UNICEF, WHO, WABA and the scientific & medical communities all recommend initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Evidence shows this can prevent up to 22% of all deaths among babies less than 1 month old in developing countries. It is also known that, like other mammals, human babies can instintively initiate breastfeeding on their own (provided they are kept between mother’s breasts). This is called the “Breast Crawl“.
I just stumbled upon this amazing video detailing the breast crawl of a newborn – something that has been documented to take, on average, 30-60 minutes. This particularly speedy little girl found mom’s nipple in just over 10 minutes! Everything that is happening here is so perfectly designed by nature: the skin-to-skin contact helps keep baby warm and initiates mother-baby bonding. Baby’s “kicking” on mother’s belly stimulates the womb to contract, which helps to deliver the placenta and reduce bleeding. The baby smells the food close by, begins salivating and starts her “trek” to mom’s nipple. I was very moved by this video. Then I sat back and wondered why I was so moved… this is nature… this is how it should be. Best for mom. Best for baby. Simple.
The Breast Crawl was first documented over 20 years ago (Widström et al, 1987) however, I don’t think many people have heard of it. I hadn’t until today, have you? I would be more than happy to see widespread recommendation of the baby crawl as “the method” for initiating breastfeeding. Drop a comment below and tell me what you think.