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Parenting

The story behind a ‘Milk Drunk’ baby

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Milk Drunk, definition: when a baby is so well-fed and happy that they pass out in your arms, give a tinge of a smile, and have little drops of milk dripping down their perfect little cheeks.

We all love seeing the first time this happens, and joke about our little ‘Milk Drunk baby’ with friends. The phrase is universally satisfying in the sense that a baby can get Milk Drunk and satisfied to the point of passing out, while a parent feels satisfaction and a sense of reassurance— whether their baby is formula fed or breastfed. Turns out, we all have the same end goal when it comes to feeding our babies.

What does Milk Drunk mean?

We spoke with Dr Lauren Crosby, pediatrician and Bobbie medical advisor, to get down to the bottom of the phrase Milk Drunk. Since it’s a term we hear so much about, we wanted all the details. (Hey, we loved it so much, we named our site Milk Drunk!)

Why do babies get Milk Drunk?

Dr Crosby: It’s the terminology used when a baby is done with their breastfeeding or bottle feeding and lets go of the nipple in a content, relaxed state— eyes closed, sometimes a hint of a smile is seen and often a trickle of milk drips out of a corner of their mouth. This is typically a sign that the tummy is full. 

Does every baby get Milk Drunk?

Dr Crosby: No but that does not mean that the parents are doing anything wrong. When a parent experiences seeing their baby in this Milk Drunk state for the first time, there is a rush of emotions, a feeling of happiness, a feeling of parental accomplishment, and validation: I can provide sustenance for this little human.  I am on the right track!  

Do babies get Milk Drunk when formula feeding or breastfeeding?

Dr Crosby: Both!

What do we do if the baby fell asleep too fast during their feeding? Do you let them sleep or nudge them to continue eating?

Dr Crosby: It depends on a few factors such as is the baby gaining weight appropriately, making plenting of urine and stool, are they just “snacking” meaning having lots of short feeds and never really finishing a feed so they want to eat every hour all day and night (which is exhausting for parents, instead of every several hours). In those cases they may need some nudging at some feeds. 

Is it good to be Milk Drunk? What if it happens at every feeding?

Dr Crosby: It’s a sign a baby is satisfied so overall it’s good. And it’s ok if it occurs with each feed. 

Does getting Milk Drunk happen more during late night or middle of the night feedings?

Dr Crosby: It might occur more often at night for breastfed babies due to changes in maternal hormones but there is no real data on this yet that I have found anywhere. 

The story behind our site, Milk Drunk:

All of the above is why our team of moms created this site— to give a judgment-free digital destination where parents can find the answers to all things feeding a baby without having to scour the internet and piece together expert research (what’s the deal with sugar in formula?), comprehensive deep dive articles (ok how do you start supplementing with formula anyway?), tactical how-to’s (like getting through TSA with bottles), and first person stories of parents who have been in the 2am trenches right where you have been. What if we all shared the realities- the challenges, late night decisions, unexpected pivots to formula, and the outcomes of those decisions- more openly? Perhaps we could shift our feeding culture to one of confidence, not comparison.

Our goal with Milk Drunk is to normalize the feeding journey by lifting the veil on how it actually goes for most parents with ZERO agenda on what it should look like. If you breastfeed for three years, amazing. If you turn to baby formula on day one, amazing.

It’s about getting easy access to well-vetted information so you can make the best decision for you. Not your mom, your mother-in-law, your partner, your parenting Facebook group, your other mom friends- truly for you.

So you do you, mom and dad and caregiver and parent. We hope this site only builds your confidence in whatever feeding journey you dive into.

Here’s to hoping it lands you with a Milk Drunk baby.

The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant's pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.
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The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant’s pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.

Meet the Author

Kim Chappell

Kim is first and foremost, a mom to two little ones, Hughes and Pippa Lou. She's also Head of Marketing & Comms at bobbie where she is steadfast on the mission of shaking the stigma on formula. She's a former Emmy-Award and National Edward R. Murrow winning journalist from her time in TV News in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana. She's married and lives in San Francisco.

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