Why Does My Baby Grunts While Breastfeeding?

Yes, all babies at some point will grunt during breastfeeding!In most cases, it is perfectly normal and you shouldn’t be concerned. However, as a parent, it is your right to know what your baby is experiencing and the underlying reasons behind them.


Apart from grunting, babies might make a lot of other noises during breastfeeding. The reasons behind them could all be the same or different.

If you are curious about your baby grunting, gulping or maybe squirming, this guide is for you!

What Grunting is Like and How to Differentiate it from Other Baby Sounds?

Grunting is a type of guttural noise that results from either bowel movement or adjusting to changes while feeding. Oftentimes, you will only hear a noise that sounds like “K-A-H” and that’s what grunting is. Parents also call it gulping.

When milk volume increases, babies will try to maintain a rhythmic pattern of suck, swallow, breath, suck, swallow, breathe. This is the moment when you can hear the grunting or the K-A-H sound.

A click sound while breastfeeding is also common. But this isn’t grunting or gulping. It happens because your baby hasn’t been able to establish a good latch on your breasts which results in tongue hitting the top of his mouth.

Sometimes, a baby will suck silently and you can feel he isn’t gulping milk. This is a form of non-nutritive sucking which means the baby is sucking milk for comfort rather than becoming full.

The Reasons Babies Grunting While Breastfeeding

1. Bowel movement

When babies are in the early breastfeeding stage, their abdominal muscles are still not developed. As a result, the baby grunts in order to aid bowel movement. This can happen during breastfeeding as well as other times of the day.

2. Surplus milk supply

The major cause of grunting is oversupply of milk. Oversupply of milk causes the baby to suck and breathe in a rhythmic manner that results in a grunting noise. The grunting might not be prominent in the early stages of breastfeeding when you aren’t producing enough milk. It will increase gradually when your body starts to produce more milk because of higher demand.

3. Digestive stress

Oversupply of milk can also cause the milk to pass down the digestive system faster. This can create digestive stress and result in grunting. It’s not something painful for the baby, rather it’s a way to cope up with the stress. 

Is it Normal or Should You Be Concerned?

Baby grunting during nursing is completely normal. Just make sure she is dealing with it properly and the milk isn’t too much to handle.

In some cases, grunting can become a thing of concern. This involves baby grunting often even when she isn’t breastfeeding. This could be a sign of either asthma, pneumonia or a heart failure.

Sometimes, you might find signs like blue tongue, baby not breathing or pauses breathing or baby losing weight. In such cases, get medical help immediately. Other than that grunting is a normal baby business and nothing to worry about.

What Can You Do as a Mom? Or Should You Do Nothing?

If your baby is grunting just because of extra milk supply, you won’t have to take any medical help. You can’t even control your milk supply. However, there are certain things you can do to limit the grunts:

Recline back a little

When your baby latches and is about to suck, you can simply lean back a little. What this does is slows down the milk flow a bit. It won’t stop grunting, but the impact will be lesser.

Give it a pause

When you are having enormous letdowns and it seems like the baby might drown in the milk, just pause nursing for a while. Let the letdown pass and then start again. Sure, you are going to waste some milk, but that’s totally okay!

Bottle feeding

Some parents opt to bottle feed when milk supply is too much to handle for the baby. This isn’t a permanent solution, but with bottle feeding you can control the milk flow and it will prevent grunting.

Feed on the same breast throughout the day

To minimize the impact of oversupply, you can feed your baby on the same breast throughout the day or for a few sessions. Use a pump on the other breast and bottle feed your baby. 

Final Thoughts

It’s always good to know what your baby is going through. Even if it’s a small grunt or any other noise, you should always make sure whether it’s normal or a thing of concern. Because you never know what can go wrong. What might seem cute to you, might be discomforting for the baby.

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