Understanding the Clicking Sound
Clicking while breastfeeding can be a common issue for many mothers, usually caused by an incorrect latch or positioning. This clicking sound can be described as a sucking noise that is louder than usual or the sound of air being sucked in during feeding. It can be frustrating for both mother and baby as it can lead to discomfort, poor milk supply, and a fussy baby.
When your baby latches onto the breast correctly, the tongue covers the lower gum and creates a seal around the nipple. The baby then uses the tongue to compress the milk ducts and suckle, which releases the milk. However, if the baby doesn’t latch onto the breast correctly, they may suck in air along with the milk, causing that clicking sound.
There are several reasons why this happens:
- The baby is not latching on properly. A shallow latch can cause the nipple to move in and out of the baby’s mouth, causing a clicking sound as the baby tries to maintain its hold.
- Baby’s tongue tie can also cause clicking as they are unable to cover the lower gum or maintain the correct positioning.
- The baby has a blocked nose or is congested. This can make it difficult for them to breathe while feeding, and they may suck in air while trying to get enough milk.
- The flow of milk is too fast or too slow. If the milk flows too quickly, the baby may struggle to keep up and swallow air, causing the clicking sound. Alternatively, if the flow is too slow, the baby may suck harder, which can lead to the same issue.
To fix the clicking sound, you’ll need to identify the cause and adjust your feeding technique accordingly. Firstly, ensure that your baby is latching on properly and seek advice from a lactation consultant if needed. If your baby has a tongue tie, this may need to be corrected by a medical professional.
If your baby is congested, try using a nasal aspirator before feeding. This can help to clear their airways and make feeding more comfortable for them. You may want to try changing your feeding position as well; a more upright position can help to slow down milk flow, while a reclined position can help to speed it up.
If you suspect that the clicking sound is caused by a fast or slow milk flow, try using breastfeeding aids such as nipple shields or breast compressions to regulate milk flow. These can help to ensure that your baby gets a steady and consistent flow of milk, reducing the risk of swallowing air and that clicking sound.
Overall, fixing the clicking sound while breastfeeding requires patience and persistence, but with some simple tweaks to your feeding technique and positions, you can ensure that both you and your baby enjoy a comfortable and successful feeding experience.
Adjusting Your Latch Position
One of the most common reasons for clicking while breastfeeding is an incorrect latch position. The latch position refers to the way your baby attaches to your breast. A poor latch position can cause your baby to suck in air, leading to clicking and other issues. It is important to find a comfortable and efficient latch position for both you and your baby. Here are some tips for adjusting your latch position:
Positioning Your Baby
The first step to a good latch is to position your baby correctly. You want to make sure your baby is facing your breast with their nose and chin in line with your nipple. Their head should be slightly tilted back so that their top lip can reach the nipple first. Use one hand to support their neck and shoulders and the other hand to hold your breast. Make sure to keep your baby close to your body and bring them to your breast, not the other way around.
Adjusting Your Breast
The second step is to adjust your breast for the perfect latch position. You may need to use your free hand to compress your breast slightly to make it easier for your baby to latch on. You can also use a breast pump or hand expression to soften your breast and create a flatter surface for your baby to latch onto. Make sure that your nipple is pointing up and towards your baby’s nose. If your nipple is pointing down or to the side, your baby may not be able to latch on properly.
The Key to a Good Latch
The key to a good latch is getting as much breast tissue as possible in your baby’s mouth. Your baby’s mouth should be open wide with their lips flanged out. This will create a seal around your nipple and prevent air from being sucked in. You should be able to see more of your areola above your baby’s mouth than below.
Checking for Clicking
Once your baby is latched on, check for any clicking or smacking sounds. If you hear clicking, gently break the latch and try again. You may need to adjust your baby’s position or your breast to get a better latch. If you cannot resolve the clicking, talk to a lactation consultant or healthcare provider for further support.
It is important to find a comfortable and sustainable breastfeeding position for both you and your baby. There are many different positions to try, including the cradle hold, football hold, cross-cradle hold, and side-lying position. Experiment with different positions to find what works best for you and your baby. Remember to switch sides during each feeding to ensure that both breasts are emptied and to prevent engorgement.
In conclusion, an incorrect latch position is one of the most common reasons for clicking while breastfeeding. By adjusting your latch position, you can improve your baby’s ability to breastfeed efficiently and comfortably. Remember to position your baby correctly, adjust your breast if needed, and ensure that your baby is flanging their lips and taking in as much breast tissue as possible. If you continue to experience clicking or have other concerns, seek support from a lactation consultant or healthcare provider.
Checking for Tongue or Lip Tie
One of the most common reasons for clicking while breastfeeding is tongue or lip tie in the baby. Tongue and lip tie occurs when the frenulum, which is the band of tissue under the tongue or upper lip, is too short or tight. This can cause difficulty in latching on to the maternal nipple, leading to clicking noises or even causing pain and discomfort to the mother during breastfeeding.
