Immediately after delivery, baby will be in the perfect state for breastfeeding. Keeping baby skin to skin until after the first feed will ensure that you and baby will have the best opportunity to learn about each other. It will also enable you to see those early feeding cues that let you know your baby is ready to feed.
The First Day
- The first day as a new mom, you will no doubt be very excited, but also probably very tired. So will your baby. It is normal for infants in the first 24 hours of life to be very sleepy. After the first feed, infants may be drowsy at the breast and may need special encouragement to wake up for feeds.
- Your nipples might be sore. This temporary tenderness usually diminishes once the milk lets down and should disappear completely when your baby is positioned and latched correctly. If you are experiencing persistent soreness in your nipples, please tell your nurse so she can help to ensure you are feeding with good positioning and attachment. Other tips include:
- Try changing breastfeeding positions
- Begin by feeding on the side that is less sore
- Massage breasts before breastfeeding so the milk begins to flow
- After feeding, express a few drops of colostrum onto your nipples or use lanolin ointment to keep them moist
- If you are separated from your infant for any reason, you will need to use a breast pump and hand express to stimulate and protect your milk supply. Ask your nurse for a pump while at the hospital. She will instruct you on proper use as well as proper storage of breastmilk.
The Second Day
- Infants typically experience a period of alertness on the second day of life. They finally “wake up” and realize that they are in a very different place! Their new environment is troublesome, and so they will seek to be as close to you as possible.
- They will want to feed more frequently. This will help to make sure your full milk comes in as soon as possible.
- They may be more irritable or fussy, but are usually contented by being held and especially by being placed skin to skin.
- You will most likely be preparing to go home. Ask your nurse about breastfeeding resources you can use at home if any difficulties arise.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, continue breastfeeding while introducing solid foods as complementary foods. Continue breastfeeding until one year of life or as long as mother and child mutually agree.
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