why do babies touch your face while breastfeeding?

Curious Little Hands: Why Do Babies Touch Your Face While Breastfeeding?

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You’re sitting down to breastfeed your little one, and suddenly you feel those tiny hands reaching up to touch your face. You can’t help but wonder why babies do this. Is it just a cute quirk, or is there a deeper reason behind it?

You have probably asked yourself these questions before:

“Why does my baby grab my face?”

“Why does my baby hit and scratch me when having a feed?”

“Should I be worried that my baby hits me while I’m nursing?”

“Why do babies touch your face while breastfeeding?!”

“How can I stop my baby from wanting to grab faces or grab things nearby when breastfeeding?”

These are questions that most moms have asked themselves and don’t worry, there are perfectly normal explanations! Every baby is born with a strong sense of touch, and they use this sense to explore the world around them.

In this article, I’ll answer these questions and give you some tips about how to manage your baby while breastfeeding.

So why do babies touch your face while breastfeeding? 14 reasons

Ah, the joys of breastfeeding. Your little one is snuggled up close to you, feeding away, and then suddenly, you feel your baby grab at your face. You are left wondering, “Why does my baby grab my face like this?!!” Well, there are many different reasons why babies do this, and it’s all perfectly normal behavior.

First things first, it’s important to understand that grabbing is a natural reflex for all newborns and every baby. They’re still learning how to control their movements and explore the world around them. So, when they’re feeding, they may grab onto anything within their reach – including your face.

Your baby is a curious creature, and they like to explore their surroundings with all their senses. Touch is one of those senses that they use to learn about the world around them. This is why mothers who use breast pumps, especially those who exclusively breast pump, are encouraged to cuddle and hold their babies as much as possible in those easily weeks.

Here are some reasons why your baby touches your mouth and face while breastfeeding:

1. Learning about you

Your baby is a little sponge, soaking up information about the world around them. By face grabbing, they’re learning about the different textures, contours, and shapes of your features. It’s all part of their development and how they learn more from you.

2. Improves latch

Babies find comfort in touching their mother’s face while breastfeeding. The touch of their mother’s skin can have a calming effect and help them relax while they feed and therefore improve their latch.

Hand movements, by the infant on the breast, increase the maternal hormone oxytocin. It also causes the nipple tissue to become erect, which facilitates latch.

3. Increase milk production

Your baby may grab your face as a way to stimulate your milk production. When they’re grabbing onto your face, they’re also stimulating your breast, which can lead to more milk being produced.

Read more about increasing milk production here: How to Increase Milk Supply Quickly: Tips and Tricks for Breastfeeding Moms

4. Gauging emotions

Babies are born with an innate ability to recognize and respond to facial expressions. They are able to distinguish between happy, sad, and angry faces from a very young age. When your baby touches your face while breastfeeding, they may be trying to read your facial expressions to gauge your emotional state.

5. Making eye contact

When a newborn baby is breastfeeding, they can’t see their mother’s face directly. They have to turn their head to look up at her. Touching your face helps them to make eye contact with you. Eye contact is important for bonding and communication between a mom and her newborn baby.

6. Sense of touch

Babies possess a keen sense of touch from birth, which enables them to explore their surroundings. Touching a mother’s face during breastfeeding offers comfort, closeness, and relaxation for both baby and mom.

This natural, endearing behavior allows parents and infants to feel connected and secure while feeding.

7. Hungry

Sometimes babies touch their mother’s mouth and face while breastfeeding because they are hungry. They might be trying to get your attention and let you know that they want more milk!

8. The feeling of safety

The sense of touch is incredibly important for babies. It helps them to feel safe, secure, and loved. Touching your face while breastfeeding may be a way for your baby to connect with you on a deeper level and feel more comfortable and secure in your presence.

9. Falling asleep

Babies often touch their mother’s face when they are falling asleep. This is because they feel safe and secure in their mother’s arms, and touching her face helps to soothe them.

10. Undivided attention

Babies learn to touch your face while breastfeeding as a way to get your attention They know that when they touch your face, you will give them your undivided attention.

11. Play

Babies love to play, and sometimes they touch their mother’s face while breastfeeding because they think it’s fun. They might be trying to get a reaction out of you or just exploring their environment.

12. Startle reflex

Newborns have a startle reflex that causes them to flail their arms and legs when they’re startled. This reflex can cause them to grab onto anything nearby, including your face. If your baby is grabbing your face while breastfeeding, it might just be a reflex and nothing to worry about.

13. Older babies

As your baby gets older, they become more curious about the world around them. They want to touch and explore everything, including your face. If your baby is older and still grabbing your face while breastfeeding, it’s probably just their way of exploring their environment.

