Baby Fusses at Breast Feeding Times

Breastfeeding and Fussiness

Do you have an extremely fussy baby during breastfeeding? Here are some possible reasons why your baby is fussing at the breast, and how to deal with a fussy baby...

Some Common Reasons for Fussiness during Breastfeeding

- Your fussing baby could be going through a growth spurt. This usually happens between 7 to 10 days, 2 to 3 weeks, 4 to 6 weeks, or at 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months. Some babies have growth spurts at other times, too.

Read more about growth spurts in the breastfed baby.

- A fussy breastfed baby is sometimes just distracted. Have you ever thought of using something like a nursing necklace?

Read more about this here.

- If Baby is fussing just as you begin to nurse, it may be due a slow or excessively fast milk let down reflex. This means that Baby is not happy and is frustrated with the flow of milk.

Read more about how to rectify a fast or slow let down.

A fast milk let down is predominantly a problem in the mornings when mothers have a faster flow of milk, and babies might struggle to keep up.

- Is baby fussy after feeding? Maybe he/she needs to be burped more often. Extra trapped air inside your baby’s tummy can cause pain and discomfort.

Try different burping positions.

- Is he/she fussier in the evenings? This is a normal occurrence and, for some reason,  most babies are fussier at this time. It could possibly be due to the fact that moms are busier in the evenings with meal preparation and attending to other members of the family, so they do not burp Baby as thoroughly as during the day.  

- Do you have a very fussy baby during certain times of the day? Try cutting out whatever food you think might be causing the fussiness while breastfeeding.

Read more on food sensitivities here.

- Does he/she only fuss on one breast? Or is baby refusing one breast? This is a sign of a difference in either the flow of milk, quantity of milk, shape of breast or the nipple.

Breast preference and breastfeeding on only one side.

- Could your baby be ill, or have an ear infection? Is Baby teething?

- Have you started your baby on solids recently? Tummy cramps may be a result of introduction of solids. 

- Most babies will start to suck stronger and more efficiently as time goes by. Mom may think that Baby is fussy when, in actual fact, Baby has already had enough milk. During the first few weeks, babies can drink up to 40 minutes per feeding but, as time goes by, a baby might only need 10 to 15 minutes at the breast.

- Have you checked your little one's mouth for thrush?

Read more about oral thrush in the breastfed baby.

- Does baby spit up often? He/she may be suffering from acid reflux.

See Reflux in the breastfed baby.

- Try feeding your baby earlier, sometimes babies may become fussy at the breast, if they are over-hungry.

What are the signs of hunger?

Baby Fusses at Breast
Soothing fussy babies

- Make sure that your baby is latched on well. Find a comfortable breastfeeding position for you and your baby.

- If you have an oversupply of milk, allow your baby to drain one breast before offering the other one. This ensures that your baby consumes the hind milk which is fattier and more substantial than the fore milk. This will keep him/her from fussing during breastfeeding and decreases colic symptoms.

Read more on Foremilk and hindmilk imbalance.

Swaddle. This will usually calm a fussy newborn baby.

Breastfeed your baby in a sling. This provides warmth and comfort. Some fussy babies calm down when walked around or swayed while nursing.

- Try giving your baby a nice warm bath and massage before feeding him/her. You could take the bath together, and try nursing your baby in the bath. The warm water should calm your baby. 

Read more on baby massage here

Ideal for breastfeeding, comfortable for newborns up to 35 pounds... 

Other pages on breastfeeding problems in connection with baby fusses at breast.

- Breastfeeding diet guidelines

- Reasons why babies cry

- How to calm a baby for breastfeeding

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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr. Currently studying through Child birth International (CBC, CBD). Also an accomplished author and Mommy of two.

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