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Breast Feeding

Struggling with latching on mid-feeding

02/05/2007

Question:

My 7 week old baby has had no problem properly and immediately latching on to my breast since the start. He has been gaining a sufficient amount of weight and I have not had any pain or soreness during breastfeeding. However, about one week ago my baby began to have trouble latching on to my breast after he has already fed for approximately 5-8 minutes: after initially latching on quickly and feeding for 5-8 minutes, he will pull away, start "flopping" his head from side to side, and get very frustrated. He has been consistently doing this for the past week. Any ideas as to what is causing this change and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks --

Answer:

This could be due to an overactive letdown, which is common if you have an abundant milk supply. I could also be that your baby is having some reflux of stomach contents into his esophagus.

The first can be helped by releasing some of your foremilk manually prior to latching him on to release the pressure, so that he can feed a bit more slowly.

The second can be helped by upright positioning or holding him with his head quite a bit higher than his stomach while he breastfeeds.

Another possible cause of his frustration is a decrease in your milk supply, but that is less likely if he is gaining weight well.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati