Occasionally, while my son is breast feeding, he will suddenly start hacking and coughing, like he got some milk, "down the wrong tube," as it were. It doesn't seem to make a difference what position he is in, and he always recovers quickly. Is this anything to be concerned about?

asked 11 Dec '09, 12:58

Matthew%20Jones's gravatar image

Matthew Jones
accept rate: 18%

I don't think so, mine does the same; we "sit" him and help him burp.

After that, he continues eagerly feeding.


answered 11 Dec '09, 14:25

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

Our son when through the same. It happened mostly at night while my wife was breast feeding. I haven't had a similar reaction to bottles.

(11 Dec '09, 14:26) Rob Allen

Our son is bottlefed and he would do this (not as much now he's at 8 months). Sometimes he coughed enough he would throw up but other than that no problems.

(11 Dec '09, 15:51) Kiesa ♦

+1 Ours does the same thing... mostly on the bottle and sometimes on the breast when the "flow" is more.

(11 Dec '09, 17:39) KPW

+1 For pausing, burping and then resuming the feed.

(12 Dec '09, 13:23) Emi

Sometimes the let-down reflex can send quite a squirt of milk, this may well cause the baby to splutter and cough. Sitting him up and burping him will probably help him recover. The Kellymom website has some suggestions for dealing with "forceful let down". One suggestion is to put the baby in a position so that his head and mouth are generally above the nipple, so that the milk has to go uphill into him.

However, it doesn't sound like you have a serious problem.


answered 11 Dec '09, 16:40

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

Like Meg said, when the let-down is intense, the baby will get a big shot of milk in the back of the throat and will cough, sputter, or choke a bit to clear his throat.

When this happened with my baby, he would pull off, cry, try to latch again and get another big shot of milk, then repeat the whole sequence. Not ideal! I find that I have a forceful let-down most often in the morning when my milk supply is the highest. I tried a number of the suggestions on the Kelly Mom website that Meg recommended. For us, what worked best is the side-lying position.

From Kelly Mom:

"Side lying position - this allows baby to dribble the extra milk out of her mouth when it's coming too fast."

After adopting the side-lying position, he stopped choking on milk. I put a receiving blanket down on the bed when I feed him to catch the extra milk. (He usually leaves a little puddle of milk when the let-down is forceful.)

Another advantage of the side-lying position, is that is gives the baby more control over his own latch. He can pull off and come back on when he finds the let-down too forceful by moving his head. In fact, my little guy has now figured out that he can suck for a couple seconds, pull off, wait for the let-down, then comes back on.


answered 11 Dec '09, 21:21

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

My mother in law suggested that it may be an issue of improper latching. Or, the baby letting go of the latch while feeding. She suggested to just gently de-latch and restart.

That being said, I think the above answers are also correct in that it could be flow issues.


answered 11 Dec '09, 18:04

DarwinsMom's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

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Asked: 11 Dec '09, 12:58

Seen: 5,653 times

Last updated: 11 Dec '09, 21:21