Baby Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly

My Baby Keeps Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly


Breastfeeding can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for both mother and baby. However, it’s not uncommon for newborn babies to experience difficulties during their breastfeeding journey, such as baby latching and unlatching repeatedly during feeding sessions.

This can be frustrating for both the baby and the mother, especially when it affects milk supply or milk flow. In this article, we’ll explore the causes of a baby latching and unlatching repeatedly, including slow or fast milk flow, postnatal vitamin deficiencies, and distractions, among others.

We’ll also discuss the effects on both the baby and the mother, as well as potential solutions, such as adjusting the baby’s latch, trying different breastfeeding positions, or seeking the help of a lactation consultant.

So, if your baby is uncomfortable, gassy, or experiencing nasal congestion during breastfeeding, keep reading to learn more about how to achieve a good latch and a comfortable feeding experience for both you and your little one.

Causes of a baby repeatedly latching and unlatching during breastfeeding

When a baby repeatedly latches and unlatches during breastfeeding, it can be frustrating and concerning for the nursing mother. There can be various causes for this behavior, and some of them are:

  1. Milk flow: If the milk flow is not consistent, the baby may repeatedly latch and unlatch to stimulate the flow.
  2. Slow milk flow: A slow milk flow can make the baby impatient and cause them to latch and unlatch repeatedly.
  3. Newborn baby: Newborn babies may need some time to get used to breastfeeding and may repeatedly latch and unlatch during the learning process.
  4. Low Milk supply: If the milk supply is low, the baby may latch and unlatch repeatedly to try and stimulate more milk production.
  5. Too much milk: An oversupply of milk can cause the baby to choke or gag, which can make them latch and unlatch repeatedly.
  6. Distracted baby: A distracted baby may repeatedly latch and unlatch during breastfeeding if they are more interested in their surroundings.
  7. Baby uncomfortable: A baby may become uncomfortable if the breastfeeding position is not correct, causing them to repeatedly latch and unlatch.
  8. Sick Baby: Your infant must breathe through his nose to nurse once he latches on. While nursing a sick child who has nasal congestion, feeding can be difficult and may result in a shallow latch or frequent unlatching.
  9. Teething Baby: Sensitivity and discomfort are common during teething. Nursing might make your infant uncomfortable and make the gum discomfort in your baby’s mouth worse.

If a mother is concerned about her baby latching and unlatching repeatedly, she can consult a lactation consultant or her baby’s pediatrician. Different breastfeeding positions or techniques, such as the cross-cradle hold or laid-back position, may help improve the baby’s latch and reduce the behavior.

Additionally, using nasal saline drops or gas drops, if necessary, can help the baby feel more comfortable during feeding sessions.

Effects of Baby latching and unlatching Repeatedly during a Feeding session

While breastfeeding, a baby that latches and unlatches repeatedly may experience a variety of negative outcomes. One of the main effects is that the infant may become frustrated and uncomfortable as a result of not being able to get enough milk or having trouble establishing a good latch.

This may result in a gassy infant since they might swallow air as a result, which would make them uncomfortable and fussy.

Also, frequent latching and unlatching may restrict the milk flow, which may make the issue worse. The baby may become more and more irritated and angry as a result, which can be very frustrating for him or her. It could also cause the infant to lose focus and struggle with latching

Moreover, it may cause the infant to lose concentration and make latching on more difficult.

Often latching and unlatching can create irritation and inflammation in the mother’s nipples, which can result in soreness. Due to the baby’s potential inability to completely empty the breast during the feeding session, it might also result in a reduction in milk output.

While breastfeeding, an infant that latches and unlatches repeatedly may experience delayed growth and development. The baby may not be getting enough milk if it is frequently latching and unlatching, which can lead to inadequate nutrition.

Delays in cognitive and developmental milestones as well as delays in physical growth might result from this. Frequent feedings can also make a baby tired and cranky, which can interfere with their sleep and hinder their growth.

Also, a bad latch might make the infant uncomfortable, which may make them less eager to eat and further affect their nutrition and growth. In order to secure a proper latch, it’s crucial to ask a healthcare professional for advice if you’re having trouble breastfeeding.

