Is your baby distracted while bottle feeding? Does your baby act hungry, but then start playing with the bottle or other stuff instead of feeding? Or, I love this one: does your baby drink 3 sips of milk, then act finished, but scream the moment you take the bottle away?
When my daughter hit 4 months old, she got very distracted while nursing. Then around 7 months, she got too distracted to bottle feed . Every baby is different, but I hope my tips help you get through this!
If your baby is distracted while bottle feeding, I have three areas where you can make some changes, and lots of tips and suggestions!
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Why is your baby distracted during bottle feeding?
Babies are constantly exploring the world around them! Around 4 months, your baby is starting to see things further away than the person feeding them, distinguish more colors, and connect sounds with objects. Now they’re becoming developed enough to look at something that’s moving or making a sound. And so they do, whether they are playing or you are trying to feed them a bottle!
And your baby just continues developing! From around four months and onwards, your baby is becoming more mobile and will want to practice those mobility skills too! This means sitting up, turning over, scooting, standing, and more! At 7 months, my baby started being less distracted by sights and sounds, and more because she wants to play instead of eating!(Related post: this applies to bottle feeding too: Everything you need to know about baby behavior while breastfeeding.)
It’s helpful for me to remember that yes, my baby is distracted, but she’s also learning. And one thing she needs to learn is how to tune out distractions!
Baby distracted during bottle feeding? Tip #1: Create a distraction- free environment
Creating a distraction-free environment sounds so simple, yet seems impossible! First, you want a dark, quiet place to give your baby their bottle. Personally, we use our nursery, but it can be any room, even a closet or the basement!
Making the room dark stops your baby from looking around instead of feeding. To make a room dark, shut the door and close the curtains. You should not be able to see more than 18 inches or so from your face. This is approximately the distance from your eyeballs to your baby’s face when they’re propped in your lap for bottle feeding.
Get blackout curtains if you don’t have them. I recommend these blackout curtains from Amazon. They really do block out all of the light, and are available in a variety of colors. Bonus – if you put them in the nursery, your little one may sleep in longer in the morning since their room is so dark that the sun won’t wake them up!
And making the room quiet helps your baby not get distracted by every little sound. I know the mailman always shows up, or the dogs start barking as soon as my baby starts going to town on a bottle. I’ll close the door to the nursery, but I also recommend a white noise machine to help drown out louder sounds. I use this white noise machine (click to view link on Amazon). It has a handy nightlight which is great for middle of the night diaper changes! Of course, you can always keep it simple by putting a fan in the room to make white noise, or download a white noise app on your phone!
If you can’t do these things for whatever reason, remove all the distractions that you can. Turn off the tv, tune the radio so it’s playing static, turn the ringer off on your phone, and so on. Think about the things that distract your baby and get rid of them- at least right before you begin each bottle feed!
Tip #2: Make sure your baby is ready for a bottle!
That’s right, if your baby is distracted during bottle feeding, there are things you can do beforehand to make them less distractible!
Wait until they’re definitely hungry
When your baby is a newborn, pediatricians usually suggest feeding your baby whenever they give hunger cues, like rooting, and sticking out their tongue. Now that your baby is a little older, see if you can distract them for a few minutes before starting the feeding process. I’d suggest no more than 15 minutes, otherwise you might have a baby who is too upset to bottle feed! Play with toys, change their diapers, sing a song, or read a book. The hungrier they are, the better they will eat!
Tire your baby out with lots of active playtime to get them ready for a bottle
What milestone is your baby working towards now? Rolling over? Sitting up? Crawling? Walking? Make sure your baby gets some good physical activity in before you start bottle feeding. If possible, try to do it a bit before the bottle feeding, otherwise they may just get upset trying to roll, sit, crawl, or walk.
If your baby is working towards rolling over, have some tummy time! Lifting their head and neck will wear them out.
