21 answers

Baby Boy Won't Stay Latched

I am a BF mom of a 16 week old baby boy. He is wonderful, and sweet, only fusses before bedtime, we can take him anywhere (including an airplane) with no problem...just an absolute joy. For about the last month when he nurses he will continually latch on and pull off several times during the feeding. It doesn't hurt, it's more just annoying, and I'm not sure why he does it, and it's hard to tell when he's finished eating because he keeps latching back on. He does this mainly on one breast, the other he eats pretty constantly, maybe only latching off 1 or 2 times. He eats very fast, only about 10 minutes total each feeding, but is growing normally and does not give hunger cues when he's finished. Does anyone know why he might be doing this? Any tips on how to get him to stop? Thanks for the help!

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Both my daughters did this and they are just playing! It is a phase and will pass. Best of luck and congrats on such a wonderful baby boy!

he is latching on and off because he has learned how. The novelty will probably wear off. It might not. When my kids started playing this way I took them away from the breast. If they were still hungry, they'd let me know.

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My son's going through the same thing right now, at 4 1/2 months old. I agree with the other moms that it's because they're getting distracted from their surroundings. I find that when my son won't focus on feeding, I'll cover his head with a light blanket or even a burp cloth, so that he's not stimulated and can concentrate on feeding. It helps a lot to have a quiet environment, too. Good luck!

It sounds to me like he is playing during his feedings, looking around and such. I would try going to a quiet room with no distractions to see if that helps. At any rate, I think it is just a phase that will pass. It did with my kids.

What you are experiencing is very typical for this age. As another poster said, your baby is at the stage where he is becoming more aware of his surroundings. This is also the age where babies become more efficient with their nursing, hence the 10 minute satisfied feedings.

Dear A.,

Your baby is about the right age to begin getting distracted while nursing. They do this whether nursing or bottle feeding. The truth is, that your baby is intelligent and if he weren't becoming distracted, you would be right to worry a little.

Distractions can be looking at you or anything else in the room. The best thing to do is enjoy his curiosity, then encourage him to continue feeding.

When you really have to get moving quickly, try nursing in a darkened room...If he sees less, he may focus more on the task at hand. (This backfired with my kids though...they were interested in the "changed environment" more than the "same ole, same ole" place I nursed them in regularly).

Both of mine when through this phase. I feel like it happened when the flow wasn't as fast as they'd like and/or when they started teething. My son started teething right at 3mos.

Hope you figure it out,

Hi A.,

It may be that the milk from that breast comes out faster. Just be patient because, as he gets bigger, he'll probably be able to handle it.


My daughter did this too. At the time I thought it had to do with her working the milk. I had a lot of problems with clogged milk ducts so I assumed it was her way of working out the "clogs". When she started doing this I would massage my breast to help get the milk going. It seemed to help.

Good Luck!

That is completely normal for his age. Just starting to become more aware of the very interesting and stimulating world around him. Hang in there
Good luck

Hi A.,

I can understand how annoying this phase is...yes, it is just a phase. My children all did this at one point or another (I nursed my 4 children). It could be because he is distracted, but more than likely since he only does it on one side, I would tend to think it has to do with your "let down". He is probably getting frustrated himself at how much slower that side lets down. He probably just wants to eat and get down to his business of learning and exploring the world more. Continue to be patient and when you are nursing him on the side that he pulls off on more, be sure you are in a comfortable position so that your milk can let down faster. My guess is he just wants to eat and solve his hunger pains and get back to business of playing. Maybe you could try and talk to him and try to get his eyes to focus on yours...maybe he wouldnt pull off so often...just an idea. Best of luck with your nursing...I sure do miss that part of my life, so enjoy it while you can!


I agree with the other posters, and would add that perhaps he needs to pee or poop! I know, it's not something we think about, but sometimes our babies don't want to eliminate on us, and so they have a hard time relaxing when they need to go. This was the case with my son, and I would take off his diaper, hold him over a small potty or other bowl type thing (or his diaper) and give him a chance to eliminate. Then he was immediately back to nursing without interruption.
However, I do remember that at 4 or 5 months I had to nurse in a dark room without reading or making any noise - great time for a nap or meditation! Or just staring at your boy and pondering your amazing life.

My oldest son did this same thing until it was time to stop nursing him. My problem was that my son began to see everything around him and it was so cool! So i think your son is just exploring and his world in a super secure environment! I tried blankets and cover-ups however they began to make him mad because one it was summer and two he couldn't see. And ya know in the end I just had to get used to periodically flashing the world wherever I happened to be the mall, the zoo, out at dinner. And its not like I didn't try to keep things covered up in public however those little hands pull those blankets away really fast!
As for one side and not the other the one he stays latched to may let down a little harder so its easier and keeps his attention since theres more per pull going into his mouth. There's nothing wrong with that either i had one side let down harder than the other. Hope this helps!

He's doing it because he is busy looking around. My daughter does this(also 4 months) and my first two did it when they were that age. The only way I've found to stop it is to kind of "put blinders on him". What I do is when he is feeding, I place a flat hand on the side of her face, parallel with her face but hign enough to block what she can see. Kind of like horses who pull carriages. That way, the only thing she can see on the side is my hand and that gets very boring. I don't know how else to explain how to do it, but I know that trying to make her latch back on does not work. You could also cover her and yoor shoulder up with a blanket.

Both my daughters did this and they are just playing! It is a phase and will pass. Best of luck and congrats on such a wonderful baby boy!

That is exactly what he should be doing. He is even a little on the early side. It means his brain is turning on. (Initial cognitive development) He is so interested in what is going on around him that he just HAS to look. The sides thing has to do with his dominant eye. You may have a little genius in your hands! It should only go on for another month or so. Stay committed. If it gets frustrating for you, just nurse him in the most boring place in the house (like a closet) to help him stay on task.

Absolutely normal! Don't try to get him to stop, he isn't doing anything wrong. You need to change your attitude and stop being annoyed by his 100% normal baby behavior. He is growing, learning, becoming more aware of the world around him. It is a good thing, so stop being annoyed and enjoy your little guy!

It sounds like he is playing. All 3 of mine did that-and then they start laughing.

Sometimes your milk comes out quicker than they think it will and kind of overwhelms them. As you're nursing lean back in a chair, sounds odd, but it really helps with gravity. THen the milk only comes when he's sucking, he'll have more control.

he is latching on and off because he has learned how. The novelty will probably wear off. It might not. When my kids started playing this way I took them away from the breast. If they were still hungry, they'd let me know.

My daughter did that exact same thing the first 2 weeks I breastfed her. She preferred my right side over the left and did the pull off thing on my left side. I later learned that my left nipple was plugged and she was not getting milk out as easily as she was on my right side. So I used warm water on my left side frequently to keep my milk ducts from plugging up, and pumped to stimulate milk production. She now feeds on both sides but I have to make sure that she spends the same amount of time on the right and left, because I don't want to end up with uneven boob sizes...if you know what I mean. Hope this helps!

It's possible that the one breast has a higher milk flow or that it's more comfortable to him to lay on one side rather than the other. I wouldn't be concerned since he nurses pretty well on the other breast. Just prepare yourself ahead of time to accept the fact that he might take a break and latch back on so you don't feel annoyed by it. At some point he will only be eating solids so enjoy what time you have with him nursing and relax.

I am a first time mom so I like to read, watch baby shows, and get advice from recent mom's. My daughter used to do that to but would seem as if she was still really hungry. My sister told me to stop and burp her because she may have a air bubble. This really worked for me. Also one of the shows said that babies like to be reassured so they stop what they are doing and look up at you to make sure it's still you.

Good luck,
Mel P

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