15 Surprising Things Babies Do While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding comes naturally to a lot of mamas and it's a fantastic way for the mother and baby to bond with one another. In fact, when the milk is released, a woman will produce oxytocin which allows her and the baby to relax during the breastfeeding session. Oxytocin is a very powerful hormone and is often referred to as the love or cuddle hormone. This is why breastfeeding promotes bonding between the mother and child.

Even if a baby is breastfed for a short amount of time, the mother and child will still receive some of the benefits from breastfeeding. Research is coming back with more and more information about how amazing breastmilk is. For example, women’s bodies are able to detect illness in the baby, create antibodies for that illness, then feed the baby milk with the antibodies to their sickness.

Mothers who breastfeed will notice some differences from babies who are formula-fed. There is a difference between what is normal for a breastfed baby and what is considered normal for a formula-fed baby. Breastfed babies do some funny things while they breastfeed that formula-fed babies may not do. There is no need to worry about strange habits babies pick up; in fact, it may be a stage that the baby is in and will soon grow out of. No need to worry moms!

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15 Grab And Go

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Babies are very tactile learners. When they are several months old, they learn muscle control and have more controlled movements of their hands, arms and fingers. This is a blessing and a curse. It is great because it means that they are developing, but it can be a curse while breastfeeding. If a mom is wearing jewelry while breastfeeding, she might find their little fingers wrapped around it and giving it a firm tug.

When the baby enters this stage, it is a smart idea to avoid dangling earrings because young babies have a death grip. They can grab hold of something and not let go. It takes the jaws of life to pry their little hands open. Babies also like to grab a mother’s long hair. Wearing hair up or away from baby is advised when breastfeeding if a mom wants to avoid balding.

14 The Breast Crawl

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Newborn babies are thought to be fragile and not very strong, and while this might mostly be true, they are capable of some remarkable feats. If a newborn is placed on its mother’s stomach after it is born, it will instinctively know to crawl towards the mother’s chest. Newborns, in this regard, are remarkably strong. Scientists believe babies know where to crawl based on smell.

Babies’ noses and sense of smell is much better than that of an adult. Babies are able to recognize their mother when they are born based on the sound of her voice and her scent. They are also able to smell their mother’s milk. Their sense of smell and their survival instincts are so strong that they are capable of dragging their body to their mother’s chest with the express purpose of feeding.

13 Baby's Dump

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When a baby goes an extended period of time without a bowel movement, it can make mommy’s senses tingle. There is no need to panic if the baby is breastfed. It is considered in the realm of normal for a breastfed baby not to have a bowel movement every day. Of course, that means the day their bodies do have a bowel movement, it will probably require a change of clothes.

In the first few weeks of a baby’s life, they should be producing bowel movements frequently as it is generally an indicator that they are receiving enough milk. After six weeks, a breastfed baby can go a week without a bowel movement and it won’t mean that they are constipated. A mother can know if their baby is constipated based on the texture of their stool.

12 Teething Blunders

Being bitten while breastfeeding is arguably a mother’s biggest fear when breastfeeding a child with teeth. Many mothers who can’t get their child to stop biting will quit breastfeeding, even if they would have liked to continue longer.

When a child is teething, they may feel the need to gnaw on the nipple to soothe their sore gums. If a baby bites, it is important to pull the baby in towards the body instead of pushing them away. If they are pushed away with their teeth having a firm grasp of the nipple, it will only hurt worse and may even draw blood.

Pulling them in will momentarily block the nose, forcing them to breathe through their mouth. Another tip is to stop the feeding and put the child down. The body language says that the behavior is unacceptable.

11 Airflow And Swallowing

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If an adult were to breathe and swallow at the same time, it would probably lead to a coughing fit; however, that is not the case for a baby. Unlike adults, babies have not learned to coordinate their breathing and eating. It takes time for babies to learn this and is called suck-swallow-breathe.

The human anatomy is structured in such a way that the opening of the wind pipe is situated next to the opening of the esophagus. There is a tiny flap that covers the windpipe while we are swallowing to prevent food from getting caught in the pipe.

Babies are not fully developed, which is how they are able to do it. With that being said, milk is not going down the baby’s wind pipe. If it did, it would result in the baby coughing.

10 Changing Temperatures

If everyone didn’t already think women’s bodies were amazing, this fact will surely change their minds. Women’s breasts can detect the smallest changes in a baby’s temperature. If a baby’s temperature changes by so much as a degree, her body will adjust the temperature to cool off or heat up the baby.

This is why skin-to-skin contact is so crucial when a baby is little. How insane is that? Mothers are able to protect their babies even without their knowledge as our bodies are much more in tune with changes even before we are able to mentally detect a problem.

It just goes to show us that the natural biology of how this planet and the living beings on it works is far beyond our comprehension. There is likely still so much about the human connection between mothers and babies that we’ve yet to discover, but we sure do look forward to it.

9 Perfect Time For A Nap

Newborn babies are likely to fall asleep even though they have not nursed enough to fill their tiny bellies. They might fall asleep immediately because they get very tired from sucking or may quit when the milk isn’t free-flowing.

If the baby is not gaining weight and is falling asleep at the breast, keep a lookout for signs that they are getting enough milk.. In the beginning, there should be lots of sucking, but as it progresses, the sucking will slow down.

