Most new parents are familiar with those cute newborn sounds, such as a baby slurping while feeding, and many wonder if this is normal or even beneficial.
The baby’s ability to do this is called a “suck-swallow-breathe” reflex. This reflex is usually developed by the time the newborn is born and helps the infant latch on to the nipple.
Slurping while breastfeeding typically occurs when the baby is feeding heavily and enthusiastically. Although it is not a cause for concern, there are a few things you can do to minimize the noise if it bothers you.
Normal Sounds During Breastfeeding
During a breastfeeding session, the baby may do any number of things that surprise the mother. This can lead to worry that something is wrong or that the child isn’t receiving what he or she needs.
However, all of the sounds mentioned below are normal, and they show that the baby is getting what he or she needs. Here are some sounds you might hear during feeding:
- Slurping: This sound happens when your baby is swallowing down breast milk. It’s one of the best sounds you’ll hear as a new mom.
- Clicking: You may hear a clicking sound as your baby sucks. This indicates that he or she is latching on properly and that you should continue to feed as normal.
- Sucking noises: He or she may also make swallowed air noises as he or she feeds. The suckling should be rhythmic and steady—if it’s not, then his latch might be off and you should try again before continuing the feeding session.
- Squeaking: This noise occurs when your baby takes a deep breath mid-suck. It shows that milk volume increases and your baby is getting plenty of milk and also breathing well at the same time.
- Groaning: Your baby is expressing pleasure or satisfaction
- Grunting: Your baby is working hard to get the milk out. You’ll usually hear this at the beginning of a feed or when she’s almost done.
Why Do Babies Make Slurping Noises?
The first sound you might hear is slurping—it’s the sound of your baby nursing strongly, and usually means the milk flow is well-established.
Slurping while breastfeeding is a common feeding baby behavior. When a baby first starts feeding, the baby latches on and sucks for a while before taking a break.
Slurping while breastfeeding may be due to a tongue tie in baby. A newborn’s tongue should not be tethered to the bottom of his or her mouth. If it is, this means that your baby cannot move his or her tongue freely. Signs of a tongue-tie include:
- Baby’s tongue may not reach the roof of the mouth or may have a heart-shaped appearance on the tip.
- The tight frenulum (a piece of skin that connects parts of the body) is shorter than normal, so it doesn’t allow enough movement.
- There’s a notch at the tip of the frenulum where it attaches to the baby’s gums.
Not Enough Milk Supply
It can be normal for the baby to slurp or suckle, but if it is happening a lot and the baby is not being satisfied, then this may indicate that there is not enough milk volume.
Normally, most of the milk volume comes at the beginning of the feeding, when the mom’s let-down reflex is in full effect.
If the baby is not getting enough milk then sometimes they will continue to suckle or even bite down to get more milk out, or even begin to knead the breast.
Here are some tips on how you can help increase your milk supply:
- Drink plenty of water (2-3 extra glasses a day)
- Try pumping after feedings to make sure you express all the milk out of your breasts. This can also help increase your supply as well!
- Make sure that you are breastfeeding often (at least every 2-3 hours). The more milk that gets taken from your breast, the greater amount that will be produced by it.
Reason for Slowed Milk Production
If milk is not flowing freely and quickly, your baby may start to slurp instead of suck. This can be frustrating for new mothers, but it’s important to remember that a hungry baby will eat no matter what.
The problem is usually a lack of milk production due to:
- Sleep Deprivation
Don’t worry if your baby is fussing at the breast. With a little bit of patience and effort, you and your baby will be happily breastfeeding together in no time! Having supply issues? Read our post for advice on how to increase milk supply and maybe try some lactation cookies.
Benefits of Slurping
Does it affect the baby’s growth and development? The short answer is: no. Slurping is normal and not harmful to your baby’s weight gain and development.
- Slurping while breastfeeding helps to release that swallowed air, making it easier for the baby to digest.