When your baby is learning to sit up, well, sit them up. Lie down and sit them on your chest. Spread their legs at different angles to work different muscles in their teeny tiny cores and backs. Hold out toys so they learn to keep their balance, even while reaching with their arms. I sometimes sit on the floor and sit my daughter on my leg and her feet on the floor so she can practice balancing that way too!
Once my baby could sit up, this baby jumper (click to view more details on Amazon) became a life- saver. My daughter puts her feet on the floor and bounces. The jumper lights up and plays music when she does. She gets excited just seeing the jumper because she has so much fun in it! We make sure she gets at least 10 minutes jumping around before feeding her. It’s also great because I can move her to whatever room I’m in and get something done while she bounces!
Tip #3: Ways to keep your baby focused during bottle feeding
So now you have a dark, quiet room and a tired baby. Here are a few more tips for keeping your baby from being distracted during bottle feeding.
Try again by redirecting your baby with the bottle!
If your baby gets distracted, patiently offer the bottle again and see if they will take it. Sometimes it’s as simple as reminding them why they’re sitting on your lap!
Try a faster flow nipple on the bottle
Around four to six months, babies often feed more efficiently. Check for the next size up for the bottles you use. Here are links to medium and fast flow nipples for common bottle brands on Amazon:
- Comotomo Fast Flow Nipple
- Dr Brown’s Nipples – choose your flow rate!
- Lansinoh Fast, Medium, and Slow Flow Nipples
- Medela Medium Flow Nipples
- Nuk Fast Flow Nipples
- Phillips Avent Bottle Fast Flow Nipples
- Playtex Medium and Fast Flow Nipples
- Tommee Tippee Fast Flow and Medium Flow Nipples
Help your baby focus on their new motor skills while feeding from a bottle!
What position do you use to bottle feed your baby? Changing it up and making bottle feeding more active will help prevent your baby from being distracted while bottle feeding. I found that letting my baby sit unsupported helps a lot. She’s so busy trying to sit and drink from the bottle, that she focuses on those instead of playing.
Create your own distraction with toys!
My baby loves holding a small toy while bottle feeding. That way, she is more interested in the toy and keeps eating, instead of whatever is going on around us! I wait until she has the bottle in her mouth and starts drinking. Then, I show her the toy or put it in her hand so she plays with it but keeps feeding from the bottle. This means the toy shouldn’t be too distracting!
I like using these silicone nursing beads from Amazon. Even though she can’t see them with the blackout curtains closed, my daughter touches and grabs them. They’re also good if we’re out and about and she needs a bottle, and we can’t find a dark, quiet place. Sure, they are called nursing beads, but there’s no reason your baby can’t play with them while bottle feeding!
Small toys like these bath toys from Amazon are great, they are soft and have some bumpy features that your baby will enjoy grabbing. Of course, anything you have handy can become a toy- a teething ring, a small comb, whatever!
A lovey (click the link to see an example on Amazon) or stuffed animal also makes a great toy for your baby while bottle feeding. They can wave it around and whack you with it, and it won’t hurt!
Sometimes both of you need to take a break!
Sometimes, my daughter gets extra distracted while bottle feeding and nothing will get her back on the bottle. I have two options. If I have time, I’ll say “okay, let’s take a break and get the wiggles out!” I’ll turn the light on and we’ll play for a bit, then try feeding again when she’s ready and showing hunger cues. It may take 10-30 minutes!
If I need her to eat right away, I say “I’m going to put you down now.” I put her in the crib and walk away for a few minutes. Usually she screams since the fun stopped and the food is gone! This means that as soon as I go back in and pick her up, she’s ready to eat again! And she eats heartily!
Final tips if your baby is distracted while bottle feeding
Be patient! Your baby is learning and growing, which means experimenting with what they can do. By the time your baby is around a year old, they’ll likely be drinking from a sippy cup more than a bottle! One of my favorite pieces of advice for babies is “If your baby is doing something you love, enjoy it because they will grow out of it. If your baby is doing something you don’t like, remember they will grow out of it soon!”
