T his is one of my favorite little factoids that I found when writing Natural Birth Stories: Your newborn can crawl!
Brand new little babies are born with the instinct and ability to scoot toward their mother’s breast to latch on for their first breastfeeding. Isn’t that just amazing?!
But, specific conditions need to be in place at birth to make this amazing initiation of breastfeeding work as our Creator intended. Studies have shown that most babies are able to crawl to their mother’s breast and suck correctly IF a couple of key conditions were met. Here’s how to get your newborn crawling to breastfeed.
How to Get Your Newborn Crawling to Breastfeed
1. Mothers and babies needed to have immediate and constant, uninterrupted contact for at least an hour.
That means no separation for bathing, weighing, measuring, or other newborn examinations. Even a small interruption removes the crawling reflex.
2. A successful first breast-feed is much more likely if the mother didn’t have pethidine (brand name Demerol, a painkiller) during labor.
In studies, many babies that were sedated due to the drug exposure didn’t suck at all!
Other Benefits of Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact at Birth
Other studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact after birth promotes bonding, infant health, and higher long-term breastfeeding rates.
The great thing is that there are no known risks to this practice. There are only positive side effects that promote the health and well-being of mother and baby.
Unfortunately, less than half of babies spend the first hour of their lives in their mother’s arms. Of those mother-baby-pairs only 70% experience actual skin-to-skin contact.
If you’re working on writing your birth plan, you may want to talk to your obstetrician or midwife about the practice of immediate and prolonged skin-to-skin contact with your newborn and avoid the use of drugs during labor that may sedate your baby.
For much more on preparing for a natural birth, click here to get 3 free chapters of my book Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom’s Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth.
Where can I send your 3 free Natural Birth Stories Chapters?
- Effect of delivery room routines on success of first breast-feed
- Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants
- Listening to Mothers Survey III, pg 25
- The Evidence for Skin-to-Skin Care after a Cesarean
- Evidence for the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
- Photo Source
5 thoughts on “Your Newborn Can Crawl!”
In my birth plan I wanted to have immediate skin to skin with the baby, which happened to be hospital policy anyways (yay!). But… My husband had the first skin to skin with our son because I passed out from blood loss and needed attended to. Even though I couldn’t hold him for the first 15 minutes or so he still scooted to breastfeed. Maybe daddy holding him still fostered the instinct.
I love your story Jamie! Thanks for sharing! I love that your hubby was ready to jump in to provide skin-to-skin contact for your baby when you weren’t able. Beautiful!
I saw the most amazing video of a baby in India “crawling” towards his mother. I guess it’s still a common practice there to allow the baby to do that. It was so sweet!
I didn’t get to do this with my girls. My oldest was whisked quickly out of my arms to the respiratory team because she had meconium in her fluid. My younger daughter was born in Uruguay, in the dead of summer, and they insisted and bundling her up super warm right away. As soon as I got back in my room, I stripped her down and made sure we had skin to skin contact before falling asleep from a long night.
so very true. newborns have GREAT instincts