- Slurping soothes a fussy baby and may even help them to settle down for a nap
- Manages milk flows better
- Helps the baby to get more milk. This is because the act of slurping creates suction, which can trigger the let-down reflex and cause more milk to flow
Slurping while breastfeeding is perfectly normal and can actually be beneficial for both mother and child. When a baby slurps, they are able to create suction, which pulls more milk from the breast and into the baby’s mouth. If your baby is slurping while breastfeeding, there is no need to worry.
What Is Clicking?
When you’re breastfeeding your baby, it’s perfectly normal to hear a clicking sound and swallowing noises. This is known as “clicking” and is a pretty common occurrence during breastfeeding.
Remember that your baby is learning, and adjusting to your milk flow just like you are!
Why Is My Baby-making Clicking Noises?
The clicking sounds come from the baby’s tongue hitting the roof of her mouth as she releases the suction on the breast. Baby makes this sucking sound because they don’t have great control over their tongues just yet.
Babies make clicking sounds when they’re nursing for a number of reasons. They may click during nursing if:
- It could be because of the baby’s mouth structure.
- It could be that your nipple is flat
- Due to insufficient milk supply or oversupply, sometimes the baby just sucks so hard that it creates the sound.
- They are habitually sucking on pacifiers or bottles
- They have a tongue-tie or lip tie
- They have problems with their gums or teeth
- It could be that the baby’s mouth is too small for how much milk you’re producing.
Is Clicking a Problem?
Consistent clicking during feeding, however, especially in conjunction with other signs of feeding difficulties, such as nipple pain, slow weight gain, coughing, choking, gasping, panting, unlatching, and grimacing, should be evaluated, even if it occurs during bottle-feeding.
The clicking sound while nursing is a normal part of your baby’s early development. If you’re worried about your baby making a clicking sound while nursing, talk to your pediatrician or lactation consultant.
Why Does It Sound Like My Baby Is Gulping When Breastfeeding?
Is it normal for babies to make gulping sounds while breastfeeding? When a baby is breastfeeding, they will often make a gulping sound as they swallow. Gulping happens because there’s not enough milk or too much milk.
If you can hear a very loud gulping sound, then it means your baby may have a problem with their tongue tie, which is common among infants who are less than three months old. This can disrupt the flow of milk and make it difficult for them to latch on correctly.
It can actually be beneficial for your baby to gulp while breastfeeding. Gulping helps your baby to properly latch on to the nipple and to get a good seal around the areola allowing your baby to effectively remove milk from the breast and avoid air bubbles in the milk.
If your baby is gulping loudly when breastfeeding but he’s gaining weight well and having normal bowel movements and wet diapers, there’s no reason for concern.
The Baby Always Seems Fussy at the Breast
The reasons your baby may be fussy at the breast can be hard to pin down, but it is important to figure out whether or not it is affecting their weight gain.
A baby may be fussy at the breast because of a variety of reasons. It could be that they have a blocked nose and cannot breathe properly. You could also have an oversupply of milk and are experiencing a forceful letdown.
In this case, the baby may react by squirming around or pulling off the breast before feeding properly. The following steps will help you determine whether or not your baby’s fussiness is affecting their weight gain:
- Check for signs of dehydration: sunken eyes, dry mouth, less than six wet diapers per day
- Monitor your baby’s behavior during feeds; do they spend more time on the breast than usual? Do they feed longer? Or do they pull away quickly and reject the breast?
- Be sure your baby isn’t fussy from a dirty diaper. Try changing his/her diaper.
If you’re worried that your baby is too fussy while nursing, you can try these tactics:
- Nurse on demand
- Avoid pacifiers or bottles before breastfeeding
- Burp your baby after every feeding session
- Try nursing while lying down
- Make sure your baby’s mouth covers the areola and nipple
Noises while breastfeeding are common and usually nothing to worry about. If your baby is fussy or not gaining weight, consult with your pediatrician.
Is block feeding the answer?
Block feeding is a management technique for decreasing milk production. It is a form of scheduled feed routine or responsive feeding method that divides the daily hours into time blocks.
In a nutshell, it divides the day into multiple feeding when an infant can take a full stomach without discomfort. This process helps mothers to keep up with milk production and minimize overfeeding of the baby.
In other words, while the baby is fed, the breast is rested. Block feeding is an excellent solution to help babies at risk of overfeeding control their appetite and weight gain.