14. Loud Noises

Babies are sensitive to loud noises, and they might grab onto you for comfort when they hear something loud. If your toddler or baby is grabbing your face while breastfeeding because they’re scared of loud noise, it’s nothing to worry about.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that face grabbing is a natural part of the breastfeeding process and a way for your baby to bond with you.

What to do if your baby grabs your face while breastfeeding

So, what can you do about all the grabbing? Well, first of all, don’t panic. It’s completely normal. It’s cute at first, but it can quickly become annoying or even painful!

Luckily, there are some tricks you can try to distract your baby from grabbing and keep them focused on the task at hand.

  • Stay calm: It’s important to remain calm and not react too strongly. This will help avoid startling them and causing them to pull away suddenly, which can hurt you.

  • Distract them: If your baby touches or grabs your face out of boredom or frustration, try distracting them with a toy or singing a song. Offering a small toy, like a teething ring or a soft plush toy, can keep their hands busy and away from your face. Make sure the toy is clean and safe for your baby to play with. This can redirect their attention and prevent them from hurting you and can help redirect their grabbing reflex.

  • Switch up textures: Sometimes, babies start to grab your face simply because they’re curious about the different textures. You can distract them by offering a different texture to explore, like a soft blanket or a silky scarf. Just make sure it’s not too distracting that they lose focus on feeding.

  • Adjust your position: Sometimes, your baby may be grabbing your face because they are uncomfortable or trying to get into a better position. Try adjusting your hold or changing your breastfeeding position to see if it helps. For example, if your baby is grabbing onto your face while feeding on one breast, try switching to the other breast.

  • Set boundaries: While being gentle and patient with your little one is important, it’s also okay to set boundaries. If your baby is hurting you or grabbing your face too roughly, gently remove their hand and say “no” in a firm but gentle voice. This will help teach them the difference in your tone of voice and that certain behaviors are not acceptable.

  • Protect yourself: If your baby is grabbing your face too roughly or biting you, consider wearing a scarf or nursing necklace to protect your skin. You can also try wearing a nursing cover or using a breastfeeding pillow to help keep your baby’s hands away from your face.

    Check out my post: 16 Breastfeeding essentials: Must-have products for your nursing journey

Remember, your baby grabbing your face is a normal part of breastfeeding and doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong.

Baby hands and nails

Babies have tiny, adorable hands that can easily fit in your palm. However, those little hands can be surprisingly strong and move quickly. During breastfeeding, your baby may touch your face, grab your nose, or even start hair pulling.

They can also accidentally scratch your face or breast which may be painful and uncomfortable for you. Therefore, it’s essential to keep your baby’s nails trimmed to prevent accidental scratches. Baby nails grow quickly, so you may need to trim them every few days.

Trimming your baby’s nails can be challenging, but it’s important to do it safely. Here are some tips:

  • Use baby nail clippers or scissors, not adult ones.

  • Choose a time when your baby is calm and relaxed, such as after a bath or while they’re sleeping.

  • Hold your baby’s hand steady and gently press down on the fingertip to expose the nail.

  • Trim the nail straight across, not too short, and avoid cutting the corners.

  • If you accidentally cut your baby’s skin, apply pressure with a clean cloth and use a sterile bandage if necessary.

Pro Tip: I used to nibble my babies’ fingernails when they were newborns as I was so worried about cutting them! When they got s bit bigger I moved on to nail clippers. Don’t worry – everyone is a little nervous they first time they try to cut baby fingernails!!


Young babies grabbing their parent’s faces while breastfeeding can occur for various reasons, such as seeking comfort, feeling playful, or simply wanting to interact with their mom. If your baby’s hand grabbing becomes excessive or painful, consult your pediatrician to address any potential underlying issues.

As your baby grows, they may begin grabbing other objects during feedings, like your hair or clothes, which is also typical exploratory behavior. If you have concerns about your baby’s actions during feedings, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician.

In most cases, babies touching their parent’s face or hands during breastfeeding is normal and harmless, allowing you to cherish the bonding experience with your little one.

Final thoughts

I breastfed both of my children for over 12 months each and my boy was constantly trying to grab at me, specifically my hair. As he got older it got more and more persistent! Even now we have finished breastfeeding and he is nearly 4 years old, he still loves playing with my hair.

It’s not always a pleasant experience for me, I must admit, but he gets a lot of comfort from it so I will enjoy the snuggly cuddles for as long as possible!


Have questions? I have answers.

Your baby may touch your face while feeding to feel comfort, closeness, and connection to you.

Your baby grabs your face during breastfeeding for exploration, bonding, and a sense of security.

Your baby shoves her face into your breast while nursing to adjust positioning or seek comfort and reassurance.

A baby puts their hands in mom’s mouth while breastfeeding due to curiosity, exploration, and their innate sense of touch.

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