Breastfeeding is one of the best times for a mom and baby to bond together. They’ve already built their connection while the baby was in the womb, but now that they are out, it’s no secret that latching on to mommy’s chest for food can take their bond to another level.
Still, it’s also no secret that babies can do the strangest things while breastfeeding. One might think they would want to gaze into their mother’s eyes the entire time, but in reality, the baby will soon find out there are lots of things they can do while breastfeeding. And some of them (okay...probably a majority) of those things can come across as a tad bit awkward.
From hitting to grabbing to slamming and even coming up with a nickname for the girls, babies probably show most of their creativity and personality while breastfeeding. Just be prepared for it to be really uncomfortable, painful and of course awkward for Mom. But hey, at least at this point the child doesn’t know any better. Check out a few unusual things a baby does while breastfeeding. Keep in mind these things are completely normal, so there’s no need to start giving the baby the side eye, even though some might result in laughter.
This is one of the reasons babies wear the cutest little booties on their hands after they are born. Their little nails can scratch themselves and others around them, including their mom while they are breastfeeding. Because if we’re honest, those nails might be little, but they are still impressively sharp. A baby’s hands and nails might find their way into their mom’s mouth and even go as far as scratching her teeth and gums, while never taking a break from nursing. We have to admit a baby’s ability to multitask like this is nothing to scoff at. Still, it might not make it any less tender.
Do not be alarmed when a nursing baby rolls back his or eyes after they take in the first couple of gulps. This is completely normal. Actually, it’s not only normal, but almost serves as a sign that the baby is enjoying the moment to the max. It’s as if they are so relaxed while they take in their much needed nutrients, that they can’t help but to let their eyes go toward the back of their head. So if anything, it should be viewed as a plus moment, not necessarily a creepy one. In fact, a round of applause just might be in order.
By now, Mom might have realized the power and strength of a baby’s very heavy touch. Interestingly enough, a baby at this stage in their life has yet to realize how strong they really are. So try not to be too surprised when the baby slams their hand on any part of the body they can reach first from mom’s chest to her neck to her mouth and even parts of her face, like her eyes and nose. This can be pretty painful, so it’s not a bad idea to gently grab their hand and place it on an area that’s not as sensitive.
This probably feels super awkward, but the baby might not even know that they are doing it. It’s kind of like a subconscious yet inevitable go-to while they are breastfeeding. For some, it could be their little way to mark their territory and show that mommy’s milk belongs to them and them alone. For others, it could be a way to display their comfort and simply relax while they indulge. Either way, it really is quite adorable, even if his or her mommy is embarrassed by the motion. If it’s any constellation, this one is also more normal than one might think.
So, we have to admit this one is pretty funny. It tends to happen when the baby is still half-asleep but will make every attempt to latch anyway. The only problem is, they could very well latch on to other parts of the body that definitely aren’t filled with breastmilk. This could include the belly, the arm, the arm pit and who knows what else. The best part is seeing them attempt to latch on and begin their breastfeeding session on the wrong part of the body. But of course we know it won’t take Mom long to spring into action.
Get ready for baby to come up with the most hilarious nickname for breastfeeding, and even his or her mom’s chest area. While this clearly won’t come into play until they get a little older, it doesn’t take long at all once they know how to talk, for a child to dub and label their mom’s breastfeeding time and the “accessories” that go along with it. While it’s one of the most hilarious things to ever happen in private, try not to grimace when they request these said accessories in public and in front of friends and family. Gotta love it.
No, this doesn’t mean the baby is saying “no” to the breastmilk and rejecting it. In fact, it might not even mean that anything is wrong at all, including his or her mom’s breastmilk. Just because they are newborns, doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to make moves solo. In fact, this is when they are learning to do certain movements, including shaking their head. Their muscle control is coming into play so they might even be a little jerky in some moments, and breastfeeding time isn’t exempt. Plus, shaking their head while nursing could be proof that they are excited about it.
So just like moms, it’s safe to say babies get a little bored while they are breastfeeding. Think about it, we like to be entertained at times while we eat, so it really shouldn’t be any different for newborns and growing babies. One of the ways they’ll entertain themselves is take a hold of the free side and treat it like a new toy. They don’t mean any harm. In fact, they don’t know how it makes mom feel, or that any new mom’s first instinct could be to swat away the baby’s hand.
That’s it? Yes, for them, that might be it. A baby might have the habit of just removing their mouths from the area at what could be considered one of the most inconvenient times for Mom, like when she is still engorged. But the baby doesn’t stop there. They’ve realized their rule Mom’s world and might even hold on to her chest that still has milk coming from it. Moms might be imagining this in a step-by-step process, but it’s no secret this can happen quickly. Just as quickly as they started, they can start wrapping up in what used to be the midway point of the session.