Solutions to Baby Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly

woman, breastfeeding, baby

A baby repeatedly latching and unlatching during breastfeeding can be frustrating for both the baby and the mother. Here are some solutions that may help:

  1. Check the latch: A poor latch on the nursing breast can cause the baby to repeatedly latch and unlatch. Ensure that the baby is latching correctly by making sure their mouth covers a good portion of the areola and not just the nipple.
  2. Try different breastfeeding positions: Sometimes, changing the breastfeeding position can make a difference. The cross-cradle or football hold can help ensure a good latch, and the laid-back position can also encourage a deep latch and slow milk flow.
  3. Reduce distractions: Make sure that the baby is in a quiet room or dark room, without any distractions like TV or phone calls, to help the baby focus on feeding. It may be time to introduce a pacifier to babies who are being soothed by nursing. Alternatively, you could try to divert her attention with a different toy or activity.
  4. Address milk flow: If the baby is unlatching due to a slow or excess milk flow, try expressing some milk before feeding or trying different breastfeeding positions to adjust the milk flow.
  5. Consider milk supply: If the baby is still hungry after feeding, it could be a sign of a low milk supply. Consult with a lactation consultant or the baby’s pediatrician to get the milk flowing to ensure that the baby is getting enough milk. Postnatal vitamins specifically formulated for breastfeeding mothers can also help increase milk supply and provide the necessary nutrients for the baby.
  6. Gassy baby: Trapped air or gas can cause discomfort, leading the baby to latch and unlatch repeatedly. Try burping the baby in between feeds to relieve any gas. Gas drops or a change in nursing positions may relieve gas pain.
  7. Sick Baby: If the baby has a stuffy nose or acid reflux, they may have difficulty feeding comfortably. Using nasal saline drops multiple times per day is one alternative. Before you nurse, you can help her by clearing out her nose with a bulb suction device like a NoseFrida.To make mucus easier to discharge and to help loosen it, try running a humidifier in your infant’s room. Feed her at an angle or when she is standing up so that any mucus she spits up will fall as she eats.
  8. Teething Baby: The majority of teething pain goes away on its own in a few days. If your baby is experiencing very distressing teething discomfort that keeps her from feeding, speak with your pediatrician to find out if Children’s Tylenol can be administered.
  9. Consider offering the other breast: If the baby is repeatedly latching and unlatching on one breast, consider offering the other breast, as they may not be getting enough milk from one breast alone.
  10. Formula: Finally, if the baby is fine nursing from a bottle, it may be worth trying bottle feeding as a supplement to breast milk to allow the baby to continue to receive the nutrients it needs

Nursing Positions to Prevent Your Baby From Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly

Sometimes switching up your nursing position can help to stop your baby from latching and unlatching during feedings. Here are some nursing positions to try:

Cross-cradle: This position is ideal for newborn babies. Sitting in a comfortable chair, cradle your baby’s head in the crook of your arm with his belly against yours.

Cradle hold: Similar to the cross-cradle, your baby is propped up on the same side as the nursing breast. With newborn babies, it’s good to use a nursing pillow for support.

Football hold: Slide your baby to your side with her legs tucked under your arm (like you would hold a football) on the same side as your nursing breast. Premature or smaller babies, mothers of twins, and mothers with large breasts have a lot of success with the football hold position.

Laying back: A laid-back position lets gravity do the work to allow babies’ latch to happen organically. A good latch leads to less unlatching. This position is especially beneficial for mothers with smaller breasts.

Laying on your side: This is a great, relaxing breastfeeding position. Lay down with your baby on her side, facing you. This position is good if your baby is experiencing gas pain and needs to stretch out.

It’s important to be wary of extra bedding and the suffocation hazard it poses. Make sure to keep blankets and loose materials away from your baby.

Breastfeeding can be challenging Keep on despite your frustration and don’t give up! When the stress of your baby unlatching overwhelms you, take a break!

If you have a lipstick nipple or a shallow latch, use an ointment to the sore spots and try a few different breastfeeding positions.

