The Breast Crawl? It’s a Real Thing, and You Might Want to Try it!


Have you heard of the breast crawl? No, it’s not some new swimming stroke or a fad dance. It’s what newborns have the amazing ability to do almost immediately after birth!

This video shows the absolutely amazing way that a newborn baby can crawl to get to mum’s breast. It’s called the breast crawl. 

Your baby isn’t going to get up on all fours and start crawling around the house for some time after birth. Chances are that “some time” is more like 10 months (give or take, depending on the baby’s specific developmental timeline). But, newborns have an astonishing ability to scoot on up mom, ‘crawling’ their way to what they’re totally in need of – and that’s breast milk. Yep, it’s the breast crawl.

When placed on mum, a newborn will instinctively move the get to the milk. Why? And, more puzzling than why, how does baby do the breast crawl? When placed on mum’s belly, in direct skin-to-skin-contact, newborns will actually begin to salivate. The smell that the breast milk has is enough like the scent of amniotic fluid to get baby’s attention. The newborn will then instinctively move as much as possible to get to the nipple, latch on and begin to feed. That’s Mother Nature at work! Right?

If you’re thinking about trying this, make sure to tell your doctor and everyone else who’s in the delivery room. Your baby needs immediate skin-to-skin contact with you. That means the busy hands in the delivery room need to keep clear of baby. Instead of taking her away to swaddle her tightly in a blanket, she needs to stay on your chest. It also means that grandma, all of the aunties and your MIL need to wait outside (or at least away from the baby) before rushing over to pick her up. The breast crawl isn’t likely to happen if your newborn’s first few moments are spent swaddled up in someone else’s arms.

Keep in mind, if either you or your baby has any sort of complication or needs immediate medical attention, the breast crawl shouldn’t be a priority. Yes, it’s a special moment. And yes, it starts your baby off in a healthy way. But, any medical intervention (that the doctor or midwife says is necessary) is the most important thing that needs to happen immediately after birth.

Avatar of Erica Loop

Erica Loop is a mum, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. Along with writing for websites such as PBS Parents,, Scary Mommy,, Modern Mom, and others, she also is the creator of a kids' activities and art blog.

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