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Thread: clicking sounds and fussy eating

  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    Question clicking sounds and fussy eating

    Hi there. My 9 week old son has started to make a clicking sound when he first latches on. This just started over the past few days, but seems to be getting worse. It happens right at the beginning as soon as let-down begins, and then stops once the flow slows down. Is this a latch problem? I don't notice anything different in his lip position then before, although he has a slightly recessed chin, so his latch has always been somewhat imperfect. This hasn't affected his eating or my milk supply, as he is gaining weight well and is quite chubby, with plenty of wet and poopy diapers. But I'm worried that he's developing a bad habit that might affect his eating in the future. He also seems a little distracted by it, although he still drains the breast just fine. Any ideas?

    Also: he has fussy periods about once a day where he gets kind of hyper at my breast, sucks in the nipple, spits it out, sucks it back in, cries and complains and sucks at his fist. This usually begins toward the end of a feeding, or on the second breast, when the flow has slowed down -- although even when the flow picks up he doesn't settle down, so I generally take him off the breast eventually, upon which he calms down and seems fine. Sometimes he seems to need to burp, and I also wondered if he might have a bit of reflux, although he barely spits up. I've been focusing on emptying one breast thoroughly before I switch to the second, which seems to help, although he still occasionally goes through this very frustrating routine.

    Both of these seems like bad eating habits in the making. Should I try to do something about them, and if so, what?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    It's me again. I just read the post by angy809 about clicking noises. The difference in my case is that my nipples aren't cracked and sore at all, in fact I rarely feel any pain at all any more while nursing (except occasionally when he tugs too hard in his hyper mode). And the clicking doesn't really seem like an intake of breath -- it's more like a pop happening inside his mouth. I suspect it has something to do with what he is doing with his tongue. It goes away once the initial fast flow recedes and the breast gets softer. As I said, he seems to drain the breast just fine, the clicking is just distracting to me and him and I wonder if it will have future bad effects on his eating or my milk supply. I'd appreciate any insights on this or on the fussiness question.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    my ds had a clicking sound when for the first few weeks of bf. As with you when my ds nursed the clicking sound didn't affect weight or my milk supply. What I did that helped was tug gently on his lower chin, that seemed to help. Since then though he has out grown it. I personally say if it's not causing any nipple pain at all that's good, but it still has to do with a poor latch. And hopefully by tugging at the chin a bit that might help. Keep us informed.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    My son also had a "click" for a while when he was very young (he's now 4 years old, so I'm a little hazy on the precise age this happened). The click is probably how he is coping with the rapid flow of your milk, especially since, as you note, it starts with your letdown and then goes away as the milk flow slows down.

    Once a baby and mom have breastfeeding well established, as you clearly do, then it's okay to relax a little about the mechanics of latch. At that point, the definition of a good latch is one that feels comfortable for mom and is getting enough milk into baby. It doesn't have to be "textbook" to be right.

    Sometimes a "click" sound is a problem because mom is getting sore nipples or baby isn't transferring enough milk. As this is not the case for you, I wouldn't worry about it. In my own experience, sometime after my son started "clicking," I noticed he had green stools and some other symptoms of too much foremilk, and I deduced that I had developed a bit of an oversupply problem. I took steps to correct that, and as my body adjusted to produce a little less milk, apparently my letdown also became more manageable -- or maybe he just got older/bigger and better able to manage it -- at any rate, the "click" went away, as did the symptoms of oversupply.

    The "fussy-at-the-breast" behavior you are seeing could be connected to the "click," or it might be something quite unrelated. Perhaps he is getting used to the rapid flow of your letdown and at his crankiest time of day, he wants the milk to come faster now and gets upset when it doesn't. Or perhaps it's something else that is making him impatient and frustrated. If it's only happening occasionally (not every feeding) and if you can usually calm him and continue on with the feeding, then I don't think it's anything to worry about. About the time you figure this one out, he will probably stop doing it and go on to a new behavior that has you scratching your head for a while. One of the wonderful things, IMHO, about a nursing relationship is that it is always changing!

    Anyway, it sounds to me like you two are doing wonderfully. Congrats on nursing your son so successfully, and keep up the good work!

    --Rebecca

  5. #5
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    Hmm, I had been wondering if oversupply was an issue. He does frequently gag and pull off the breast at the beginning of a feeding and I have to let him catch his breath and calm down before going back on. He usually has very frequent poops, and they are quite liquid, although I think they are more yellow than greenish. They have been declining a bit in number recently with several big blow-outs a day rather than in every diaper. In general I've been trying to focus on giving him one breast at a feeding, although recently, especially in the evenings, he doesn't seem satisfied and I need to give him the second breast. That's also when he gets fussy, so it makes sense that he could be missing the fast flow from earlier in the day because my supply is a lot lower.

    That raises the question of whether he is getting enough hindmilk, especially given that he gets frustrated when the flow is slower. I'm not sure that he is willing to work hard enough later in the feeding to trigger a second let-down. Once the fast flow stops I do a lot of breast massaging to get the milk to come down, and I worry that he then gets lazy and waits for the milk to trickle into his mouth rather than working at it later in the feeding. Is this possible?