Why Does Baby Flick Their Tongue While Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding helps babies to get the nutrients they need, and it also helps to promote bonding between mother and child. The baby may flick its tongue while breastfeeding for a variety of reasons:
- In order to get the last drops of milk from the breast.
- They are using a reflex known as the rooting reflex. This reflex helps the baby to latch onto the breast and ensure they are getting enough milk.
- In order to stimulate breast tissue. This can help the baby to get the let-down reflex, which allows milk to flow more easily from the breast.
If the baby is having trouble getting the milk flowing, it may need to be latched on more securely or positioned differently.
Why Would the Baby Have Problems Coordinating the Flow / Maintaining a Seal?
Problems maintaining a seal can happen for a number of reasons:
- You have a poor latch, which means that the baby is not able to get a good grip on the nipple.
- Baby has a shallow suck, which means that the baby is not able to get much milk out of the breast.
- Baby has a a strong suck, which can cause the nipple to become irritated and make it difficult for the baby to maintain a seal.
This can lead to poor milk flow and an inadequate supply of breastmilk. In some cases, the baby may also experience pain or discomfort while breastfeeding.
My Boobs Are Engorged and Swollen
Some new mothers experience nipple soreness and pain while breastfeeding. Nipple pain while breastfeeding is a common issue faced by mothers and is sometimes caused by thrush. The most common cause however is irritation caused by poor latch.
Breast engorgement is associated with breastfeeding a baby, but can also occur during the first days after birth or even during pregnancy. In the first few days, your breasts will produce colostrum for your baby, before your milk comes in around day 3-5. Some engorgement at this stage is very common while your supply regulates, but this can also occur later on due to missing feeds.
Signs Your Baby Is Well Attached while Breastfeeding
A good latch is the first sign of a good attachment. Attachment is important for both the mother and baby during breastfeeding.
Good attachment allows the baby to get milk efficiently and also helps to establish a strong bond between the two. Signs that indicate a baby is well attached to breastfeeding:
- The mouth is properly positioned on the breast and the tongue is covering the lower gum.
- The baby should be able to suck effectively, drawing milk from the breast.
- No pain or discomfort for the mother when the baby is nursing.
- The baby should display signs of contentment after nursing, such as smacking lips or burping.
A well-attached baby will typically result in a good milk supply for the mother. This is because attachment promotes efficient removal of milk from the breast, which in turn stimulates milk production.
Attachment and Positioning
With poor positioning, it is more likely that your baby will not have a good seal at the breast. During breastfeeding, there are four main positions that indicate a good attachment between mother and infant:
- Your baby’s chin touches your breast.
- The infant’s tongue is positioned underneath the mother’s nipple, and your baby’s lips are turned out, like a “fish mouth.” This ensures that they can effectively remove milk from the breast.
- Your baby’s body is aligned with your body while your baby’s head and neck are supported by your arm.
- The infant is able to stay attached for relatively long periods of time. Your baby’s nose is clear of the breast.
Remember, a good latch is the first sign of a successful breastfeeding session and should be achieved for both mother and baby to get milk efficiently as well as create an emotional bond between the two.
Takeaway: Slurping is a natural part of breastfeeding, there is no need to stop your baby from making these sounds.
When a baby is breastfeeding, it may make all sorts of noises. This isn’t something that should worry you. Babies make these sounds because it’s how they get the milk to flow. It’s a natural part of the process, so there’s no need to stop your baby from making these noises.
Breastfeeding is a learned skill for both mom and baby and can take some time to get used to for both individuals- if you’d like some helpful tips, check out our post about getting started with breastfeeding. Having the help of a lactation consultant, your pediatrician or La Leche League leader can be very helpful in answering questions and making sure that you are both on the right track in terms of breastfeeding and baby growth or problems, with milk supply if any.
This article was written by Sandra Baker – full time writer and the mother of four amazing kids (including twins!)
She’s also a breastfeeding counselor and has spent years helping new parents learn how to care for their children. When she’s not writing or caring for her children, Sandra likes to spend time reading and taking walks with her husband.