Mothers often express a love/hate relationship when it comes to their baby's sweet little hands, which are so great to kiss but seem to get in the way when it comes to breastfeeding. Interestingly, ultrasounds show babies bringing their hands up to their faces before swallowing amniotic fluid which continues being of part of how babies initiate a feeding once outside of the womb. With poor eyesight, newborns in particular will use their sense of touch and smell to latch on to the breast. For this reason, it is not recommended to tuck a baby’s hands under his body or swaddle him while breastfeeding, since doing so can disorient him. Think about if you were trying to eat with your hands behind your back. Babies need their hands to keep them stable and to help them locate their food, just like we need our arms to our side or in front of us when we eat.
Sharen Medrano, Yummy Mummy Support Group IBCLC (www.nycbreastfeeding.com)