    Also, I've been pumping about once a day or so, both to have a bottle on hand if I go out and to put some in storage (I'm on maternity leave from university teaching but still need to go into school occasionally, and my partner feeds him then or when I go to an exercise class or something). Usually I pump right after he eats, and get anywhere from 1 to 3 ounces, from one breast. Occasionally when I've pumped a full breast prior to a feeding I've gotten about 5 ounces in less than ten minutes. I guess that's another sign of oversupply? Should I stop excess pumping?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    Well, pumping 1 to 3 ounces after nursing certainly is more than most moms would get -- but that doesn't mean there's a problem. Sounds like you'd have had a great career as a wet nurse back in the day! Be proud, LOL!

    Try pumping just once a day but always at the same time of day -- that will let your body know to make milk available for that extra session, while avoiding an artificially-triggered oversupply at other feedings.

    His behavior really doesn't sound like foremilk/hindmilk imbalance to me. The frequent liquid poops are completely normal for a breastfed baby, as are their decreasing frequency at this age (keep going with exclusive breastfeeding and you may be one of the lucky moms who at 4 months or so is changing a dirty diaper only once every five or six DAYS! LOL).

    If he wasn't getting enough hindmilk, from what I've read at least, you'd be seeing green poops, lots of gas and discomfort, and slower-than-average weight gain. So based on what you've written, I'd say the overactive letdown is the main problem right now -- because of the gagging at the start of the feeding, the "click" in his latch, and his fussiness later in the day when your milk flow is slower.

    Try the scheduled daily pumping for a week or so, to give your body a chance to adjust to the new routine. If you're still seeing the same problems, then try block feeding -- in which you nurse from just one breast for a given block of time (say, 3 or 4 hours) no matter how many feedings occur in that block of time. As your letdown becomes less forceful, he'll adjust gradually to working a little harder for his milk -- and he'll also become a more efficient nurser as he gets older. So either way, I strongly suspect that this is a matter that will basically resolve itself. Not to worry!

    --Rebecca

  7. #7
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    Thanks, that's really helpful. It's basically what I've been suspecting and moving towards but it helps to have it confirmed. I'll work at being more regular with the pumping and stick with one breast feeding. I think I'll be a little more restrained with breast massaging as well so he can get used to working at it a bit more. The subtleties of breastfeeding are amazing to me, such a puzzle and yet so sensible. I wasn't prepared for the emotional ups and downs of it, but it's reassuring to read so many other posts here and see the range of things that people are wrestling with. Thanks for the encouragement. I just had a good feeing so I'm up

    Oh, one more quick question. Sometimes I feel like I am coaxing him to eat toward the end of a feeding by putting him back at my breast (the same one) several times and massaging my breast to let down a little more. Possibly I'm just obsessing about hindmilk since I see these drops (or sometimes squirts) of rich white milk still in my breast and think he should be getting it. As a result, feedings sometimes last a long time. He still seems willing to take the breast, I definitely stop when he gives me his Buddha face or falls asleep. Should I just stop more cleanly when he first pulls off? Maybe this triggers the slight oversupply at some times of the day?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    I had a similar revelation when my son was a few weeks old and I suddenly realized what the phrase "breastfeeding relationship" really means. It's my baby and me together. Breastfeeding isn't something I do to him or for him -- it's something we do together. And like any human relationship, no book can really capture it, and no one else's will be exactly like ours. Subtleties is a good word for this process.

    I think you're not hurting anything by coaxing him to nurse a little longer. But I think it would be fine for you to relax about it, too. The best way to get more hindmilk in him is to nurse more frequently (same breast, just more frequently) -- because it is while milk waits in the breast that the fat has time to separate and cling to the duct walls. So if you're worried that he's not getting enough hindmilk, then let the feedings be briefer and perhaps more frequent -- always, of course, following the baby's cues. IIRC, at the height of my oversupply days, I was nursing about every 90 minutes, block feeding from each breast 3 hours at a time.

    Enjoy that little Buddha face -- how I miss that sight!

    --Rebecca

  9. #9
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    Thanks Rebecca, that helps. I think the foremilk/hindmilk relation is the least well discussed in the books. Okay, I have a hungry little fella to go feed!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: clicking sounds and fussy eating

    UPDATE: Today I did notice that some of his poops are kind of greenish. Not all of them, and not that green, but a definite greenish tint. My partner said that he had noticed it too, sporadically (he does about half of the diaper changing). And he (the baby, not my partner) does have frequent gassiness. So I suspect I do have a bit of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, although I don't think I have a big oversupply problem, given that I do have times of the day where my supply seems low. Here's a question -- if I do block feeding for say, 3 hours, what happens to the other breast? Doesn't that mean that it waits 5-6 hours without being nursed? And that would give plenty of time for milk separation, resulting in a hefty dose of foremilk when I switch to that breast? Any ideas on that? That seems to be what's happening at the moment -- the non-nursed breast gets a bit engorged while I have him work the first breast for a more extended period of time.

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