 10 month explosion of curiosity and mobility is driving me nuts. Before bed, at 4am and until we get up she does fine but the rest of the day is a battle. Went shopping with my sis yesterday and to the May fair today and I was a wreck. DD just wriggles, twists and turns, kicks everything to bits, pops on and off just at let down leaving me soaked, jumps up at the sound of a pin drop, and flashes my boobs to everyone. Home is a little bit better but now I feel I can't go anywhere for long. Tied to the pump and a hyper baby.

    Tried her sitting on my lap facing me which helps and also going to a dark bedroom to lie down. But as said today was awful. She couldn't even stay on long enough for more than a few sips or just latched and did nothing. I know she is dropping feeds as she is getting more into food (doing BLW) but this sucks at the moment.

    All I can do is keep offering, praise her when it goes well, keep trying and when it gets too stressful, just let her be and walk away. She def knew I was upset today. Teething also plays a role and is making her already weak latch sloppy too. Sigh. We sleep together so I can make the most of when she will drink.

    I pump anyway but you might want to think of pumping now and again if you think it was a bad day to maintain your supply and use in baby's diet. I have 40 bags of milk in my freezer and it's growing. I'm going to have to find ways to mix it into her diet (risotto, porridge, smoothies,rice pudding, etc.) I wanted to start donating to the milk bank but can't due to a blood transfusion 2 years ago. Gutted.

    I am going to keep going like this until she is one and then I will have to evaluate things again. Everyone tells me she is going off milk. I have hated the stuff all my life so who knows?

    Anyway, l just want to say hang in there and every single drop counts. Love is not measured in ounces they say..... Thank God! I have had such a struggle bf from day one and want to be grateful for every minute we get (scratches, pinching, bites and all...)

    Wishing us all a better day tomorrow...


  7. #7

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    I'll try some other nursing positions out too - what do you use at this age?
    When we are out, I do a modified 'laid back.' I do what works for the moment, but as an example-I lean back on the chair or whatever I am sitting on, scooching my bottom out toward the edge so my body is in a slight lean. Then baby goes more or less on top, laying across my body, head at breast of course, chest/tummy on my tummy, legs down hanging off one thigh. I might cross the other leg and it feels quite comfy.

    Everyone tells me she is going off milk.
    no no no no no no. Infants do not 'go off' breastmilk. Human milk is nothing like cow milk in taste or consistency. You hated breastmilk??

    Your baby is a typical 10 month old. Sometimes they have better things to do. Keep giving access, especially for comfort.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    I had to reply to this. I could have written your original post when my LO was that age. He, too, started that trend when he was pretty young (4 months-ish) and it went on for months. He would ONLY nurse in the dark bedroom. We had to be home every few hours so he could nurse. Nursing covers? Ha! They only made him crazy mad. It was hard and felt really limiting and frustrating.

    The good news is: he eventually grew out of that (I think around a year). He's 17 months now and will nurse anywhere.

    Towards the end of the first year, I did figure out a strategy for getting him to nurse enough (not a full feed, but enough) so we could be out and do things (for his sake and mine). I would find a single user bathroom (the disabled one or a sole baby change one), go in, turn off the lights, hold him in my arms and nurse while walking or bouncing. Kind of creeped me out the first few times, to be honest, but it worked. And, sometimes I just really needed to be out of the flat a little while, you know?!

    Anyway, the real thing I have to say is: you are doing a great job. This can be an incredibly frustrating time and it WILL pass. BFing (in my opinion) only gets better and better as they get older.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    Meg - I guess I don't do the proper cradle hold? Mine sounds similar to yours, only we're belly-to-belly with him laying across me, and his head resting in the crook of my arm. I don't know what all the names are, we just kinda go with wherever he seems happy...and he's always seemed to enjoy cuddling up to me, he kind of snuggles in, so I haven't thought much on changing it.

    I tried some other positions today and he was totally disinterested. I couldn't even get him to look at me ...He went over 6 hours without eating this morning/afternoon...I just keep offering...he was fussy today too...crying and I knew he was hungry but there he sat, peering through the darkness trying to find something to stare at. He's so stubborn

    I don't worry about his overall intake, plus he's adjusting to being exclusively nursed and fed, versus bottles of bm, nursed, and fed...

    - evolvingmama- thanks for the encouragement, I will look forward to when he might be past this.

    We are actually going on a 6 hour trip tomorrow, well, the destination is 6 hours away, not sure how long it will take us to get there - lol - I am just wondering how this will go with eating. Sure wish he'd nurse in the car like he used to.

    Cross your fingers please - and thanks again everybody!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Only Nurses In the Dark. Have Experience?

    When I hear 'cradle hold' I think of mom sitting upright with baby laid directly across mom, "cradled" in both her arms, like the classic 'rock a bye' look. Whne moms have done this wiht a longer, bigger baby it can casue the chin to tuck, casuing pain for mom and discomfort for baby. Of course there is no reason to change position if what you are doing works for you.

    Maybe best case scenario is baby sleeps in the car and wakes up hungry???? Fingers crossed!

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