My Baby Won’t Breastfeed banner

By westgate July 28, 2022

My Baby Won’t Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a natural process, but that doesn’t mean it comes easily for everyone. Both mother and baby have a learning curve to overcome in the beginning, but the potential hurdles don’t stop there. Having a baby who won’t breastfeed is a frustrating experience for both mother and baby. If your baby won’t breastfeed, there may be many reasons.

Poor Latch

Babies need a deep latch in order to effectively move milk into their mouth. If a latch is shallow or not positioned correctly, the baby can’t transfer enough milk at a quick enough pace, leading to frustration or refusal of breastfeeding. It’s important to ensure that you guide baby’s mouth into a correct latch every feed until they have learned to do so themselves.


Most people know to burp a baby, but do you know why? Air pockets can get stuck in the esophagus of a baby who is too young to burp themselves. This can cause indigestion or extreme pain when trying to eat. It’s no wonder a baby with gas will avoid breastfeeding until the gas is relieved…it hurts!

Hunger or Tiredness

Believe it or not, a hungry baby may refuse to breastfeed because…they’re too hungry! Excessive hunger that comes from missed feeding cues will cause a baby to become upset, leaving them too worked up to relax into a feed. The same goes for tiredness; an overtired baby may not want to eat either.


When baby has a cold or other illness, they may not feel up to the task of eating. Just like in adults, illnesses can temporarily reduce a baby’s appetite or motivation to eat. Additionally, babies breathe through their nose while breastfeeding, which can get complicated when baby’s nose is stuffy or runny.


As babies grow older, they start to “wake up” to the world. Their eyesight improves so they can see at further distances, and they start to become more alert and aware of the people, noises and sights around them. Everything is new and exciting, so it’s no wonder that a baby might go in for a quick top-off before becoming interested in something else.


Pain, especially in the mouth, can cause a baby to refuse a meal. As babies begin to teethe, their gums become inflamed and sore. This can cause the action of breastfeeding to be painful (in addition to the teething pain!).