Sometimes I get frustrated when my baby won’t feed from the bottle. But other times, we have super fun playtime with lots of laughing when we take a break if she’s distracted!
Lactation consultant Kellymom has more great tips for teaching your baby manners while they nurse that also apply to bottle feeding!
Conclusions: Simple tricks if your baby is distracted while bottle feeding
To wrap things up, we learned how to make an environment with fewer distractions and how to tire your baby out before bottle feeding. Then we talked about tips to use while bottle feeding: nipples with faster flow, keeping your baby busy trying a new feeding position, and simple toys they can play with while feeding from a bottle. I hope these tips help you as your baby grows.
- Not sure which breast pump to get? Read Breast Pump Comparison: Spectra S2 vs Medela PISA
- Want to pump more efficiently? Read 35 Spectra S2 Tips
- Read mymomsanerd‘s recommended pumping schedules for working moms.
- Bored? Check out activities during pumping or breastfeeding
- Learn about historical baby stuff, like how baby formula was invented, from mymomsanerd.com.
- Learn about the history of baby bottles!
- Click here for hilarious breastfeeding jokes and memes!
- Top 5 tips when baby roots but won’t latch!
Find a less-stimulating space to feed
Feeding at home: Take your baby to a quiet, dimly lit area where it's just you and them. If there is a lot of noise in the house, shut the door and turn on a white noise machine or play music to help drown it out.
Hold your baby in a semi-upright position for bottle feeds. Support their head so they can breathe and swallow comfortably. Brush the teat against your baby's lips and when they open their mouth wide let them draw in the teat. Always give your baby plenty of time to feed.Why is baby distracted while eating? ›
Object permanence is the developmental understanding that a thing can still exist even when your baby doesn't see it anymore (and is part of the brain development that brings on the 8-10 month sleep regression). Your baby may be distracted while eating as their little brain is busy making all these new connections.What is distracted feeding? ›
Distraction feeding works because your child is distracted from the food and not as focused on being freaked out or repulsed by new food on the plate. Their senses are occupied with distractions, so they just do not oppose trying new foods, eating non-preferred foods, or eating more food.How do I get rid of distraction feeding? ›
Keep mealtimes short and sweet. Aim for 20-25 minutes for meals. Children have a short attention span and would rather be playing than eating. Distractions are often needed when children are being kept in their chair for too long.How do I calm my baby down while bottle feeding? ›
- Burping. Burp (or wind) your baby during and after every bottle feed – have a look at our guide to burping your baby for techniques.
- Sit your baby up. ...
- Try different teats. ...
- Avoid changing formula. ...
- Hold them. ...
- Rock your baby. ...
- Warm bath and a massage. ...
- Create a calming atmosphere.
- Position the bottle at an angle rather than straight up and down so the milk only comes out when your baby sucks.
- Let your baby take breaks from drinking when he or she seems to want them.
- Watch your baby for cues that he or she is full, and then stop, even if the bottle is not empty.
Never prop the bottle and let your baby feed alone; not only will you miss the opportunity to bond with her while she feeds, but there's also a danger that she'll choke or the bottle will slip out of position. Propping the bottle also increases the risk of ear infections.How do you prevent bottle confusion? ›
- Wait until your baby is at least four weeks old before introducing a pacifier or bottle.
- If your baby needs supplemental nutrition, use a spoon, syringe, feeding cup, or supplemental nursing system.
- Use skin-to-skin contact during feedings.
Frustration with the nipple flow and trying to hold their own bottle are only two reasons why your baby may be hitting their bottle. While alarming at first, it's a normal part of feeding in older babies.
