why does baby flail arms when nursing

Why Does Baby Flail Arms When Nursing

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Most breastfeeding mom often asks “why does baby flail arms when nursing”? Newborns are the sweetest and most wonderful category of humans to deal with. I mean, they are so fragile that you cannot be too careful while nursing them. This can be even more challenging if you are a first time mom because your beautiful baby can both fascinate and mystify you at the same time.

Babies are helpless in terms of talking, and so it becomes a really serious duty to figure out what your little one needs or wants, and what exactly is it they are seeking to register via their actions. Of course, crying is a usual index of discomfort for babies, but it doesn’t mean there are no other ways through which they pass messages across, although, they can be amazing and puzzling.

Your baby flailing her/his arms while nursing is one of those actions. And it is important to establish that, while feeding, some babies just aimlessly flail or fling their arms around, with some leg kicks alongside. And the thing about actions like these is that, it relaxes your baby’s grip on the breast while nursing.

Why Does Baby Flail Arms when nursing?

There are a couple of reasons why babies flail arms when nursing:

  • Uncomfortable position
  • The pace of your milk flow
  • Silent reflux

Uncomfortable position: One of the reasons your baby’s arms could flail in the course of nursing is, uncomfortable position. When the position they are in while feeding becomes far from convenient, then flailing of arms is one of the resulting actions. The message this action could be passing is that, your baby is filled up, needs a pause, or is done feeding. At times, your baby could have sucked so fast s/he needs to burp.

The pace of your milk flow: The pace of your milk flow is a second reason. Sometimes, your baby can flail their arms if your milk flows at a pace too fast for them, and even if there is no flow at all.

Silent reflux: For some babies, the issue could be a silent reflux, and this unsettles their comfort. Distractions from the environment can also make your baby become uneasy when they are being nursed. To understand the message that underlies your baby’s flailing of arms, you are going to need to take your time, and give way to patience.

What to do if baby flails its arm while nursing?

Find a feeding position that works for your baby

Switch breasts – In a situation where you have plenty of milk, a letdown where there is an increased flow of milk is possible. What you can then do is, extract the milk manually for a couple or more minutes prior to the time you feed your baby.

Lean your back – this prevents gravity from initiating fast flow.

Seat your baby on your lap – Try seating your baby on your lap in such a way that s/he faces you while feeding. This offers you control over their legs and arms.

Find out if your baby needs a diaper change or wants to burp

Tuck your baby’s arm under yours and wrap their body and the other arm tightly in a blanket

The reverse swaddling method is workable, too. This will require you to cover your baby’s tummy with a blanket, while the ends of the blanket are tucked behind their back. Once you notice that the feeding has returned to normal, the swaddle can be withdrawn. Taking a break while feeding, at times, is all you need to do.

If you have noticed that distractions from the environment are the reasons your baby is flailing their arms, you can feed them in a different place. If they are not so hungry at the moment, take a break.

Baby Putting Hands In Mouth While Breastfeeding

It is a quite normal thing for babies to put their hands in their mouths while breastfeeding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Babies just love to explore, and are sometimes interested in feeling with their fingers what is in their mouths. Tons of babies are in this category. And if your baby is currently doing this, there is nothing to worry about, as s/he will soon get over it!

Baby Puts Fingers in Mouth and Vomits

Babies love to explore with their mouth. Of all body parts, the first thing a baby recognizes is his/her fingers, and hands. This recognition amazes them, and leaves them wanting to know what to do with it. So, they cannot help putting those fingers in their mouths. You as a parent should not be tired pulling their fingers out of the mouth, every time you notice this. Below are some other things you can do about this.

  • Keep your baby’s fingers clean
  • Trim the nails
  • Remove any hazardous object around
  • Keep the environment clean and hygienic
  • Divert her attention from the action by giving her new toys

Baby Puts Finger in My Mouth While Nursing

This is just one of the many funny things babies do while they are being nursed. It is normal and not any cause for alarm. You can get toys and any other accessory to get those fingers busy.

Why Do Babies Stick Their Fingers Down Their Throat?

Because it is an absolutely normal part of child growth and development! Do not be worried, because there is nothing to worry about. Your baby is just exploring, and trying new things out. It’s a phase, and will pass.

Is It Okay To Put Finger In Baby Mouth?

Of course, it is very much okay. If your baby is in an uncomfortable state, and there is nothing to give for her to suck on, your clean little finger will suffice. Emphasis on the clean, please.


Above are answers to the question “why does baby flail arms when nursing”. Because babies are new to everything in their body make up and environment, they always want to explore and try things out. Flailing of arms is one thing that babies do when they are trying to pass a message of discomfort across to their parents. In this article, we have provided practical solutions to this issue.

For babies who put their fingers and hands in their mouths too, we outlined ways parents can deal with it.

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