Is Your Baby Never Satisfied After Breastfeeding? Here Are 4 Reasons Why

Is your baby never satisfied after breastfeeding, despite frequent and long nursing sessions? Learn 4 reasons why (and how to change it).

Baby Never Satisfied After BreastfeedingMy newborn would nurse for hours if I had let him.

I’d breastfeed for 20 minutes on each side, but he’d start rooting again only minutes after latching him off. He always seemed hungry and would cry even though I had just fed him. Sometimes I felt like I shouldn’t even bother with a shirt because I was nursing so often.

I couldn’t imagine how he was already hungry and crying minutes after eating. I worried he wasn’t getting enough breastmilk, especially since I couldn’t exactly measure the ounces he was drinking the way I would with pumped milk or formula.

Thankfully, I learned that there are reasons why a baby never seems satisfied after breastfeeding. These reasons reassured me that I wasn’t doing anything “wrong,” and that most of these behaviors weren’t worrisome.

And more importantly, I realized I could make simple changes to help my baby feel content, not fussy, after feedings. I hope you find this article reassuring, as one parent wrote:

“Thank you for writing this article. It was an answer to my prayers! I started reading this in the middle of the night as I frustratingly nursed my newborn yet again and started to feel my mental/emotional stability lean downhill. You somehow wrote my exact thoughts and feelings. I love the real, practical advice. It really helped me find hope and camaraderie in these sensitive postpartum weeks.” -Aliese

1. Your baby is not actually eating

I didn’t realize until much later that the constant need to suck doesn’t necessarily signal hunger. I assumed that my baby needed to nurse because he was hungry, not because he was soothed by the sucking motion of nursing.

Comfort nursing isn’t bad—many moms love being able to soothe a fussy baby and bonding at the same time.

But if, say, your nipples are taking a beating or you desperately need a break, rest assured that your baby might be nursing for comfort, not hunger. This is especially true if you know your breasts are empty or you’ve been feeding a while.

If that’s the case, try to keep him awake while he nurses. Change positions, burp often, take a break, and even change his dirty diaper. This will keep him from dozing off when he’s supposed to be eating.

How do you know he’s actually eating? Check his throat—if he were truly swallowing, you’d see movement around his throat, indicating that the milk is going down. Even if you see his mouth moving, listen for a gulping sound to ensure that he’s taking in milk.

And if he takes to it, see if he’ll be happy with a pacifier. He may simply want to be soothed to sleep through a sucking motion. You might try to sneak a pacifier in as he’s dozing off on the breast or offer it as he’s starting to get fussy.

How to Stop Comfort Nursing at Night

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2. Your baby is going through a growth spurt

Babies go through so many changes in the first few months than at any other time of their lives. They’ve also got tiny stomachs and immature digestive systems at this age. Combine the two, and no wonder your baby doesn’t seem satiated even though you had just fed him.

Frequent feedings stimulate and help with a low milk supply, far better than a breast pump could. Don’t see these clusters as a hassle, but an opportunity—a strategy—to ensure that you’re producing enough milk.

At this stage, feed on demand as much as possible. Our pediatrician told us that the biggest reason babies cry is because of hunger—it’s rarely that their clothes are itchy or that the room is too cold. For now, follow your baby’s lead and feed at the first signs of hunger.

3. You forget that fussiness is normal

Sometimes, we simply have to remember that fussiness is normal during the newborn stage. This is when babies cry the most, have gas issues, and seem to be the most inconsolable.

Just because your baby used to sleep in three-hour stretches, doesn’t mean he won’t ever have a rough night again. Speak to any newborn parent, and she’ll tell you at least one episode when her baby cried and felt extra needy.

If you suspect gas issues, try tricks like bicycle kicks, pushing his knees to his chest, or massaging his tummy. You might feed him after waking up so he has more opportunities to stay upright after eating.

This is also the time when he can be most attached to your breast, whether out of hunger or comfort. Any time you feel like things should be better by now, know that progress goes up and down, even if the general trend is going up. You might hit dips even as life continues to improve overall.

And should you truly feel concerned, reach out to a lactation consultant or find a support group like La Leche League. They can evaluate for particular issues that could be making breastfeeding more difficult than it needs to be.

4. You’ve painted a negative picture

No one is going to argue that caring for a newborn is hard work. As a first-time mom, these first few weeks and months can be some of the most challenging moments in your life.

And yet, despite those challenges, a glimmer of joy can still be found. Try to make the experience a positive one, given your circumstances.

See these nursing sessions as an excuse to watch television, listen to podcasts, catch up on reading, or simply rest. Grab magazines, a reusable water bottle, and snacks to keep you comfortable.

You can also remind yourself that these moments are temporary. Now, when you’re with a newborn, every week, even every day, can feel like forever, so I understand that “temporary” is relative. But know that however challenging this is, it won’t always be this way.


It can be hard to tell if your baby is satisfied with breastfeeding, especially when he still seems hungry afterward. Hopefully, you’ve seen four compelling reasons why he never seems full and what you can do about it.

For one thing, he may not be actually eating, especially if he uses nursing to soothe himself to sleep. If he is, then growth spurts could be contributing to his constant nursing.

The other two reasons have more to do with us, the parents. We forget that babies do tend to fuss and cry at this stage. And sometimes, our very own stories that we tell ourselves depict it as a negative experience when it could very well be a positive one.

Your baby can feel full and content—long enough to keep your shirt on for a while.

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  1. Thank you for writing this article. It was an answer to my prayers! I started reading this in the middle of the night as I frustratingly nursed my newborn yet again and started to feel my mental/emotional stability lean downhill. You somehow wrote my exact thoughts and feelings. I love the real, practical advice. It really helped me find hope and camaraderie in these sensitive postpartum weeks.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m so glad the article felt reassuring and useful, Aliese! You’re definitely not alone in this journey. Hang in there, mama! <3