At the end of a feeding session, the breasts should feel less full and the baby’s body looks relaxed. If the baby does all these things, then they have gotten a proper feeding and they should be allowed to sleep sweetly. If they aren’t doing that, try pressing down on the breast while feeding to help with the flow of milk.

8 Unlatching At Worst Times

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Babies can be somewhat notorious for unlatching at the most inopportune time. When a baby unlatches at the beginning of a feeding, especially if the mother is engorged, the baby is likely to get sprayed in the face with fresh milk. Their reaction to it is generally one of utter shock. The reason women’s breasts spray breastmilk is fairly logical.

A woman’s nipple has between 10-15 openings where the milk can be expressed. If a woman’s breast is very full, the only way to relieve the pressure is to feed. The only way to prevent a leaking boob is to feed more frequently. This won’t necessarily lead to a greater production of milk, but will simply prevent there from being too much milk at the breast at one time.

7 Losing Focus

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Mothers who have breastfed know the struggle of feeding a baby who is easily distracted. They latch on for a hot second, their eyes wander, then they let go to look at whatever it was that distracted them. This will happen multiple times. Nurse, wander, let go, nurse, wander, let go! It can be maddening.

This is a developmental stage which can get worse when they are four and five months old. They are becoming aware of the world around them and everything else is so exciting and new. In order for the baby to get an adequate number of calories, it may be necessary to feed the baby at night. Another trick that might help the easily distracted baby is to lie down to nurse. They will be less distracted and more comfortable.

6 Playing Hum Drum

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When babies learn a new skill, they like to employ it whenever possible. After all, they worked hard to master that. It is pretty adorable when a baby learns how to blow bubbles and hum. Some babies learn that they can do that while breastfeeding, which generally results with them rolling around laughing at the tickling vibrations. It generally feels pretty funny for mom as well.

It might be a fun activity in the beginning but they will continue to nurse. However, if they continue to make blowing noises while nursing or make a humming noise, then take them off and put them down. While fun activities and motor skill development is to be encouraged, it should not be encouraged if they are nursing. They will understand mommy’s body language and focus on the task at hand – nursing.

5 The Look For Wiggle Room

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As babies get older and their gross motor skills start to develop, nursing them may not be the calm, Zen experience it once was when they were newborns. In fact, it may sometimes feel like a wrestling match. They want to nurse, but they also have this need to move. The two make for a very interesting time.

One way to prevent the wiggles while nursing is by setting limits. If the child doesn’t want to calm down to nurse, then they shouldn’t be nursed. With that being said, it is normal for a child to go crazy when breastfeeding, especially if it is during the day. Sometimes they like to shake their tiny bottoms to get a giggle out of their moms. Needless to say, it is easy to see why that would be cute.

4 Eye Rolls Galore

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Some babies’ eyes will roll back after their first few gulps of breastmilk. They look like they have taken too many swigs of an adult beverage. It is completely natural and normal. The baby could be very excited about having milk and when they finally get it, their eyes roll back.

When a woman breastfeeds, she will also release oxytocin in her milk to help the baby relax. Certainly, those hormones hitting the baby will help make the baby very relaxed, which can also cause their eyes to roll back. Another reason their eyes roll back when nursing is because they are tired.

They are fighting sleep and the warm, comforting milk can be exactly what they need to fall asleep. Either way, there is nothing to worry about when a baby does that while breastfeeding.

3 Following Mom's Scent

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When a baby enters the world, it is born hungry and with a sucking reflex. They have been practicing it while they were in their mother’s uterus. Since they spent so much time in their mother’s womb, they know what their mother smells like. Babies have an overdeveloped sense of smell and are able to detect their mother’s milk when it is in the room.

When a baby is held near their mother’s chest, they will know exactly where to go to find the milk. They will turn their head in the direction of her breasts and begin to root around for her nipple. The bond between a mother and child is incredibly strong. This is simply one way to demonstrate how powerful that bond is. Babies know who their mother is.

2 Matters Of Composition

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Babies who are fed pumped milk should be fed that milk at the same time it was expressed. For example, if a mother pumps milk in the morning, the baby should be given that milk that was pumped in the morning and not in the evening. The reason for this is that the composition of milk changes during the day. In the morning, the milk will have a different chemical composition than milk in the evening.

Breast milk contains an ingredient called nucleotides which play an important role in regulating baby’s sleep. The level of this ingredient will fluctuate greatly during the day with the highest concentration of it being in the evening. Obviously, the baby who is fed directly from the breast will be receiving the exact right milk for that time of day.

1 Ebb And Flow

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The most obvious changes the milk will go through happen in the first few days of the baby’s life. In the first few days, mothers will make a substance called colostrum. This is much thicker than milk and contains ingredients that act as a laxative for the baby to help clear out everything that was in their intestines and help make their first stool.

During the first six weeks of life, the milk will be filled with antibodies to help support the baby’s underdeveloped immune system. This time period is when milk will contain its highest concentration of antibodies. The milk will change into very calorie-dense milk until the child is about four months old.

However, babies will want to feed more frequently. From four to nine months, the fat content will decrease but contain more omega acids that are essential for brain development. From nine to 12 months, it will become calorie-dense again to support muscle development.

Sources: Parenting, Health Foundation, Nursing Schools, Today’s Parent, Baby Center, Kelly Mom, Babble, Spark People, Science Daily, Net Mums

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