The Many Breastfeeding Baby Personalities
A breastfeeding baby can have different nursing personalities. Some are cute, some are annoying, and some can even be painful. There are ways to deal with these personalities without getting frustrated or making baby upset at feeding time. Identify your baby’s breastfeeding personality and see how to encourage them to respect the breast that feeds them.
The Marathoner is always hungry. This breastfeeding baby seems to want to feed continuously and can never get enough. This usually happens when baby goes through a growth spurt and they need more nutrients. Babies also go through high needs periods where they need to suck and be held frequently. If your baby is going through a high needs day don’t feel guilty about putting aside other responsibilities. Baby is more important than any chores around the house. Sleep when baby sleeps. Don’t use her nap as an opportunity to get work done. You need the rest just as much as she does. Remember that baby is only a baby for a short period of time and that this too shall pass.
If you have a marathoner, try to let her finish the milk from the first breast before switching to the other. Wearing baby in a sling helps because they feel constantly connected and are in an optimal position whenever they need to feed. When baby is not hungry but still is in the mood for sucking, try letting her suck your finger or a pacifier. Don’t worry about baby sucking all the milk at once. Your breast milk supply should increase while baby’s appetite is higher.
Mr. Suck-a-Little, Look-a-Little
Mr. Suck-a-Little, Look-a-Little usually pops up between two to six months. This curious little guy will suck for a minute, look away for a minute, go back to sucking, and then get distracted again. This is because baby’s vision is developing, and they are noticing more things in their surroundings. Dad walking by, or the family pet scurrying into the next room peak baby’s curiosity, and he will look away from feeding time. Try breastfeeding baby in a dark room with no distractions. A sling can also help because it shields him from what is going on around him.
The Nipper-Napper breastfeeding baby likes to eat and sleep on and off. He will feed for a couple minutes, take a short nap, and then go right back to feeding. This occurs in the early weeks when some babies prefer sleeping to eating. As he grows older he will get the feeding finished before he nods off.
The Gourmet Feeder
The Gourmet Feeder savors every last drop of their meal. She will do anything to prolong a meal. Baby licks, sucks, fondles, nestles, and goes to great lengths to draw out feeding time. If you have the time let her indulge herself. Breastfeeding is a phase of life with baby that passes all too quickly. Enjoy your time with your little foodie.
The Yanker Breastfeeding Baby
The Yanker is a painful breastfeeding baby personality. He will turn his head while sucking but forget to let go. This may be amusing the first time but the novelty wears off quickly. Use the clutch hold to secure the back of baby’s neck in your hand. This will stop his eager little head from turning at inopportune moments. Feeding baby in a sling also has the same effect. The sling will secure the back of his head and stop him from making sudden jerks. Be on your guard with the Yanker. Be ready to insert your finger into baby’s mouth to break the suction just as baby begins to pull away.
The Chomper is a close relative of the Yanker. This one tends to bite down while feeding. She does this because babies start to experience gum pain around five to six months. When they feel this discomfort in their gums the tendency is to bite down on something for relief. Before feeding, let baby gum your index finger or a teething ring so she can get the chewing out of the way ahead of time. Also use your index finger to depress baby’s lower jaw if you feel her start to press down.
The Twiddler is a sometimes amusing and sometimes annoying breastfeeding baby. Between six and nine months babies love to use their hands to pinch the breast (annoying) or grab the face (amusing). Be sure to discourage them from grabbing the other nipple while feeding. Try putting a favorite toy in her hand to keep her busy little hands occupied while feeding.
The Gymnast is the most physical of breastfeeding baby personalities. This prospective Olympic swimmer kicks his leg as you begin feeding. Babies’ legs are surprisingly strong, and it doesn’t feel very good when they kick you in the chest during a feeding. Feeding in a sling helps contain this guy. The “toddler tuck” is an effective maneuver to use as well. This works by wedging baby’s legs between your arm and body while baby is in the cradle hold. Babies can also kick because they feel their legs dangling. Try to hook his leg over your arm to give him a feeling of security.
The Snacker makes an appearance as the breastfeeding baby turns into a toddler. She likes to eat on the run. Toddlers like to move around a lot more so they have less patience for long feedings. The Snacker gets into this habit of short feedings as a sort of pit stop. She likes to run around and play more but needs to return to a familiar place in the midst of her adventures.
The Pouncer is the other breastfeeding baby personality that happens as they mature into toddlerhood. This toddler will descend upon you while you are resting and go right underneath your shirt for a feeding. This can be one of more painful personalities if she doesn’t pounce gently. This urge to pounce will usually happen when she sees you sitting in a place where she is used to feeding. You may need to become a mobile mommy and rest in unfamiliar feeding places to baby.
For more comprehensive information about breastfeeding, read The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.