My Baby Acts Hungry But Won’t Latch On: What Should I Do?

After you breastfeed, sometimes your little one still cries or fusses despite refusing your breast.

When your baby acts hungry but won’t latch on, it is a matter you should pay attention to find the root causes and the proper solutions.

What causes this terrible problem? What should you do to solve it? Let’s read this article for further information.

Why Your Baby Acts Hungry But Won’t Latch On?

My Baby Acts Hungry But Won't Latch On

Various reasons such as reflux, nipple confusion, stuffy nose, uncomfortable position, or fast letdown can make your baby hungry but won’t latch on.

But the most common root is your slow milk flow. In this case, switching sides could help you somehow.


Reflux in babies is a disease that often influences how your toddler gets breastfed or unlatched. Diagnosis of this disease relates to eating disorders in your fussy baby.

It includes the potential risks of the physical and medical problems that can increase and make your child not eat. You can use the medication to treat the reflux disease effectively.

If you detect this symptom in your baby and it worsens, you should ask for the help of your baby’s pediatrician to improve the problem.

Your pediatrician will diagnose asymptomatic reflux disease symptoms and give proper medical procedures.

Nipple Confusion

Nipple confusion or infant confusion happens when a breastfed baby has trouble with latching.

This problem occurs as breastfeeding asks for the application of a distinct technique. During breastfeeding, your baby will control the mother’s milk flow by breathing and swallowing using a pause.

Your child can easily get the milk by using an average baby bottle since gravity and nipples help the milk flow more continuously.

If your baby refuses to latch, she can get nipple confusion. Breastfed babies will use the swallowing and feeding skills that are different from bottle-fed babies.

Thus, your baby can experience nipple confusion if you provide your breastfed infant with an artificial nipple or nipple shields while her breastfeeding skill has not completely developed.

Your baby also suffers from nipple confusion if she returns to your breast but does not understand the difference between the milk flow from the breast compressions and the bottle.

Stuffy Nose

Stuffy Nose

A stuffy nose or nasal congestion is uncomfortable when the blood vessels and nasal tissues are puffy with a lot of water.

The ordinary remedies at home are sufficient to reduce these symptoms, but you should go to a doctor for better treatment if your baby has long-lasting symptoms.

Your baby won’t stay latched on and cries with a stuffy nose. You will understand how hard it is to latch with such a nose.

If your child is sick and it is difficult to breathe, you should find proper solutions to the stuffy nose for easier breastfeeding.

We suggest breastfeeding at a slightly upright position that moves the mucus and clogs down. Clean your baby’s nose with a suction tool or a menstrual saline drop.

Uncomfortable Position

If you see your baby won’t latch anymore, you must have placed her in an uncomfortable position.

This can make her experience discomfort or pain that prevents her from latching. If your baby feels unsatisfied with the posture you make, try to change to a different feeding position.

Let’s switch the position until your little one stops crying.

Fast Letdown Of Milk

Fast Letdown Of Milk

If you don’t breastfeed for a few hours, you can experience the fast letdown of milk. This extra milk can make your infant unpleasant and frustrated.

She can not drink all the milk coming out simultaneously.  If you detect this situation, try to use a spectra breast pump for collecting the milk before breastfeeding.

You may also prevent your milk from spurting out by breastfeeding your baby on a stretcher. This will keep your baby from swallowing the excess milk in her mouth.

Slow Milk Flow

If the milk doesn’t rapidly release, you can consider the slow flow of milk down that causes the baby to latch and unlatch.

When your baby is hungry, she can pull your nipples with the expectation of getting more milk.

Changing the side of breastfeeding is an easy and effective solution to improve this problem.

In case this problem still occurs, you can try pressing on the breast’s top and pushing your milk flow down towards the nipples.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Your Baby Acts Hungry?

If your infant looks hungry, it can be due to the stomach’s size. However, other reasons for babies being hungry include growth spurt and cluster feeding methods.

The growth spurt is the stage that makes your baby rapidly grow. If you see your infant experience this stage, breastfeed more for a longer period.

Your baby can be hungry and wants to eat right after the previous meal. This indicates that she is in the healthy growth stage, which includes changing her sleep habits by slumbering more.

Cluster feeding or bunch feeding is when you breastfeed your baby multiple times in hours on end, especially in the evening.

When Your Baby Keeps Unlatching But Is Hungry?

The breastfed toddler acts hungry by pulling on your nipples while crying or feeling frustrated.

You shouldn’t be nervous about how or when often your infant does not latch on during breastfeeding. If this problem occurs, let’s carry your baby at once and place her in a relaxed position.

Why Is Your Newborn Not Interested In Breastfeeding?

If you are intervened during childbirth or delivery, or if your baby is born early, she can get headaches or pain.

Besides, swallowing mucus at birth may make your infant uncomfortable, nauseous, or crowded. These are among the common reasons your newborn is not interested in breastfeeding.

What Are Signs Of A Hungry Baby?

Normally, when the baby latches but won’t nurse, she cries and continues being hungry for a while.

Crying is a popular sign telling you your toddler is hungry. Besides, your baby can use other ways to show her hunger cues.

The signs of a hungry baby depend on how old your baby is.

How Much Does Your Baby Eat?

If your infant has a small belly, give her frequent feeding. Your 4- to 5-week-old baby only absorbs around 3-4 ounces of milk for one feeding time.

This also explains why your baby is still hungry as soon as eating. When your infant grows, allow her to get more milk.

What Can You Do If Your Baby Won’t Breastfeed Despite Being Hungry?

If your newborn baby won’t stay latched on and cries, you should determine what’s happening to her first.

You need to check if your baby is sick or gets a cold. Then, take your baby to an expert doctor or health professional to examine the medical problems.

Remember to stay calm to prevent force-feeding and allow your baby to control.

Try various breastfeeding positions to determine which one makes your baby feel comfortable.

It is better to breastfeed your infant and make skin contact while she is sleeping or playing with sounds and music.


The above article has covered everything you need to learn about why your baby acts hungry but won’t latch on.

Your little one can look starving but not interested in breastfeeding. Knowing the specific reasons will support you in finding the best solution to this problem.

Some common causes can be reflux, nipple confusion, stuffy nose, or uncomfortable position.

You can follow the useful tips above to help you breastfeed, and your baby can eat better.

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