Why is My Baby Making Weird Noises Like Grunting and Gulping While Breastfeeding?

You might be surprised by all the different feeding sounds that your baby creates while nursing. Breastfeeding is a noisy business, at least to our babies, from grunting, gulping, and groaning; it’s all part of the deal, but do they tell us anything?

I knew I was surprised by my baby making noises while breastfeeding. I didn’t think babies made noises in my mind, but I was wrong. Then, I wondered if those noises meant anything.

Is squirming a good or bad sign? Should I be worried when my baby grunts while nursing? Is there a problem?

You probably have the same worries that I did, so let’s look at some of the familiar sounds and noises your baby will make while breastfeeding and what they tell us, if anything.

Why Is My Baby Grunting While Breastfeeding?

Grunting is a type of guttural noise that typically indicates your baby is making some effort, typically a bowel movement, or they might make a grunting noise as they adjust to changes while feeding or movements.

Generally,

If you notice that your baby is making a grunting sound while breastfeeding, it’s more likely that your child is in the process of making a bowel movement. Newborn babies grunt while pooping because they have immature abdominal muscles, so they do have to push, even though it’s liquid in most cases.

Aside from passing a bowel movement, all babies grunt while breastfeeding when their mother has an oversupply of milk. It can happen at any time or age. If you have too much milk and your baby is taking more than typical into his belly, leading to stress on his digestive tract. The additional milk and air in his stomach can cause him to grunt to handle it. 

What About My Baby Grunting and Straining While Breastfeeding?

When your baby grunts and strains while nursing, chances are it indicates that it is constipated. Straining is a sign that your baby is struggling to pass a bowel movement.

Happy mother playing with little baby

You can try to rub your baby’s belly or bicycle his legs to give some relief. Constipation can be problematic for all babies, but it’s common in newborn babies with immature digestive tracts. Taking a warm bath can also help stimulate and relax your baby’s body enough to pass the bowel movement.

If the baby arches back while nursing, here is what you should do.

My Baby Squirms While Breastfeeding – Why?

It’s not uncommon for your baby to squirm, pull, or push while nursing. It’s a natural part of how they feed, and it’s typically not an indicator that anything is wrong at that moment. 

While some squirming is usual, if your baby is thrashing and acting uncomfortable, it could mean that your baby is frustrated for some reason. Here are some common reasons for squirming while breastfeeding.

An Overactive Letdown

If your milk is coming out like an overactive sprinkler system, it can be challenging for your baby to keep up with your milk. An overactive letdown is most common during the first few weeks as your body adjusts to how much milk your baby truly needs. 

Trouble Latching

Whether your breasts are engorged, causing your baby to struggle to latch, or your baby has other latching problems, your baby is frustrated, leading to squirming and irritation. It could be due to a tongue, lip tie, or other issues such as inverted or flat nipples. 

Growth Spurt Leads to An increased Demand 

When your baby goes through a growth spurt, they want to nurse more and demand more milk. Your baby might move, squirm, and push at your breast in an attempt to get more milk. That’s why you might find your baby twisting and pulling while breastfeeding; he wants to convince your body to create more milk for him. 

Gassiness

Stomach aches and gassiness can lead to your baby feeling discomfort, which might cause your baby to squirm around. Typically, gas issues come when your baby gulps and takes in too much air, whether due to a bad latch or drinking too fast. 

Why Is My Baby Gulping While Breastfeeding?

When your baby gets plenty of milk with each suck, don’t be surprised when you hear your baby gulp with each swallow. The rhythmic flow of sucking, swallowing, and breathing creates a gulping sound, but it’s rarely a problem.

When my infants gulped at the breast, they nearly always looked content and happy at the same time. They knew they were filling their bellies, and hunger pangs quickly decreased. 

It’s always important to watch your baby’s behavior while breastfeeding; they do more than making strange sounds if something is wrong. You can tell by their body language and action if your baby is happy or uncomfortable. 

When your baby is gulping air when breastfeeding, that can be problematic. It often happens when you have an overactive letdown, and your baby has to swallow quickly to keep up with the milk production. Gulping air can lead to belly aches, gassiness, and reflux.

This is important:

You might also notice frothy green poops if you have an overactive letdown. There are strategies to minimize this problem, such as:

  • Lean back as you nurse to avoid drowning your baby in milk.
  • Start your letdown by hand and spray into a burp cloth, then latch your baby onto your breast.
  • Pump first before breastfeeding your baby. 

What About My Baby Groaning While Nursing?

Believe it or not, groaning is typically caused by the same things that cause grunting or gulping – your letdown. When your milk fills your baby’s mouth quickly, the overactive letdown leads to groaning and grunting while swallowing. 

At times, your baby might make a clicking sound that indicates your baby is having trouble latching well. Your baby might have other behaviors as well, such as biting, yanking, or pulling. 

Don’t Freak Out! 

Babies make weird noises, making you worry about something wrong with your child. You hear your baby grunt, squirm, and gulp while breastfeeding, but don’t panic. 

Watch your baby’s accompanying behavior. If your baby seems otherwise happy and content, those noises are simply noises – some babies are noisy! If your baby isn’t satisfied, you’ll need to figure out the underlying problem causing discomfort. 

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