Breastfeeding is widely known to be the most nutritional thing that can be fed to a newborn baby. However, breastfeeding is also a unique bonding experience for new moms. Breastmilk definitely helps your little baby’s immune system, but the act of breastfeeding itself actually releases a hormone that helps mama and baby bond.
Feeling your baby on your skin and knowing you are doing everything you can to nourish them is beautiful. While breastfeeding is known to take a lot of calories from the mother, it also helps women lose some of that extra baby weight. For many women, this seems like a magical solution because you get to feed your baby and slim down to your pre-baby size. Of course, breastfeeding is not always sunshine and rainbows. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it, but he fact that so many women have to turn to formula simply shows how hard nursing can truly be, especially for a new mom.
When you get down to business, babies can actually do some really weird and surprising things while they are breastfeeding. Even though these next 15 things listed may seem crazy or worrying, they are completely normal. Every baby is different but there is a good chance that mamas who breastfeed will relate to a few of these odd behaviors.
15 Pick A Favorite Side
This one might not come as much of a surprise to some of the more experienced moms out there. Any woman that has breastfed before will tell you that babies definitely have a favorite side. This might seem crazy because you assume that all the baby wants is their milk. However, according to BabyCenter.com, this is completely normal.
A newborn may reject one side because it’s simply harder for them to latch on that side,
or your baby might notice that one breast has a lower milk supply. Allowing your baby to keep their favorite for too long might result in some uneven boobs. This can be remedied by simply trying to encourage them to nurse on the other side when you can. However, this is probably not a good idea when they are fussy.
14 Over-Stuff Themselves
We’ve all been there before. We just want one more slice of pizza, or that delicious looking dessert. Whatever your food of choice may be, overstuffing yourself is never fun. Usually, we leave feeling so full and sick. Unfortunately, this same fate can happen to babies too. According to EssentialBaby.com, sometimes babies even throw up if they have taken more milk than they needed.
When you think about it, it actually seems easier for babies to overeat because someone else is putting their food supply in their mouth. All they have to do is drink...and drink...and drink. You get the picture. It can be easy for babies to get carried away with the sucking and nursing, and not register how full they are until the consequences come later.
13 Pull Their Hair Out
This one definitely comes as a surprise to most moms. The idea of their baby pulling their hair out while breastfeeding seems rare and quite odd. As it turns out, this is actually a pretty normal occurrence among babies. According to Circle Of Moms,
many babies grab onto their own hair behind their head while breastfeeding as a coping mechanism. It provides them with comfort and a sense of security.
However, if your baby is giving themselves a bald spot and it’s starting to concern you, just try to distract them. You can grab their hands and hold onto them while they drink, or you can massage the spot on their head for them. Watching your baby pull out chunks of their little locks can be traumatizing for some new moms, but it is honestly so normal.
12 Need Love, Not Milk
When babies begin to cry and fuss, many moms pick them up and pull out the milk supply almost as a reflex. It becomes second nature for moms who breastfeed a lot. However, there comes a time when these moms realize that there is just no way their babies are hungry. Maybe they had just been fed, or maybe it is not even close to their normal feeding time.
If your little one is trying to nurse even when they are not hungry, it probably means that they simply want some attention and skin to skin contact. Sometimes some love really can do the trick. But, this can be quite inconvenient for the busy mom who can’t sit around and play human pacifier for their baby. According to Parenting.com, switching your baby to a pacifier after they are fed, or wearing them around the house with you so they feel that intimacy can be solutions to this problem.
11 Play With The Girls Like A Toy
Okay, so if a woman got pregnant in the first place, the idea of her girls being a toy might not come as a huge shock to her. However, there are actually a lot of new moms who never expect their babies to play with their breasts.
Women often stress the importance of their baby drinking breastmilk because of the nutritional value, but many don’t give much thought to what that process will actually look like.
Since so many babies are different, it can be hard to gauge what one mom’s experience breastfeeding will be. According to KellyMom.com, almost every baby has curious little hands that grab, squeeze, pull, and pinch. Although some moms might find this to be painful, especially when the teeth start coming in, it’s hard to picture anything cuter.
10 Bite Down While Nursing
Can you say ouch!? Knowing that there is a chance your baby could start chomping down on your breasts once they develop teeth is something that prevents many moms from wanting to breastfeed for longer. I should point out that babies can’t actually bite down while nursing since their tongue covers their teeth. However, a bite every once in a while from a teething baby is probably inevitable.
According to Parenting.com, babies will bite down on just about anything when they are teething because it helps to relieve the pain. Of course, reacting with a loud “ouch” is only natural, but it is encouraged to try and control your reactions. The best thing you can do is stop breastfeeding if you feel a bite. This shows them that they get their milk taken away if they bite.
9 Fall Asleep When They’re Still Hungry
I know this may seem crazy. Why would a baby choose to fall asleep if they were still hungry? But, it can be hard to argue with the comforting arms of their mother. However, there are legitimate reasons for why a baby would stop nursing and fall asleep. One of those reasons could be because they are full, but the other option is a low milk flow.
Sometimes if the milk is not coming out fast enough, babies will fall asleep while they are waiting.
While some moms choose to gently try to wake their babies up enough for them to keep sleeping, others don’t like the idea of nursing their baby to sleep in general. If you are struggling to see if your baby is full, try feeling your breasts. If they feel softer and less full, there is a good chance your baby got what they needed. According to Kellymom.com, the important thing is doing what works for you and your family. Nursing to sleep is nourishing but it’s also nurturing.
