Loud sucking noises

My daughter who is three weeks old, makes very loud sucking noises while nursing. She has also just started to spit up the milk. She only nurses for about 10 minutes at a time. She is very gassy. She cries when she has a bm and also when she lets out gas. There are times I can't get her to sleep, and finally lay her on her stomach. When on her stomach she sleeps for four to five hours compared to one and a half to three hours. Any suggestions?

I am debating whether or not to let her start using formula. I can't keep a bra clean. I leak after two and a half hours. I go back to work in three weeks, and don't need to have any accidents.


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

I can understand your concerns about returning to work with very leaky breasts. Your breasts will not be leaky forever. Most moms find that their breasts have much less tendency to leak after the first six to eight weeks of breastfeeding. Frequent feeds or milk expression can also help to minimize or prevent leaking.

You didn't mention whether or not you plan on expressing your milk at work. If not, it is best to wean gradually from these feeds. It is even more important for moms with a very abundant milk supply to decrease feeds gradually. This allows your body time to comfortably adjust to the new schedule. Drop no more than one feed every 4 days or so - follow your comfort level.

When returning to work, I would recommend wearing nursing pads inside your bra to guard against leaks. Be sure to bring along a couple of extra pads so you can change as needed during the day. It can also be helpful to wear patterned clothing if you're prone to leaking. If you do feel your milk begin to let-down at an inappropriate time, you can discreetly fold your arms across your chest, putting pressure on your nipples with your arms. (Nobody will know what you're doing.)

Usually when a baby makes sucking, slurping or clicking noises while nursing it means that she is improperly positioned/attached at your breast. Proper positioning and attachment is very important throughout a feed. Your baby needs to take in a good mouthful of your breast tissue. Her nose and chin should be resting gently on your breast. Her lips should both be flanged out ("fish lips".) If she slides down during a feed, gently remove her from your breast by inserting your finger in between her gums, and encourage her to latch on again.

It sounds like you may have a very abundant milk supply. You might find it helpful to read the suggestions offered in my letter, Too much milk? Often with some simple changes in your baby's pattern of feeding you will begin to see some of her gassiness and fussiness begin to ease.

Have you spoken with your baby's Health Care Provider (HCP) about placing your little one to sleep on her stomach. The current recommendation is to place an infant on her back or side to sleep (except in certain circumstances.) I would recommend discussing this issue with your HCP.

If your baby's gassiness and fussiness does continue, it would be wise to have her thoroughly evaluated by her HCP. Gastroesophogeal reflux (GER) is very common in babies, and may be impacting the situation. Breastfed babies experience less GER. Digestive difficulties can increase with the use of formula. Allergies to cow's milk and soy (as used in artificial baby milks) are very common in the first year of life. Breastmilk is best, and always more easily tolerated by babies than artificial baby milk. My best wishes!

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