At one point or another, fidgeting, pulling, getting distracted, and even hitting are all fairly normal behaviors for breastfeeding babies. I recall my son doing this consistently each time he started to breastfeed. Because breastfeeding is so relaxing and made him sleepy, it was almost his way to keep moving until he finally gave in to settle down. You may be wondering, "why does my baby hit me while breastfeeding?" And the reality is it could be a for any number of reasons. In my experience, it seemed like a tick or habit for my children while they were breastfeeding. But it's not an uncommon things, so there's plenty of speculation as to why your baby may hit you while breastfeeding.
It's important to first note there are a couple different approaches to babies hitting while breastfeeding. In my experience, it was a very soft, subtle, and habitual action that was done for just a minute or two during each breastfeeding session. It occurred most often when my children would start to nod off to sleep. There is, however, another type of hitting while breastfeeding where children may be much more aggressive. This seems to happen more often when your baby is wanting your milk to let down, there's a lull in milk flow, or milk is flowing too quickly, according to Circle of Moms.
The website Ask Dr. Sears referred to a baby that fidgets or hits while feeding as "the twiddler," and noted that these types of breastfeeding babies are sometimes amusing but can also be frustrating. According to Ask Dr. Sears, hitting generally occurs between 6 and 9 months old because babies start to enjoy using their hands. Additionally, finding ways to put a stop to hitting during breastfeeding isn't a bad idea, especially if it's aggressive or frustrating to you.
According to Kelly Mom, if you find this behavior to be an annoyance or over the top, there are several ways to distract, redirect, and discourage unwanted behavior. Some common ways to distract or redirect include giving your baby a toy to keep their hands occupied, suggesting they play with their own body or clothes, and even wearing a scarf or baby-proof necklace to grab their attention. You can also do things to prevent or stop the behavior. For example, utilizing a breastfeeding position that makes hitting difficult, swaddling, or giving a firm command like "be still." If those don't work, there are several other ways to keep your baby from fidgeting while breastfeeding you can try as well.
As a breastfeeding mom, you're definitely not alone if your baby has a habit of hitting you while they breastfeed. A baby may start doing this for any number of reasons that include a newfound enjoyment of using their hands, waiting for milk flow, milk is flowing too quickly, or keeping themselves awake. There's no reason to worry, however, because the behavior is totally normal. And if it becomes aggressive or annoying, it's OK to start running interference to prevent or discourage hitting.