Oral examination is necessary to check for tongue or lip tie in a baby. Pediatric dentists and infant feeding specialists are experts in examining tongue and lip ties and doing a proper assessment. The baby’s tongue and lip muscles are observed, and if the tongue or lip cannot move enough, or appears to form a ‘heart shape’ when crying, this could mean that there’s a possibility of a tongue or lip tie.
In addition, the mother should also check for some signs and symptoms of tongue or lip tie in the baby. Some of these signs are:
- Poor latch or difficulty latching
- Colic and reflux
- Prolonged feeding sessions or frequently getting hungry
- Chomping or chewing on the nipple while feeding
- Clicking noises while nursing
- Mother’s nipple appears flattened, blanched, or creased after feeding
Mothers who suspect their baby has tongue or lip tie should consult their pediatrician, lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist as soon as possible for proper assessment and treatment options. A frenectomy, which is a minor surgical procedure that involves releasing the tongue tie or lip tie, can help resolve the clicking issue and improve breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby.
If frenectomy is not recommended or if there is delay in seeking medical treatment, mothers can try several techniques to lessen the clicking while breastfeeding. These techniques are:
- Re-position the baby: Try different breastfeeding positions and angles that may help the baby to latch on better and reduce clicking
- Relax the baby: Try to calm the baby with skin-to-skin contact, swaddling, or rocking before breastfeeding sessions
- Re-latch the baby: Take the baby off the breast and try latching again, focusing on getting a good latch and avoiding clicking sounds
- Express milk: Moms can use a breast pump to express milk, then feed the baby using a bottle or spoon until the tongue or lip tie is resolved
- Seek help: Consult a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist who can assist in identifying the problem, check the baby’s position and latch, and give advice to help resolve the clicking issue
It’s important for mothers to be aware of tongue or lip tie in their babies, and the possible causes of clicking while breastfeeding. While it can be a frustrating and painful experience, proper assessment, and treatment can help mothers and babies experience breastfeeding smoothly and comfortably.
Trying Different Breastfeeding Positions
Clicking while breastfeeding can be caused by many things such as tongue ties and latching difficulties, but one of the most common reasons is a poor breastfeeding position. Changing your breastfeeding position may help your baby latch on properly and relieve the clicking sound. Below are some different breastfeeding positions to try:
The Cradle Hold
The cradle hold is a common breastfeeding position where you hold your baby in your arms and they are facing your breast. Place their head in the crook of your arm and use that arm to support your baby’s back. Your other hand is used to support your breast and guide your nipple to your baby’s mouth. This position works well for older babies who can hold up their head on their own.
The cross-cradle hold is similar to the cradle hold, but instead of holding your baby with the same arm as the breast you are nursing on, you use your opposite arm to hold your baby. Then, support your baby’s head with your hand and use your other hand to guide your breast to their mouth. This position works well for newborns or babies who need more support.
The Football Hold
The football hold is a position where you hold your baby under your arm like a football and they are facing your breast. Use your hand on that side to support their head and your other hand to support their body. This position is great for those who have had a cesarean section and want to keep their baby away from their incision.
The Side-Lying Position
The side-lying position is when you and your baby lie on your sides facing each other. Place a pillow behind your back for support and use your lower arm to support your head. Your baby can rest on their side facing you, and you can guide your nipple to their mouth for them to nurse. This is a great position for night feedings or when you need to rest.
Each mother and child are different, so it is important to find a position that works for both of you. If one position doesn’t work, try another. Remember that the key to relieving clicking while breastfeeding is to have a good latch, and that can often be achieved by simply changing your position.
Seeking Support from a Lactation Consultant
Clicking sounds during breastfeeding can be a sign that your baby is not properly latching onto your breast. If this is the case, it is important to seek support from a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant can help you identify the root cause of clicking and provide you with tips and techniques to fix it.
Here are some specific ways a lactation consultant can help:
- Identifying latching issues: One of the most common causes of clicking during breastfeeding is improper latching. A lactation consultant can observe your baby while nursing and help you make adjustments to your breastfeeding technique to help improve the latch.
- Assessing tongue and lip ties: In some cases, clicking during breastfeeding can be an indication of a tongue or lip tie in your baby. These are conditions where the tissue connecting the tongue or lip to the mouth is too tight, making it difficult for your baby to breastfeed effectively. A lactation consultant can assess your baby for these conditions and refer you to a specialist if necessary.
- Identifying feeding patterns: A lactation consultant can help you identify any patterns in your baby’s feeding behavior that may be contributing to clicking. For example, your baby may be getting distracted, or may be experiencing a letdown that is too strong.
- Providing tips and techniques: A lactation consultant can provide you with specific tips and techniques to help improve your baby’s latch, as well as help with positioning and burping your baby during and after feedings.
- Providing emotional support: Breastfeeding can be a challenging experience, and if you are struggling with clicking, it can be frustrating and stressful. A lactation consultant can provide you with emotional support and encouragement, helping you feel more confident and empowered as a breastfeeding mother.
Remember, seeking support from a lactation consultant is not a sign of weakness or failure as a mother. Rather, it is a proactive step you can take to ensure that both you and your baby are getting the most out of your breastfeeding experience. With the right support and guidance, you can overcome clicking and continue to breastfeed your baby for as long as you choose to.