The Breast Crawl is truly amazing.
Every newborn, when placed on the mother's abdomen, soon after birth, has the ability to find its mother's breast all on its own and to decide when and how to latch on.
The videos below show how this works - how a baby, when placed on mom immediately after birth, will find its way to her nipple and latch on all on its own. It is a combination of innate skills, such as the rooting reflex, and the smells on its own hands and mom's breast.
If you leave the baby alone, it will find and latch on the nipple within an hour of birth.
In my doula training workshop we watched a video of lactation consultants helping women out with their baby's breastfeeding latch. One way they helped solve the problem of a continually faulty (painful) latch was to allow the baby to do the breast crawl. The slightly older infants would do a "bounce" with their heads, slowly making their way to one breast or the other and eventually latching on all on their own! It seemed like such an easy solution after so much latching hardship - all it took was some patience.