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Early years

01st Aug 2018

Why do some mothers want to lick their babies after giving birth?

lick newborn

After you give birth, one of two things will happen.

You’ll either lick your newborn baby… or you won’t.

Honestly, most of us probably won’t.

We’ll hold them and say hey to them and maybe even kiss them, but generally, licking isn’t something that would happen unless it was by accident.

As it turns out though, licking your newborn child might actually be an instinct that a lot of mothers have.

According to birth doula Flor Cruz, the desire to lick your newborn child is totally natural due to the fact that that’s what most animals do anyway.


She told Mum’s Grapevine that:

“Mammals still lick their newborns and eat the afterbirth. Except for most humans. But humans at one point in time used to exhibit all of these same behaviours.

“We have evolved since then and do not feel the need anymore to keep predators away. We stimulate baby in other forms and have other ways to do all the things we once worried about that triggered us to lick our babies so instinctively.”

Apparently, there were a few reasons as to why this instinct became a thing for new mothers soon after they’d given birth.

Everything from cleaning their infant to protecting them from predators to bonding led to an intense desire to lick.

Makes enough sense, yeah.

The two remaining cultures that still licks their newborns are the Tibetans and Inuit.

So the practice is still a thing, no matter how rarely you might have seen it yourself.

The only question remaining is whether you’d give it a go.

Might as well.