If your baby's kicking legs and flailing arms are accompanied by crying, or they seem agitated, it could be that they are gassy. Try winding them after a feed. If this is not a one-off occurrence, your baby could have symptoms of colic. Speak to your doctor or health visitor for advice.Why does my baby thrash around while bottle feeding? ›
Babies begin moving or squirming while being fed by a bottle as soon as they can see and recognise their surroundings. It might occur in as little as three to four months. While being fed from a bottle, babies will squirm as they start to explore the light, sounds, and things in their environment.Why does my baby keep pushing the bottle away? ›
The following reasons are some of the most common things to look out for if your baby refuses the bottle: Your baby was recently weaned and wants to continue breastfeeding. Your baby isn't hungry enough to want feeding. Your baby is feeling sick, colicky, or otherwise unwell enough to feed.What is an example of distracted eating? ›
Distracted eating happens during a planned meal or snack. For example, you eat lunch at lunch time, per usual. But, you end up doing something else while you're eating your meal, like checking email or finishing up your expense reports.How will you improve distracted eating? ›
You can practice mindfulness during any daily activity—including eating. Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food. It also means getting rid of distractions like television or reading or working on your computer.What is poor feeding technique? ›
“Poor feeding in infants” is a term used to describe an infant with little interest in feeding. It can also refer to an infant who is not feeding enough to receive the necessary nutrition required for adequate growth. Poor growth associated with lack of feeding can lead to a separate condition called failure to thrive.What is focus feeding? ›
Description: The FOCUS Program is a systematic and comprehensive sensory-based approach to improving feeding skills and mealtime participation in children with problems processing and integrating sensations.How do I stop my baby from guzzling in the bottle? ›
Take short feeding breaks. Try to burp her more. Avoid laying your baby on her back during feeding. Try to feed her in a near–sitting position so that milk will flow into her mouth more slowly.How long should it take a baby to drink a 4 oz bottle? ›
Your baby should be able to take a 3-4 oz. bottle in about 15-20 minutes. If they finish too quickly they may not feel satiated and look for more milk that they may not really need. If they are gulping the bottle, pace the feeding and interrupt the feeding for burps.What are the signs of overfeeding a baby? ›
- Gassiness or burping.
- Frequent spit up.
- Vomiting after eating.
- Fussiness, irritability or crying after meals.
- Gagging or choking.
There are a few newborn wrong bottle feeding positions. Never lay your baby flat to bottle feed, as this can allow formula to get into the baby's ear and cause an infection. Additionally, experts warn never to prop baby's bottle up, which can cause formula to pool in their mouth, which can cause tooth decay.What age should a baby stop using a bottle? ›
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests saying bye-bye to the bottle before your baby is 18 months old. "I'd say definitely before age 2, but the sooner the better," says Keith T.Do babies reject bottle? ›
If your baby is still refusing a bottle, don't worry. Most babies will take one eventually. If you have a routine with your baby where you feed them at the same time every day, it's okay to change it up. Sometimes your baby may enjoy doing something else like cuddling, playing, or taking a ride in a stroller.Why does my baby shake his head when taking a bottle? ›
Some babies find it soothing to shake their head from side to side. They may do this when they are overstimulated, anxious, or trying to fall asleep. Self-soothing is harmless and may help a baby feel less anxious in new situations.
If you've noticed your baby poking out their tongue when nursing or drinking from a bottle, you may be wondering whether you should be concerned. Thankfully, what you're seeing is most likely a perfectly normal reflex called tongue thrust.What is baby bottle syndrome? ›
Nursing caries, or tooth decay, can be caused when your child sleeps with a bottle. This condition is also called baby bottle tooth decay. It is caused when a child goes to bed with a bottle filled with milk or juice — anything except water.Why is my baby fidgeting and crying while bottle feeding? ›
The nipple needs to be the right size and speed for your baby's size, age and sucking ability. If the nipple is too long, too short, too fast or too slow for your baby, she may experience feeding difficulties and express her frustration by fuss or crying.Why do babies kick feet when feeding? ›
One of the most common reasons for a baby kicking while breastfeeding is because of an oversupply of milk. This is when your breasts expel more milk, especially in the beginning, than your baby can take in. He kicks and cries because he's trying to slow the flow and take a breath.Why does my baby throw his arms around when feeding? ›
There are a number of reasons why your baby may be flapping their arms. If your infant is young, it may be colic or a newborn reflex that will soon fade away. Older babies are still learning so much about how their bodies work and may flap their arms because they're overjoyed or feeling some other intense emotion.Should babies watch TV while eating? ›
Using distractions like TV or phones to get your child to eat is not advisable. Eating with distractions prevents children from listening to their bodies and realizing whether they are still hungry or satiated and full.
