Clicking noises when baby nurses

My daughter is now 6 weeks and she recently started making a clicking- like noise when breastfeeding, like when you are sucking on your tongue. And when she does this she seems to swallow a lot of air. I have tried repositioning her on the breast, but that does not seem to get her to stop. She tends to start making this clicking noise a few minutes after she starts feeding when my milk lets down. I am not quite sure what to do, or if I should do anything. My next question is I am worried that I am not eating enough, How do I know that I am eating enough to provide good breast milk?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

When a baby makes clicking sounds as she nurses, it means that the suction is being broken. Dimpling of the cheeks may also occur. When this happens, she is not effectively accessing your milk. Continuing to allow your baby to nurse in this way could result in an inadequate milk supply, along with persistently sore nipples.

When positioning your baby at your breast, position her along your side, with your hand supporting the back of her neck. Raise her to the level where she appears to be looking down at your breast. (Pillows may help to provide support for you, once she is well-positioned.) Her chin should be down, resting on her chest. When her mouth is open wide, like a yawn, hug her in quickly to your breast. She should be taking in a good mouthful of breast, including at least one inch of your areola. Ask your partner to check the positioning of your baby's tongue during a feed. You should be able to see it, cupped underneath the breast as she nurses. If she is sucking on her tongue it may not be visible. Look at your nipples as your baby comes off the breast. They should be round, and pink in color. If they seem crunched or creased, or if your nipples appear white at the tip, it can indicate a problem with positioning or a sucking difficulty.

Since your baby begins to suck incorrectly once your milk ejects, a minute or two into the feed, it may be due to a very abundant milk supply. See my answer to the letter, "Too much milk?" for more information. Sometimes it becomes difficult for a baby to handle the volume of milk as it ejects. If you think this could be the case, feed your baby in a more upright position, remove her briefly from the breast as your milk first lets down, or express some milk prior to putting her to your breast. These changes may be enough for her to feed more comfortably.

In answer to your question regarding your diet while breastfeeding, though a well-balanced diet is always optimal, the quality of your breastmilk does not seem to be impacted by an inadequate diet. Your milk will consistently provide for your baby's needs, though your health could suffer from a poor diet.

It is impossible to determine from your letter exactly what is causing your baby to suck her tongue as she nurses. Since your baby is over six weeks of age and has most likely gotten into the habit of sucking incorrectly at the breast, I would recommend seeking help from a Lactation Consultant in your area. She will obtain a complete history (of you and your baby) and observe a full nursing session, then making appropriate recommendations.

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