5 Reasons Your Baby Is Kicking While Breastfeeding

Is your baby kicking while breastfeeding? Here are five possible reasons for this behavior and tips to help you and your little one have a more comfortable and successful nursing session.

Baby Kicking While Breastfeeding

As if caring for a newborn baby couldn’t get harder… now your baby is kicking while breastfeeding.

She’ll squirm and shake her head from side to side, gasping as if she’s drowning in milk. Yet with the constant kicking and unlatching, you worry whether she’s even able to consume anything. And let’s not forget the pain after breastfeeding when she’s in this state.

Rest assured friend, you’re not the only one with this problem. Take a look at some of the more common reasons babies move so much during breastfeeding, and what you can do to turn things around:

Pain After Breastfeeding

1. A fast letdown

One of the most common reasons your baby may be kicking while breastfeeding is because of an oversupply of milk.

This is when your breasts expel more milk, especially in the beginning, than your baby can take in. He kicks and cries because he’s trying to slow the flow and take a breath. This is especially true if you notice him unlatching, gasping, or getting frustrated as well.

How can you ease a fast flow of milk so that he doesn’t keep twisting and pulling while breastfeeding?

To start, lean backward or nurse at a recline. Gravity can work in your favor when you’re not nursing downward. You might even want to nurse him flat on your back and place him on top, or lay on your side while nursing him next to you.

You can also pump or manually express the initial milk. Right before you start nursing, express some milk either by pumping it into bottles or manually in the shower. This can ease the pressure that might cause milk to gush out.

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2. A slow letdown

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Just as a fast letdown can aggravate your baby, so too can a slow one. This is especially true during a growth spurt when she’s trying to get more milk than what’s coming out. She might be nursing fine in the beginning during letdown only to get frustrated in the middle when the milk slows.

Don’t let a slow letdown deter you from breastfeeding. Nursing her more often can encourage your body to produce the amount of milk she needs and increase your milk supply. That said, you can try a few tricks to help a slow letdown move along.

For instance, massage your breasts before and during breastfeeding. Do breast compressions by applying pressure with your hand from the top of the breast toward the nipple to help the milk flow. Consider drinking mother’s tea, which can increase milk production.

Ensure a good latch as well. If your baby unlatches in frustration, encourage her to latch correctly once more. This can hopefully trigger another letdown.

3. Distractions

Has your baby been more curious about his environment? Does he spend most of his time eager to play? These could be potential reasons he kicks while breastfeeding, especially if he’s distracted.

A simple fix is to breastfeed in a quiet, subdued room. Draw the curtains to keep it dark or turn on the white noise machine to muffle sounds that can distract him.

And consider draping a nursing cover as you feed. This can keep distractions to a minimum when he isn’t able to see too much of what’s going on around him.

4. Gas pain

Newborns are notorious for experiencing gas pain, from the discomfort of swallowing air while they eat to having air trapped in their bodies.

If you suspect that your baby has gas, ease her symptoms to make nursing more comfortable. Take a break from nursing to burp her. Burping a newborn after breastfeeding can expel the gas that may have accumulated in her body (as well as calm her down from being frustrated).

Consider gas drops or gripe water to see if these remedies can ease gas pain. Try different gas exercises, like bicycle kicks or squeezing one elbow and the opposite knee toward each other. Once you get a few burps or farts out, she’ll likely feed more comfortably and stop kicking.

And finally, consider your diet as well. Are there foods you eat or drinks you consume that could be causing gas? Eliminating these temporarily can help you see whether something in your diet is causing her discomfort.

Burping a Newborn After Breastfeeding

5. Fussiness

Your baby might be kicking because of fussiness that has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Maybe she’s teething and won’t stop crying or going through a sleep regression. What had once been a peaceful part of your routine is now filled with kicking and flailing galore.

What can you do to calm her down? Take a break from breastfeeding to try and burp her. This simple pause can reset and calm her down.

Then, try different positions. Holding her in a football hold points her legs toward your back—this can stop her from kicking your stomach. And give her a favorite blanket to hold onto or a small rattle to twiddle with. This can either calm her down or direct her attention to a beloved item.

Conclusion

There are many reasons a baby kicks while breastfeeding. Thankfully, you now know a few reasons why, as well as the tricks to try to get your little one to stop. Now you can enjoy your peaceful nursing sessions once again.

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