Home & Life, Parenting

Managing Baby Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly: A Guide

  • Your baby latching and unlatching repeatedly happens for many reasons: illness, teething, gas, or being distracted.
  • Your baby latching and unlatching repeatedly could be signs of you having low milk flow, or too much milk supply.
  • There are many ways for you to remedy these issues, such as finding the right solution to the problem, achieving a deep latch, or seeking help from a professional lactation consultant.
  • Please see your baby’s pediatrician if the problem persists.

Baby latching and unlatching repeatedly can be a perplexing challenge for new moms.

Indeed, when it’s feeding time, their #1 struggle is…

Baby latching and unlatching over and over again.

They’re baffled on how to cope and worried since breast milk is so important to their baby’s health. A full baby’s tummy makes for a happy baby.

This hurdle separates the unprepared from the confident mom. If you lack the know-how to handle this obstacle, attaining a sense of assurance in breastfeeding will remain out of reach.

1. Understanding Baby Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly

You might wonder if it’s normal or indicative of an underlying issue.

The Reasons Behind the Behavior

Babies latch and unlatch for various reasons.

Sometimes they are simply distracted by their surroundings – every sound, movement, or light could make them to have a poor latch / shallow latch or break away from feeding to investigate.

In other instances, babies may experience discomfort due to teething or gas pains causing them to pull away frequently during feedings. La Leche League International, provides comprehensive information on this topic, including: what is a good latch; how to recognize poor latching; best position for your baby’s mouth and baby’s head; and different ways to hold your baby, including the cross-cradle hold.

Gas-related issues causing discomfort for your baby

Having a gassy baby is, unfortunately, common for new moms. A gassy baby will be uncomfortable, which could lead to your baby unlatching repeatedly as they try to find relief. Sometimes holding your baby upright or massing trapped air out of their belly before feeds can relief gas pressure.

Illness affecting your baby’s feeding pattern

A sick baby may have a hard time sticking with their usual breastfeeding routine as sickness makes your baby uncomfortable.

An illness can disrupt the normal flow of things and lead to your baby unlatching repeatedly. Your baby’s body may feel discomfort due to their illness or difficulty breathing through a stuffy nose as your baby sucks on your nursing breast and not achieve a deep latch.

Teething making breastfeeding uncomfortable

If you’ve noticed more drool than usual, it could mean you have a teething baby.

Breastfeeding a teething baby can prove challenging for infants leading them to frequently latch on and off. For tips on managing this phase check out this guide. Since teething results in more drool, a good trick for me was to keep my younger infants upright during breastfeeding.

Distractions leading to repeated latching and unlatching

Babies are naturally curious creatures. As they grow older (and more aware), everything around becomes interesting – even during feedings. This newfound curiosity leads them into an endless cycle of latches/unlatches and your baby frequently unlatching.

Potential Consequences of Frequent Unlatching

Frequent latches followed by quick releases can lead to nipple soreness in moms. KellyMom.

Furthermore, this behavior could potentially affect your milk supply as breastfeeding operates on a demand-and-supply basis: the more your baby nurses effectively; the more milk is produced.

Addressing Low Milk Supply or Slow Milk Flow Issues

If you’ve noticed your baby pulling away frequently, it might be due to low milk supply or slow milk flow.

This is a common concern about among breastfeeding mothers but don’t worry – there are ways to address this effectively.

Recognizing Signs of Low Milk Supply

Numerous studies show the health benefits of a breastfed baby. A good latch leads to better feeding outcomes.  When it comes to low milk supply, the most important step is recognizing it exists.

Signs of low milk supply, such as your baby not gaining enough weight, can sometimes go unnoticed until feeding becomes frustrating for both mother and child.

Techniques for Improving Milk Flow

Pumping more often can help increase breast milk production. This works on the principle that milk production increases with demand. The more frequently you pump, the higher signal sent to your body about the need for increased milk production.

Remember these tips aren’t immediate fixes, so don’t give up if there’s no immediate improvement.

Incorporating these techniques into your daily routine will gradually improve the overall breastfeeding experience for younger infants making it an enjoyable journey rather than a stressful task.

Tips For New Moms: Trust Your Instincts.

No one knows your child better than you do. And I remember as a new mom myself the newborn latch caused anxiety until I knew what to look for.

Your instincts coupled with observations will guide you best when dealing with repeated latches/unlatches. If there seems no apparent reason (like a distracted baby) and the pattern persists over days, you should consult a lactation consultant who would provide professional advice tailored specifically for mother-baby dyads.

Moving forward we’ll explore strategies that help manage this behavior while ensuring both mom & baby have comfortable nursing sessions.

2. Strategies for Dealing with Baby Latching and Unlatching

If your baby is latching and unlatching repeatedly, it can be a cause of concern.

Nevertheless, you can manage this behavior effectively by employing certain strategies.

Patiently Observe Your Baby’s Behavior

The first step in dealing with repeated latches and unlatches is understanding why your baby might be doing so.

This requires patient observation during feeding times. HealthLine suggests that sometimes babies may latch on or off due to discomfort or distraction around them.

Create A Calm Environment

A calm environment free from distractions could help improve the situation if constant interruptions are causing frequent unlatches. Medela suggests adopting laid-back breastfeeding positions which promote skin-to-skin contact making the experience more comfortable for both mother and child.