Let her sit on your lap for her meals, but not for yours.
If you find it uncomfortable to eat with a squirming toddler on your lap (and who wouldn't?), consider separate mealtimes. It's good to encourage shared meals and sociability, of course, but there's plenty of time for that.
Studies have also shown that a child with ADHD tends to ignore nutritious foods, such as vegetables and fish instead favours food that contains sugar. According to Roberto Olivardia in his “The Picky Eater Survival Manual”, stating that children having this condition whose brains show low levels of dopamine activity.Why does my baby scream after taking the bottle away? ›
Wind or Gas: When taking in breast milk or formula, a baby also swallows air. It can sometimes take as long as thirty minutes to help release the excess within the stomach. At that time, the pain intensifies and causes discomfort. If your baby cries after feeding and burping, your baby may have swallowed too much air.What are the three types of distracted? ›
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving.
When discussing the four types of distractions, we are going to specifically look at visual distractions, manual distractions, auditory distractions, and cognitive distractions.What are examples of distractions? ›
Text messages and notifications. Social Media news feeds and notifications. Anything that can visually distract your attention. Background noise of any kind.How long does distracted eating phase last? ›
This is a passing developmental stage that can be quite a nuisance – it's usually at it's worst between four and five months. At around 2 months, your baby will become able to see things clearly across the room.At what age do babies get distracted while nursing? ›
What Age Do Babies Get Distracted While Breastfeeding? Distracted nursing can happen any time after a baby turns 2 months old. It usually peaks between 3-5 months, but it can happen any time after that too.Why should you hold a baby while bottle-feeding? ›
When you hold your baby's bottle, you feed your baby's tummy and emotions. Holding helps your baby feel safe and loved. It is a special time when you can both relax and feel close.How do you feed a stubborn baby? ›
- Minimize distractions. Make food the focus of mealtime. ...
- Keep meal length reasonable. It's tempting to let a picky eater take as long as they want to eat. ...
- Make mealtime family time. ...
- Let baby touch their food. ...
- Follow your baby's timeline.
The following reasons are some of the most common things to look out for if your baby refuses the bottle: Your baby was recently weaned and wants to continue breastfeeding. Your baby isn't hungry enough to want feeding. Your baby is feeling sick, colicky, or otherwise unwell enough to feed.Why is my baby refusing to take a bottle? ›
In most cases, bottle feeding problems aren't due to abnormal oral motor function, nor are they usually due to an underlying medical issue. Actually, one of the most common reasons breastfed babies won't take a bottle right away stems from not being introduced to one early enough in their growth.What are 2 effects of distracted eating? ›
Consuming food while distracted is one of the main causes of binge-eating. If you do not fully absorb the food, you will be more likely to snack on unhealthy items throughout the day. Over time, this can lead to negative health consequences such as high blood pressure, weight gain and even diabetes.What to do if baby has bottle aversion? ›
- Don't force your baby to eat. Nudging a bottle into a baby's mouth isn't recommended. ...
- Find out why your baby is refusing the bottle. ...
- Use paced bottle-feeding techniques. ...
- Change up the bottle. ...
- Change the feeding position or routine. ...
- Change the formula. ...
- Be patient.
The most likely reason for the kicking is a fast letdown—there's too much milk for him to take in. By feeding reclined or expressing milk beforehand, you can slow down the flow. Another reason is a slow letdown, especially in the middle of the feed when the milk doesn't come out as quickly.