Is there a problem with baby latching and unlatching repeatedly?
In breastfeeding, latching is the way a baby fastens to the breast while feeding. A good latch leads to a high milk flow.
This reduces discomfort for the breastfeeding mother, such as nipple sores and cracks and low milk flow caused by poor latching.
When a baby latches and unlatches repeatedly, it could lead to the baby not having enough nourishment and discomfort for the mother.
This issue frustrates many mothers, and they struggle to figure out a way to end it. However, to solve a problem, one must seek to understand it first and how it starts.
Reasons why your baby latch and unlatch repeatedly
1. Trapped air
Sometimes, gas gets trapped inside the baby’s food pipe, causing great discomfort.
If you have a fast milk flow, your baby may gulp a lot of air while nursing.
This air ends up being trapped inside the baby, causing stomach ache. It also makes the baby uncomfortable while feeding, thus latching and unlatching.
For instance, if the baby has a stuffy nose, they are more likely to latch and unlatch while nursing.
The nasal congestion makes it hard for the baby to breathe when feeding, so they unlatch to breathe from their mouths.
A teething baby may also latch and unlatch. Teething causes pain because of their sore gum.
The baby may unlatch when feeding in an attempt to relieve themselves of the pain in their gum.
3. Too little milk
Sometimes your milk flow may be very low. This occurs mainly in the evening when the baby has been feeding for the whole day.
The baby may latch and unlatch because of the low flow of milk when breastfeeding.
4. The baby is more familiar with bottle-feeding
Feeding bottles have a relatively higher flow than breasts.
If you usually use bottle-feeding, the baby might get frustrated when the flow of lower than what they had experienced.
But this doesn’t last long. As you keep on breastfeeding, they adapt and get used to the change in milk flow.
At around 12 weeks, the baby starts to notice their surroundings and the people around them.
The baby may unlatch to stare at someone passing, kitten to dad’s voice, or the passing sibling.
The baby may even unlatch to watch a commercial on TV. That means that the baby is developing mentally.
6. Your milk supply is too high
The milk may be coming out at a very high rate than what the baby can swallow.
This overwhelms the baby making him latch and unlatch every few seconds to take a break.
7. Your baby may also be full
Yes, being satisfied can lead to latching and unlatching. That’s because the baby can’t keep breastfeeding on a full stomach, so they take breaks.
Related post: Why Is Breastfeeding So Hard?
Possible Solutions to The Latching and Unlatching Problem
1. Solutions for fast milk flow
You can feed your baby in a laid-back position and let gravity slow down your milk flow.
You can also take the baby off the breast when you have a letdown. Catch the excess milk onto a towel and offer the breast to the baby once the milk flow slows.
2. Solutions for slow milk flow
You can try pumping your breasts using your hands before feeding to stimulate the letdown and put your baby to your breast once you see the flow.
You can also take supplements or postnatal vitamins specifically formulated to increase your milk supply.
Remember to consult a specialist for a prescription before taking the supplements.
You can also massage your breasts while your baby is nursing to stimulate your milk flow.
3. Other solutions
To help a distracted baby to nurse undistracted, try feeding the baby in a dark, quiet room.
You can help a baby with nasal congestion by putting 2 to 3 drops of nasal saline in his nose right before feeding.
It clears the stuffy nose, allowing them to breathe while feeding.
If the baby’s windpipe has gas, you can help them burp when feeding to help ease their gas pain and keep them comfortable at the breast.
Yes, baby latching and unlatching repeatedly is pretty common in babies.
It can result from several factors, including distractions, teething, blocked nose, and milk flow, among others.
It is also nothing to worry much about. With the above solutions, you can easily find a way to tackle the issue.
Related Post: When is it Too Late to Start Breastfeeding
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.
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