Watching a baby do the Breast Crawl is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. It is nature at its best!
In the previous post you got a glorious overview of the Baby’s 9 Instinctive Stages. In this post we will dive into two of my favorite domains of study and the human experience—movement and sensation. We’ll begin to break it down so that you get a sense of the depth of brilliance that is behind this incredibly natural and insanely beautiful act.
The newborn may appear helpless, but displays an impressive and purposeful motor activity which, without maternal assistance, brings the baby to the nipple.
-Michelson et al 1996 (1)
The Basics & The Beautiful
Most babies are born with the instincts to do Breast Crawl Movements. As a re-cap, in this series we are exploring the breast crawl movements in newborns who are placed on mother’s abdomen just after birth, and slowly “crawl” up until they find the breast, then they latch on by themselves and start suckling.
Research has shown that 70-100% of babies successfully complete the Breast Crawl to take their first feed immediately after birth. The few who do not complete it alone achieve it with some assistance. However, babies who are separated from their mothers in the hour after birth do not always do this when reunited— especially if bathed. Babies whose mothers were medicated during labor are also less likely to do the Breast Crawl. So basically, unmedicated, non-separated babies who are healthy are likely to do the Breast Crawl within an hour after birth. (2-6)
If you think about it, it makes sense that we would be born ready to meet our most basic needs. At this phase those needs are food and ensuring that we have someone to keep us warm and safe. All animals are born with some level of readiness to survive. In the end we are an animal, the human animal, and we, too, need some level of readiness to survive. (7)