When Should You See A lactation Consultant or Your Pediatrician

See your baby’s pediatrician as soon as you can if the issue continues. They’ll investigate whether she has a tongue tie or lip tie or another physical cause for her unlatching. Also, occasionally it can be difficult to encourage your infant to latch on due to excessively large or inverted nipples.

The disease known as silent reflux, in which stomach acid rushes back up the esophagus and causes discomfort, is uncommon, but you can ask your doctor to check for it.

Mothers of children with visual impairments or other disabilities can receive advice from a qualified lactation consultant and your child’s pediatrician.


Breastfeeding is a lovely and natural way to nourish your baby although it is not always simple, From uncomfortable nipples to a lack of milk flow, nursing may be difficult for many new mothers. The majority of these difficulties may be overcome, though, with persistence and patience.

Many common breastfeeding problems, such as sore nipples, insufficient milk supply, and a baby that constantly latches and unlatches while feeding, have been addressed in this article.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that every mother’s experience of breastfeeding is different, and what works for one mother may not work for another. I

it is also crucial to get assistance from lactation specialists, your child’s pediatrician, and other mothers who have had experience breastfeeding. with the appropriate equipment, supplies, and support, you can successfully breastfeed your baby and create a special bond that will last a lifetime.



Why does my baby keep pulling off during nursing?

Babies can pull off the breast during nursing for several reasons. One of the most common reasons is that they are not latched on properly, which can cause discomfort or difficulty with feeding. Additionally, babies may become distracted by their environment, leading them to pull off their breasts to look around or respond to stimuli.

Another possibility is that the baby is experiencing discomfort or pain, such as from gas or reflux. Finally, some babies may simply be finished feeding and are signaling that they no longer want to nurse.

It’s important to observe your baby’s behavior and feeding patterns to determine the cause of the pulling off and address any underlying issues to ensure successful breastfeeding.


Why does my newborn latch then unlatch?

Newborns may unlatch during breastfeeding for various reasons. One common reason is that they may be experiencing difficulty latching properly, which can result in discomfort or frustration. Another reason could be that they are simply full and no longer hungry. It’s also possible that your baby is experiencing a distraction, such as noise or movement in the environment.

Additionally, babies may unlatch if they are experiencing discomfort or pain, such as from teething or a stuffy nose. It’s important to observe your baby’s behavior and feeding patterns to identify any potential issues and address them accordingly.

Why does my baby pull on and off the breast?

A baby may pull on and off the breast while being breastfed for a variety of reasons. One typical explanation is that the baby unlatches in anger if the milk flow is too fast or too sluggish for their taste.

Also, if the surroundings are noisy or engaging, a baby may become distracted when nursing. Sometimes the infant may pull away from the breast because they are in agony or discomfort from teething, an ear infection, or other medical conditions.

Last but not least, some infants may merely prefer to feed more frequently, which can result in frequent pulling on and off the breast.

Why does my newborn baby latch on and off and cry?

For a variety of reasons, a newborn baby may latch on and off and cry while being breastfed. It can be the result of a bad latch, in which case the infant experiences discomfort and frustration from being unable to latch onto the breast effectively.

Moreover, they can be having gas or reflux, which makes feeding painful. Too much milk may also be to blame, which may prompt the infant to withdraw in order to control the flow.

Additionally, the infant could act out and fuss because they are simply overtired or overstimulated.

To ensure successful breastfeeding, a pediatrician or lactation specialist can assist in identifying the problem and offering solutions.

Why Does my baby get Frantic while breastfeeding?

Babies may get frantic while breastfeeding for various reasons. One of the common reasons is hunger, and babies may become frustrated

if the milk flow is slow or if they are not getting enough milk.

Another reason is if the baby is experiencing discomfort, such as if they have trapped gas or a stuffy nose. Sometimes, babies may also get distracted by their surroundings, leading to fussiness during breastfeeding.

If the baby continues to be frantic during breastfeeding, it may be helpful to consult with a lactation consultant or the baby’s pediatrician to identify and address any underlying issues.



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.