Breast Crawl for Newborn Breastfeeding

I remember trying to help my son breast crawl for his first breastfeed. Unfortunately it wasn't at all successful. We were both exhausted and I hadn't quite placed him well. Next time I will be more prepared!!

During pregnancy I'd seen a breast crawl video - only one and only when I was 32 week pregnant. By the time my baby was born I couldn't really remember how to help things along. I also didn't know you could use Baby Led Latch til your baby is 3 months old. If only!!! Perhaps we would have improved things quicker...

In case you're wondering, breast crawl is a term for a newborn finding it's way to the nipple by itself. Baby led latch is what happens after this, as the newborn attaches to the nipple with little or no help from the mother. It is helpful to watch videos of other mothers allowing their newborn to attach themselves to the nipple almost on their own. After the baby is born their muscle tone, sense of sight and smell are limited but are adequate to allow them to search for this first feed all by themselves.

Here is a beautiful breastfeeding video which shows a newborn's first breastfeed:

Just before attachment the newborn will start to open their mouth, then they will start to protrude their tongue. After the baby is born, it is very important to allow this to happen before trying to initiate an attachment. If this protrusion of the tongue and wide opening of the mouth isn't allowed to occur it will mean the newborn does not take the nipple into the right part of their mouth and this is the cause of sore nipples, grazing and blisters. Again, watching videos of this occurring can be very beneficial before you try it so you have some idea of what is and what is not a good latch from your newborn.

Some tips for getting started:

  • Sit in a quiet comfortable place
  • Place your baby between your breasts with the stomach facing yours (not the side of their body facing yours)
  • Support the baby, allowing them to choose a side to go towards
  • Remember to wait for their primitive reflexes to kick in - this is the head bobbing about, them licking their lips and opening their mouth or sticking out their tongue
  • Keep supporting under your baby's back and head once they have moved to one breast, but don't push their head at all, allow your baby to position themselves
  • Be patient, your newborn may be upset and you may need to get their head in the general vicinity of your nipple, but do this by moving their body, not their head
  • If your baby is having trouble try shaping the nipple rather than pushing their head towards it

Here's another few examples, you can see all the behaviours described above, amazing how we are all so similar!

This one is a foreign one.  Note how the video has been cut a few times, I suspect this is to shorten the process for viewing, but it can take a while

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