Recently, I came across this adorable video that brought back so many memories of breastfeeding my babies. The clip features an infant gently massaging mama’s breast while nursing. Too precious, right?
Sigh. I remember when my little ones did this. These days, though, my breastfeeding toddler prefers waaayy more awkward ways to pass time on the boob. Like …
1) Nipple twiddling. Whenever I’m lying down on my side to feed her, one of my daughter’s hands cups around the boob that she’s latched onto and the other hand always finds the unused nipple for twiddling.
2) Weird acrobatics. This is her favorite pastime whenever I’m lying on my back. She plops on my belly, pulls up my shirt, latches on and then proceeds to contort her body in the oddest ways. Toe touches. Partial rolls. Yoga poses. What the crap, kid?
3) Boob slapping. This one doesn’t happen very often, but it always catches me off guard. She usually does it when letdown is taking too long for her liking. It’s like she’s saying, “Hey, is this thing working?” and trying to slap it into cooperation.
4) Hair yanking. Before the nipple twiddling habit began, my daughter was all about grabbing my hair and flailing her arm around. Um, OUCH. Thankfully, this was only a phase. (And wearing a nursing necklace really helped head this one off, too.)
5) Shirt flapping. Her one hand always has to be doing something, doesn’t it? This one is only a problem for me if she’s doing it in public. Because although I’m fine with breastfeeding wherever we may be, I don’t necessarily want to draw more attention to myself.
6) Biting. It may be considered “normal,” but this one is by far my least favorite. After a few times of my pulling back in shock (and pain,) and giving them a firm “no,” all three of my babies got the hint.
I reached out to fellow BabyCenter bloggers to see what notable habits their babies had while breastfeeding. Here’s what they had to say.
7) Unclasping clothing. Becky Vieira: “Archer unlatches the clasp on the opposite side of my nursing tank. Every time!”
8) Mole fiddling. Betsy Shaw: “One of my babies used to stroke my side gently, the other fiddled with a mole incessantly to the point of driving me mad.”
9) Boob/chest stroking. Joyce Slaton: “Violet used to stroke my chest and breast so sweetly it often brought tears to my eyes. Her hand was as soft as biscuit dough. I used to think of them as tiny stars. Breastfeeding was a sweet time for us.”
10) Scratching. Kelly Wilbanks: “Annie digs into my breasts right now — sometimes drawing blood.”
11) Nipple nuzzling. Adrienne Hodges: “Before latching, my daughter will nuzzle my nipple with her nose and sometimes whisper to it. They’re pals.”
12) Foot in the face. Sabrina Garibian: “Each one of my kids loved to stick their feet in my face while nursing. Every one!”
So, new and expecting moms be warned: Your babies may develop some interesting habits while at the breast. It’s nothing to worry about. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily appreciated. (Especially the biting and hair-pulling!) Click here for tips and tricks on handling some of the more painful/irritating behaviors from Kelly Bonyata, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and the mom behind KellyMom.com.
This post was originally published in July, 2017.
Images by Michelle Stein, Becky Vieira, Kelly Wilbanks; Instagram post embedded with permission by the baby’s mother, Kaitlyn Victor, and Barbara Demske/firstlatch