I saw one of my favorite babies the other day (who am I kidding?? I adore all my mamas and babies). Mom reached out to me because her little one was changing up her nursing routine, acting fussier, and mom was pumping less volume. Baby is almost 5 months old. The first thought for this mom was that her supply had dropped and baby was not getting enough milk, which is why she was fussier at the breast.
As soon as I saw the baby nursing, I knew what was happening. She was so distracted. Typical of a baby her age. She was whining and wiggling and would only nurse for a minute or two before pulling away. Mom did her best to keep her focused, switched her from side to side and talked to her. After only a few minutes, it was obvious that baby was done. Mom admitted to me that when she is feeding at home, after a couple minutes of this routine she would give in and just give her a bottle. We weighed this little girl before and after the feeding. Mom was shocked to see that baby was 2 ounces heavier after the feed than she was before. This changed everything. It gave mom the confidence she needed to feel positive about her milk supply and her baby’s ability to get that milk. It helped her realize how much her baby is developing and how she is changing.
Well what about the pumping? Mom had returned to work about 6 weeks ago. Her pumping output has dwindled. It is not unusual for that to happen, but it doesn’t mean baby is getting less when they feed at the breast. We discussed her pumping schedule and switched things up to include a few shorter sessions. All in all, a pretty successful day.
What’s the moral to this happy ending? Trust your baby and trust your body to provide for your baby. Babies become very distracted around 4 months and things become very exciting for them! Developmentally so much is happening for them. This doesn’t mean the baby doesn’t want to breastfeed anymore, but we may need to change how things are done. Don’t just throw in the towel mamas…call in the professionals.
Here’s more on feeding a distracted baby and what to expect when your baby hits this magical age.