Every mom-to-be, especially a new one, often imagines breastfeeding as something permanent. Well, of course the quantity of feedings will vary. However, as the child gets older he changes his behavior: the baby who used to suck breast calmly, suddenly begins to bite at the breast, to turn away or even scream. Moms often think that they lack breast milk or it is “spoiled.” However, the features of baby’s age may be the reason:
– Baby becomes restless at the breast as he grows up not due to lack of milk, his reactions simply become more complex.
– If the child gets distracted while eating, it’s time to start feeding him other way: a special place and rituals will not only help your child to focus on feeding, but will also become a good foundation for a future daily routine.
– A fist in the mouth, games with the mother’s breast, and experiments with postures – a kid’s behavior can be diverse.
How a baby behaves within the whole period of breastfeeding
A few minutes after the birth, he will be put to the mom’s breast for his first feeding. If your baby was not very active, don’t you worry. Try again in half an hour and ask the midwife to help you. When placed at his mom’s breast for the first time, a baby can spit out breast and search it again – he learns this way. A mom’s task is to put a breast into her baby’s mouth, to help him. Then it is necessary to give the baby the second breast so as he remembers that he can and needs to suck it too.
Kids learn during the first months of life. At this age, it is quite easy to get your proper latching-on technique. A mom watches the way her baby takes a breast and, if necessary, she corrects him. The baby must feel comfortable while eating, so she doesn’t let the him turn his head with a breast in the mouth, teaches the child to suck breast in different positions, she watches that he falls asleep and wakes up with the breast.
At 3 or 4 months of age a child makes a great leap in his development. While eating he starts getting distracted by such an interesting world around him. At this age feedings are very important while a baby is sleeping, they take a long time and are very effective. A baby starts asking for a breast simply to be sure that his mom is near and everything is ok. During feedings, he can communicate with his mother. At this age, a child begins to check his mom’s strength, to check how much reliable she is. For example, he can turn away from the breast to see whether it is still available while he is behaving like this. A baby can cry when breastfeeding. If the mother is sure that the baby is healthy and well fed, she should behave calmly. Children feel their mother’s confidence and readily accept it.
From 4 up to 6 months of age baby’s behavior is changed again. A child may start pinching or biting his mother’s breasts. You shouldn’t encourage this kind of behavior, be sure to cope with it. If the baby hurts you while breastfeeding, you should take the breast away and then give it again. If the baby persists, you can leave him alone in the room for a little while so as he understands that he mustn’t hurt you.
After 6 months of age a baby is breastfeed less often. However, feedings during the baby’s naps are a must. In the evening a baby is tired and full of emotions, so he can seek solace at your breast. At this time, a mom starts introducing the baby to solids. However, breast milk is still the main food until the baby reaches 9 months of age.
After 9 months
Two important changes take place as soon as a baby is 9 months old: he starts eating solids more often and is breastfed less often. Thus, the child learns to eat on his own. He also learns to fall asleep on his own during the naps. The baby treats his independence at this age as a matter of course. If he still spends much time with the mom, he gets addicted to her breast. He sucks it as soon as his mom sits down. You should change your behavior: let your baby stay with other relatives, go visit your friends often or invite them to your place, do household chores. Live an active life; it’s necessary for both you and the baby. At this age, children are particularly fond of the breast. This stage last quite for a long time up to about 2 years of age.
After 2 years
At this age children are less interested in breasts. Quantity of breastfeedings is less and they take less time. And very soon the child will forget about mom’s breast and will go to another level of his life.
What can you do?
From 2-3 months
A 2-3 month old’s visual cortex of the brain has been developed much better now, and he notices lots of interesting things. He needs to view and explore everything, so try to feed your little one in a place already familiar and habitual to him.
Many mothers of children over 2 months old when breastfeeding cover one shoulder with the same nappy so as the child didn’t get distracted. You can take this nappy outdoors or to your friends’ or relatives’ place for your baby to feel “at home” while eating.
For a child over 3 months of age rituals are very important. If every time before feeding you used to put him on his tummy or say gently that he is going to eat now, the baby will learn the words and movements and will get ready for eating more “consciously”.
It is useful to choose a special place where you will breastfeed your baby more often. Then, every time your baby fools around, you can leave him alone in the “dining room” thus letting him understand that he should play in another place but not while eating.
Some children like to do a movement that young parents jokingly call “Mommy, go away and you, boob, stay with me.” A child as if pushes the mom away with a hand but keeps on holding a breast in his mouth. Other kids manage to turn their heads still sucking the breast. You should explain to your child that he shouldn’t behave like this and take the breast away for some time.
Of course, when the child gets offended and begins to cry, you can pity him and give the breast again. If your baby is not sick and doesn’t want to sleep, you can eventually get him to behave calmly. And feeding in a special place with a familiar nappy will help the baby understand faster what you want from him.
There are infants, who like to practice sucking both fist and mother’s breast at the same time. In this case you better slightly hold his hand while pressing him to your stomach. By the way, if a child sucks his fist before or after feeding, it does not mean that he is hungry – he simply explores the world this way.
From 6 months
Children over 6 months of age begin to hold small items with an index finger and a thumb. The most beloved object, which is always at hand, is the mother’s nipple. And a rare child wouldn’t try to “tune the radio” when breastfeeding by pinching or turning it.
On the one hand, it’s good to train the fingers. And on the other hand, let the child better train with the help of a button of your pajamas or sling beads.