Don’t Be Scared of a Baby Grunting While Nursing: Here’s What to Do
While babies are every mother’s pride and joy, they are also the source of life’s greatest mysteries. Because they can’t talk yet, every cry and whimper can send parents, and even other family members and friends, in a panic. “Is the baby sick?” “Did I do something wrong?” “What can I do to stop him or her from crying?”
Anxiety is normal when you’re a mom, especially if it’s your first child. But if you’re suffering from baby blues or depression, it can worsen your condition. Moreover, it reduces the joy that comes with motherhood. To help relieve anxiety, learn more about your baby’s moods and noises such as grunting.
Although crying remains to be the top form of communication for infant, they also make other noises from giggling to grunting. The latter is the deep sound that is often short. It is also similar to the sound made by pigs.
We grow up believing babies cry only, so when they make other noises, it makes you wonder if they’re in pain or uncomfortable. It turns out they do grunt for a variety of reasons. These include a fast milk let down.
What Is It?
Baby grunting while nursing is common and can occur at any age of your child, from a few weeks to several months. One of the possible explanations is the fast milk letdown. Also known as overactive milk ejection, this refers to the active, forceful flow of milk during breastfeeding. It can happen once or multiple times during a session.
Moms produce only one milk type, but the contents released differ depending on the stage of the breastfeeding. The initial flow has the foremilk, which contains lactose and a lot of fluid. Both work to give your baby a boost of energy, especially while still feeding, and improve brain development.
As the session progresses, the content of milk changes: it will have more fat. It contains a lot of essential nutrients and promotes slow absorption. In turn, it helps the baby feel contented and full after breastfeeding.
During a fast letdown, the infants consume a lot of foremilk. It passes through the digestive system very quickly, increasing the risk of distress in the intestines. The baby can then become colic. Moreover, as children try to cope with the sudden flow, they end up taking in more air. All these can cause a tummy discomfort, which babies don’t know how to handle.
Infants, therefore, try to cope with the increased gas and intestinal distress by grunting.
What Can You Do?
Baby grunting while nursing is not a pleasant experience for both the mom and the baby. Not only is the feeling uncomfortable for the baby, but the child may also exhibit other behaviors. These include nipple pulling and biting, which can be painful for the mother. The baby can also choke or cough in the middle of the feeding, as well as spit up after the latching session.
Further, the baby is at risk of not receiving the needed nutrients found in fat. And because it doesn’t feel satiated, it may ask for more food, which can result in more breastfeeding periods.
While you cannot control the production of your milk, you can do something to reduce overactive feeding:
1. Try to lean back.
The moment your baby latches, you may want to recline or lean back as a way of compensating for the overactive milk flow. If doing this makes you feel uncomfortable – perhaps the back of the chair is too far – you can support your back with firm pillows.
2. Take the baby off.
Another way to minimize baby grunting while nursing is to remove the baby from the breast when the flow is strong. Moms can feel the milk flowing from the ducts, so if you’re going to have a major letdown, let the baby latch for a while to let him catch the foremilk then remove the baby gently and let the milk flow. Once it lessens, you can put the baby back to continue the session.
3. Let the baby feed on the same breast.
It’s not a set rule to feed your children on both your breasts. In fact, if you have an oversupply, which is a common reason for an overactive letdown, it’s best to let him or her feed on the same breast for at least two to three sessions. If the other breast is sore and engorged, you can pump the breast milk and store it for later.
A baby grunting while nursing can be frustrating for moms. But here’s something good: besides the tips above, the infant will learn to adjust to the milk flow. As he or she develops, the digestive system will also mature. Keep calm and relax unless other symptoms such as fever or diarrhea accompany the grunt.