Fussiness At The Breast: Lets Find the Cause

Many babies are just cranky at the breast. There can be many reasons for this , so Mamas do not give up. Try some of these solutions and see if any of them helps you. There are many babies who may cry or come off the breast while breastfeeding; especially around 6-8 weeks. This is a popular time but it can happen at any time.

I am certain many of you who have had babies before have experienced fussiness. Nothing is so frustrating like wanting your baby to breastfeed and he or she is just refusing. We are going to explore some of the issues that might be causing the problem. Here is a list you can use to figure out which category the baby is in:

Age: Growth Spurts

The majority of babies experience fussiness during growth spurts which occurs during the first few days, then 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months. So recognize when these growth spurts occur can help you be more tolerable with your baby and the breastfeeding experience.

Developmental Changes

Babies take time to adjust to the outside world

Many babies appear shocked by arriving into the world. They once were in a quiet environment, with no loud noises, no touching, no lights, and one stable environment in the amniotic fluid. Once your baby is born, he/ she has to adjust to their new world. All babies adjust differently. Babies are learning their environment and learning takes time. Babies only response to discomfort is crying. They cry for different reasons. As your baby grows, you will get to know why they are discomforted.

Take Note of The Times When Baby is Fussy

I would like for you to observe the times your baby is fussy. Babies can be fussy at different times. Babies can get fussy :

  • During breastfeeding
  • Is it in the morning?
  • In the evening?
  • Have you given the baby formula for a short time and decided to go back to breastfeeding?
  • Are you giving your baby more bottle feeds than breastfeeds?

These are very important questions that may solve this fussy issue.

Let Down

Sometimes, babies come off the breast due to fast let down. The flow can be tremendous for some babies and actually choke them. Try hand expression if baby is showing signs of over milk supply. One breast is always faster than the other. Allow baby to feed off the slower breast first.

Burping After Feeds

If the baby’s fussiness comes after a feed, you may need to burp your baby. Breastfed babies often do not swallow as much air as bottle fed babies, but they still can swallow some air. Air can get trapped and cause discomfort for your baby. Burping is necessary.  Try taking a burping break after every 2 or 3 ounces if you’re bottle-feeding, or when your baby switches breasts if you’re nursing. It is ok not to burp if baby falls asleep, or seems contented during or after feeding. Many babies outgrow the need to be burped by 4 to 6 months old because they don’t swallow as much air as they become more efficient eaters. Additionally, they are also more active which provides for the air to come up automatically.

Three ways to burp a baby

There’s more than one way to get the job done. Here are three different burping methods you can try. Experiment to find the one that’s most comfortable and effective for you and your baby.

(1) On your chest or shoulder

  • Put a cloth over your shoulder (and even down your back) to protect your clothes from spit-up.
  • Hold your baby against your chest so her chin is resting on your shoulder.
  • Support her with one hand and gently pat or rub her back with the other.

Or try this as an alternative when your baby has more head and neck control:

  • Hold your baby farther up on your shoulder – high enough that your shoulder presses lightly on her belly, creating gentle pressure that will let out the burp.
  • Support her with one hand and gently pat or rub her back with the other.
  • Make sure your baby is able to breathe comfortably and isn’t slumped over too far. A quick peek in the mirror to check her head placement can be helpful.

(2) Sitting on your lap

  • Put a cloth bib on your baby or a cloth over your lap to catch any spit-up.
  • Sit your baby on your lap facing away from you.
  • Use one hand to support his body, the palm of your hand supporting his chest while your fingers gently support his chin and jaw. (Make sure you’re not putting your fingers around his throat.)
  • Lean your baby slightly forward and gently pat or rub his back with your other hand.

Note: If you don’t get a burp after a few minutes, try a different position. If that doesn’t work, it’s fine to stop – your baby simply may not need to burp. There have been times when my babies did not burp. Not all the times after feeding do babies need to burp, but it is good to try at all times.

(3) Face down across your lap

  • Put a cloth over your lap to catch any spit-up.
  • Lay your baby face down on your legs so she’s lying across your knees, perpendicular to your body.
  • Support her chin and jaw with one hand. Make sure your baby’s head isn’t lower than the rest of her body so blood doesn’t rush to her head.
  • Pat or rub her back with the other hand.

Wake Baby Up When It’s Time To Feed

Always wake baby for feeds if 3-4 hours or more

Mamas, always wake baby up for feeds when oversleeping, because it can cause your breasts to become too full and a really fast overflow. Waking baby on time for feeds during the first three months is important.

Are You Eating Something Different?

Some babies do not like the changes in their mother’s breast milk. If you are eating something. If this is the case try not eating the food for a week and see if any changes.

Determine If Baby Is Sick

Sometimes your baby can be sick or teething. Observe your baby for any signs of sickness e.g. fever, stuffy nose, thrush, allergies, vomiting, irritability, restlessness, or tongue tying. Sickness can affect how your baby feeds.

Are you Bottle feeding More Than Breastfeeding?

Many babies if they are bottle feeding more than breastfeeding, your baby might prefer the bottle than the breast because it is less work and easier just to suck than to pull harder on the breast.

If baby is getting bottles you might consider putting them away, at least for a while. When you must use a bottle, only use a newborn nipple for as long as baby will tolerate it so that she never gets a really fast flow of milk from the bottle, but has to work a little more to get the milk.

Is Baby Ready For A Routine Change?

Some babies have preferences of changing their breastfeeding routine. Babies become very efficient at the breast with growth and maturity. They can milk the breast in a lot less time per feeding session than they required before. Baby’s frustration may just be a sign that she’s finished and wants to move on. Some babies are impatient with the flow of their mother’s breast. This cause some mothers to give up breastfeeding for fear that their babies are not satisfied.

A good way to determine if baby is getting enough milk is asking these 3 questions:

  • Is baby gaining weight?
  • Is baby passing urine?
  • Is baby passing stools? Seek your healthcare provider if you are not sure about what is going on with your little star. Try offering a pacifier @4 weeks during these fussy times. Babies love to suck .

Check Baby’s Diaper Regularly

Always check baby’s diaper for a smooth feeding session

Most babies do not like being fed in dirty diapers, so make sure you check your baby’s diaper before feeds and change soiled diapers right away . Soiled diapers can cause diaper rash from irritated skin.

Skin to Skin Helps To Keep Baby Interested In Breastfeeding

Fussiness at the breast can have many causes. It can also be very frustrating for mom who wants her baby more than anything to breastfeed. These are some of the common causes. If you really want your baby to adjust to the breast, try skin to skin to keep baby interested in breastfeeding. I hope you were able to find out the real cause as to why your little star does not want to suck your breasts. Thank you for stopping by and do come again. Leave a comment below if you have a concern. I would be happy to hear from you and I wish you every success in your breastfeeding journey.

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Here is a great video for you to enjoy as you learn.

2 thoughts on “Fussiness At The Breast: Lets Find the Cause

    • Hello Erin. Thank you for visiting my site. I visited the link you left above. The formula brand I know is a good one because I gave it to one of my children. That was over 20 years ago. I see where many improvements have been made in making the formula better. Do you have an affiliate program?


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