8 Need A Diaper Change
Could you even imagine eating your meals or having a drink while sitting on the toilet doing your business? Well, that seems to be the difference between us and babies. In the newborn stage especially, babies will poop while they are nursing or right after. This is actually an important sign because it tells you that your newborn has had enough to eat.
Newborns have the tiniest little tummy capacities and so it is hard for them to hold anything inside of them for very long. That means whatever goes in, is going to come out very quickly. According to Baby Care Advice, breast milk also contains enzymes that improve digestion. Therefore, plan to have a new diaper ready after just about every feeding session. After all, isn’t it better to be prepared for what’s to come?
7 Make Grunting Noises
The little noises that babies make while breastfeeding is arguably the cutest sounds you will ever hear. According to Momwoot.com, a baby grunting during nursing is nothing to worry about. When babies are little, every little sound they make can be a cause for concern since they aren’t able to talk yet. A little bit of anxiety is normal as a new mom.
Luckily, baby grunting is common and can occur in babies as young as a few weeks old up to several months. However, it isn’t necessarily a good thing.
When babies consume milk very quickly, it can hurt their little intestines and cause intestinal distress. As a way to cope with this, babies will usually grunt. The experience is not pleasant for baby or mom. However, moms can try are leaning back or occasionally pulling your baby off your breast if the milk flow is coming to fast.
6 Become An Acrobat While Nursing
I know it might seem like nursing should be a calm and quiet task, but sometimes it can feel like your little baby is actually trying to do gymnastics while they are breastfeeding. Perhaps your child is just a ball of energy and excited to move around. Or, maybe they are losing interest in breastfeeding. Either way, nursing passively is something many moms take for granted until their baby starts breastfeeding standing up, upside down, and all twisted.
Once your little one doesn’t look so little anymore, it will be much harder to try and calm their activity levels with your breastmilk. According to Parent24, babies and toddlers are busy. They just want their milk, but don’t want to be bothered with stopping their daily lives. While this can be challenging for mom at times, try to cherish these moments because they will be gone soon enough.
5 Completely Zone Out
It may be the first signs of a food coma, or it could be genuine lack of interest. Often times, many breastfeeding moms have this idea of what that time will look like. Usually, moms want it to consist of bonding and a truly intimate connection. However, many babies end up zoning out during the feeding and don’t even give you the time of day.
If you are easily offended, don’t take it out on your baby just yet. According to Health Daily,
a baby staring off into space is actually a sign that they are working on their cognitive development.
During the first year of life, your child’s brain will double in size and make extreme cognitive leaps. Many of the babies first responses like crying when hungry or crying when they had a dirty diaper were all just reflexes. So, it’s possible that this zoning out is just a milk high, or it could be the massive amount of brain activity currently at work.
4 Be 'Not Nice' Towards Their Mom
Gymnastics is one thing, attacking is a whole other story. You may think an attack from a baby will be light and harmless, but that is not the case at all. Babies can pull, punch, and kick all while they are simultaneously nursing. If you are a new mom, don’t be surprised if you suddenly get a sharp kick in your stomach or a punch in your face. Face slapping has also been reported, along with scratches on your boob.
According to Romper, these attacks usually occur between 6 to 9 months because that is typically when they can start using their hands and feet more. These attacks can get frustrating, especially if they are aggressive, but it is advised to try giving your baby a toy or sternly telling them to be still.
3 Have No Interest In Nursing
It can be extremely frustrating for a mom when she knows that her baby is hungry, but they are continuing to squirm, and wiggle, and do everything they can to not nurse. This lack of interest is actually just your baby being distracted and it usually occurs around 2 to 6 months of age.
While it’s easy for a sleep deprived mother to get frustrated with her baby, try to remember that everything is new to them. They are just learning how to use their neck and lift their head.
According to Mayoclinic.org, mothers who are struggling with this breastfeeding strike should simply keep trying. You can change positions, try to prevent distractions, and even cuddle your baby with skin to skin contact. Something is bound to work eventually.
2 Become Stuffed Up And Congested
For those of us who may be sensitive to dairy, we understand that it can sometimes cause a stuffy nose or even congestion. It is usually chalked up to mean that certain people are just dairy intolerant. However, not very many people look at a stuffy nosed baby and connected it to their milk supply. Interestingly enough, breastfed babies have had fewer upper respiratory infections than those who were formula fed, according to LiveStrong.
If your baby is often sick with a stuffy nose or congestion, it could be linked to the cow’s milk found in formula. Cow milk-based formula has also been proven to cause ear and upper respiratory infections. However, the other side of the argument shows that babies could also have chest congestion due to saliva and regurgitated milk. Therefore, breastmilk technically could cause these issues as well, but cow milk products for infants are more likely.
1 A Sick Baby Could Be Caused By Mommy’s Diet
It’s common knowledge at this point that what a woman eats while she is pregnant will directly affect her growing baby. However, what many people often forget is that when a new mom is nursing, her diet still needs to be critically monitored. This is why women who are breastfeeding still can’t drink alcohol because the bad elements would be transferred through the milk, into the baby.
According to Sciencenordic.com,
the nutritional content of mother’s breastmilk reflects her nutritional status. Therefore, if she is lacking in all major vitamins and nutrients, so will her breastmilk.
At the same time though, breast milk does a good job at adapting to the baby’s needs as best it can, despite a mother’s relatively low nutrient levels. If your baby is constantly sick or not seeming well, changing the mother’s diet could be a good first step.
References: Kellymom.com, BabyCenter.com, Circle Of Moms, Parenting.com, Kellymom.com, Momwoot.com, Parent24, Romper, HealthDaily, Babycareadvice.com, Mayoclinic.org, LiveStrong.com, Parenting.com, Essential Baby, Sciencenordic.com