Seek Professional Help If Needed

  • You should consider seeking professional advice if these issues persist despite trying various solutions at home. This includes consulting lactation consultants who specialize in addressing such concerns.
  • Lactation experts like those affiliated with International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) offer invaluable guidance based on their extensive knowledge about breastfeeding challenges including repetitive latching/unlatching behaviors. They will provide personalized advice tailored specifically to suit you and your baby’s needs ensuring optimal health outcomes for both parties involved. 
  • If you’re still unsure, consult your baby’s pediatrician for guidance.

Remaining calm and understanding that every infant has their own nursing style is essential, as what works for one family may not work for another. Patience is key throughout the process.

3. Best Practices for Moms

If you’re a mom dealing with your baby latching and unlatching repeatedly, it’s essential to understand the best practices.

Maintain Patience

Patiently respond when your baby unlatches frequently during feeding sessions. Patience is key in breastfeeding, especially if this behavior is new or unexpected.

This can be challenging but remember that every child has their own pace of learning and adapting.

Calm Environment

Create a calm environment while nursing as distractions may cause babies to latch on and off more often than usual. A peaceful atmosphere encourages better focus from both mother and infant during feedings.

Avoid loud noises, bright lights, or other potential disturbances whenever possible.

Proper Latch Technique

The way your baby latches onto the breast plays an integral role in successful breastfeeding. Ensuring proper latch technique helps prevent discomfort for mothers while ensuring adequate milk supply for infants.

An incorrect latch could lead to frequent detaching which might result in insufficient intake of milk by the newborns. Poor latching is a common issue early on for new moms, especially getting a good newborn latch.

In our next section we will discuss resources available for parents who are facing issues with repeated latching/unlatching behaviors.

Exploring Different Breastfeeding Positions

Breastfeeding is a unique journey for every mother and baby duo, often requiring trial and error to find what works best.

The positioning of breastfeeding can have a significant effect on both the mother’s ease and how well the baby attaches.

Benefits of Side-Laying Position During Breastfeeding

The side-lying breastfeeding position, where both momma & child lie down facing each other, offers several advantages.

  • This posture allows mothers to rest while nursing – especially beneficial during those middle-of-the-night feedings.
  • Avoiding gravity’s pull makes it easier for babies struggling with repeated latch issues due to gas or reflux problems.
  • Moms recovering from C-sections may find this method less painful than traditional positions because it reduces pressure on their abdomen area. (source)

Incorporating different breastfeeding postures like the laid-back or ‘biological nurturing’ pose might also be helpful if frequent unlatching continues despite trying these tips. This approach encourages natural feeding instincts in infants by placing them belly-down on Mom’s chest immediately after birth. (KellyMom)

To summarize, exploring various breastfeeding positions could potentially alleviate constant latching/unlatching challenges by providing optimal comfortability throughout the process. Patience is key here; don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

4. Resources for Parents

If you’re a parent grappling with your baby’s latching and unlatching habits, don’t fret.

You’re not by yourself in this voyage.

There are many resources available to help you effectively navigate through these challenges.

Lactation Consultants

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) can be invaluable assets on your breastfeeding journey.

Their expertise is specifically geared towards helping mothers overcome difficulties like frequent latching and unlatching of the baby during feeding sessions.

Breastfeeding Support Groups

In addition to professional advice, peer support can also make a significant difference in managing common breastfeeding issues such as repeated latching and unlatching by babies.

For instance, Breastfeeding Support Group offers local meetings where moms share their experiences and learn from each other, including best breastfeeding positions, how to handle a baby frequently unlatching; best positions for the baby’s mouth and baby’s head; and which positions babies prefer.

Digital Platforms And Apps For Breastfeeding Advice

Numerous digital platforms provide helpful information about various aspects of infant care including problems related to nursing.

A good example is the Breastfeeding App, which provides evidence-based information on lactation-related matters.

FAQs in Relation to Baby Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly

Why does my baby keep unlatching and relatching?

Your baby might be dealing with an overactive let-down, gas, or distractions. They could also be trying to control the flow of milk.

Why does my baby keep popping off while nursing?

This can happen if your baby is full but still wants to suckle for comfort, or if they’re struggling with a fast milk flow. Teething or illness may also cause this behavior.

Why does my baby want to breastfeed constantly?

Babies often cluster feed during growth spurts or when they need comfort. If it’s constant and paired with other concerning signs, consult a pediatrician.


All of us moms know how important it is to have a breastfed baby.  We get so much joy when our baby’s tummy is full. 

While it can be challenging to know the signs of a baby struggling with breast feeding, be assured you are the best judge of what’s best for your baby during the breastfeeding journey. 

Your baby could struggle due to gas discomfort, illness, teething or distraction in their environment.

Low milk supply or slow flow might also contribute to this issue.

Growth spurts and development milestones are other factors that influence breastfeeding behaviors.

To ease the process for both you and your little one, consider techniques like massaging trapped air out of their belly before feeds or experimenting different breastfeeding positions, including changing up the nursing breast. It’s important to read the signs your baby provides including the baby’s body language.

Managing Baby Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly: A Guide

Understanding baby latching and unlatching repeatedly is the first step to overcoming this challenge.

Moms, you’re not alone in this journey.

There are strategies that can help ease anxieties for both you and your little one.

Nursing doesn’t need to be a battle. It’s about patience, understanding, and applying best practices consistently.

The resources we’ve highlighted can provide further guidance on managing this common breastfeeding issue effectively.

And remember…

You’re doing an amazing job!

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