Why Some Moms Experience an Urge to Lick Their Baby After Childbirth

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So, I’m just going to start out by saying: I 100% did NOT have the urge to lick my babies. As soon as they came out and were placed on my chest, I checked that they were in possession of all their parts, then kindly asked the nurse to take them and wipe them down. I loved them immediately, was super happy they were healthy and crying, don’t get me wrong! But I did not want to touch them or kiss them when they were covered in all that … stuff. Did not want to taste the inside of my own birth canal, no thank you. But I am not knocking you if you experienced the urge to lick your baby! Turns out, it’s a pretty fascinating mammalian instinct.

Did you have the urge to lick your baby after they were born? If so, you’re not alone.

?YOU ARE A MAMMAL?Mammals are known to lick and clean their young immediately upon birth. This is done for a few…

Posted by Badassmotherbirther on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Flor Cruz, a doula and childbirth educator who goes by Badassmotherbirther, shared a pretty amazing birth photograph on her page recently, which shows a woman giving her newborn baby a lick right after they were born. The picture was taken by maternity photographer Ludy Siqueira of Senhoritas Fotografia. At first glance, I was like … mmmmmkay. Again, my aversion to licking my own goo kicked in. I think the photo is gorgeous and very “in the moment.” But I’ve never actually heard of or seen a woman lick a newborn, so you can imagine my confusion!

The urge to lick your baby is, apparently, pretty common (how many women actually do it remains a mystery). Cruz says the urge is quite natural, and points to the animal kingdom to prove her point. After all, mammals in the wild immediately begin licking their offspring after birth. They do so for a number of reasons, like removing the newborn scent to keep predators away and bond and socialize with their babies. They also lick them to stimulate breathing and digestion.

So while we may be civilized (for the most part), some of us still harbor those mammalian instincts. And some mamas, like the one in the photograph, give in to their urges.

We all kiss and sniff and snuzzle our babies, right? Some of us even want to, ahem, eat them from time to time. This is all normal! This is all FINE. Yes, even licking your baby, if you feel like you have to do it. Totally normal! Judging by the comments on the original Facebook post, plenty of women DO experience that urge. Some moms just can’t fight their instincts in the heat of the moment.

So if you’ve ever had the urge to lick your baby, don’t worry: it’s just your mammalian self doing what it needs to do. If my kids came out less gross, I might have considered it myself.

(Image: iStock / golubovy)