Their hands might be baby-sized, but it certainly hurts when they pinch. And some moms might find that while breastfeeding, a baby’s pinch skills will go into full swing. They might think they are playing, especially since it’s easy for them to get bored, but it’s obvious it’s definitely more fun for them than it is for his or her mom. Oh yeah, we should also mention that a baby could pull. Mom’s hair while feeding too. Basically, be ready for anything. Parents tells moms to say “no” calmly without yelling or screaming so the baby doesn’t get startled. Before Mom knows it, baby could be back to eating as if they didn’t just pinch her super hard.
Yes. Just when most moms thought baby's activity during breastfeeding couldn’t get any more awkward, do not be taken aback when they not only get a hold of their mom’s shirt, but when they yank it down before she has time to respond. Yes, mom and baby are supposed to be a team and prevent one another from experiencing any type of embarrassment. But it’s no secret a newborn hasn’t quite gotten this memo yet. They only have their eye on the prize and see a shirt as the only object in its way.
When a nursing baby takes a break, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like the supply they are receiving. In fact, some of them look really deep into thought that could have any mom questioning what could possibly be on their mind before she realizes they are too young to be trying to strategize world domination. But just as quickly as they seemed to stop and take a break, they’ll be back to their meal before mom knows it. We can only guess that it makes perfect sense for a baby not to be able to indulge consistently for a long period of time without taking a break.
Again, this is no indication that a baby is attempting to insult their mom and ask, “What kind of milk is this?” when they spit it out. In fact, it can be a little panicky as his or her mom attempts to figure out what the problem is. But before she goes into a panic, it’s helpful to remember that the baby might have gotten too much milk, or that it went down the wrong tube like food and drinks can do for adults. Of course, when it happens to be a baby it can create a completely different experience.
It might not take long for a baby to discover where all of the necessary breastfeeding pieces are, causing them to take action themselves. Actually, this can happen as soon as their first time breastfeeding. When a nurse or midwife puts the newborn on the belly, it is very possible and even likely for some that the baby will make its way up the belly and attempt to latch on. Where did they even learn that? It’s like they already know where to find their food and have been waiting for up to nine months to have a go at it. That is pretty cool if you ask us.
Hey, we never judge, so moms have no reason to be ashamed if they get a little flattered when it is very clear a baby can smell their milk as soon as they step into a room or close vicinity. Who knew that they can actually point out the smell of their mom’s breastmilk? While they are obviously happy to see their mom, they might also be thinking it’s time to eat. This certainly explains why a child might either cry and/or get excited as they make a beeline to the woman who is their mother. How can one not get flattered by that?
For starters, yes, it’s okay to breastfeed once baby starts teething. That’s not an indication that it’s time to stop. Still, be aware of any teeth that could scrape the chest area as they eat as if they still have no teeth at all. While they use their tongues to eat instead of their teeth, it’s an adjustment for them as much it is for their mommy. Hey, they’re just trying to get used to all of the changes here. If it gets out of hand, some moms take their concerns to a lactation consultant for suggestions on how to show the baby biting isn’t the best.
While there might be times the baby can’t latch on fast enough (hey, we just said they can smell the breastmilk from a seemingly mile away), there will also be times they seem to do everything they can to avoid latching. But just like everything else on this list, this is completely normal and doesn’t speak to the mom’s skills as a mother or as a provider of all things milk. It’s also important to note that this won’t last always. It’s temporary and could be caused by factors like a different environment, a switch up in their routine, teething, and just not feeling well.
By now it’s very clear that most babies get pretty physical when they are breastfeeding, and their actions may or may not be related to actually eating. Actually, they can be pretty painful for Mom, including hitting. A solution to all of this possible physical activity could be a nursing necklace that is created with silicone or cloth. It’s safe for the baby and can easily serve as a distraction compared to Mom’s arms, mouth, hair, and other things that are attached to her body. Moms might also learn to pull back their hair and wear clothes that cover her body to prevent the baby from getting too physical while exploring.
Even though they might be all in and completely focused on their mom when they first explore the joys of breastfeeding, as they get older, other things will steal away their attention. (For anyone who thinks this is bad, just wait until their teenage and young adult years) Still, their attention on breastfeeding is important because they have to eat, right? Moms can help set the mood for an easier breastfeeding session by turning off the TV, turning down the lights or simply feeding in a calm and quiet area. The main focus is that the baby has fewer things to district him or her from eating.
The nip, that is. We have no idea why babies do this (do we have any idea on why babies do half the things they do?), but our guess is that they are intrigued and might even think it’s hilarious. Either way, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point during their breastfeeding phase, a baby will remove their mouth from the area and use their hand to stretch it out as if it’s a balloon. Mom might even be surprised with our far it actually goes. Just try not to feel offended if it results in a laugh or two (or three) from the baby in the moment.
Resources: Romper, CDC, HuffPost, Healthline, Parents, Pumpables