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Your brand-new baby has arrived. The moment you have been waiting 9 months for is here.
“Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.” (Glenn Turner).
- Take a breastfeeding class
- Write a birth plan
- Write a breastfeeding plan
- Give birth in a Baby Friendly hospital if possible
- Make sure your baby goes skin to skin as soon as possible after he is born
- Watch for signs that he is ready to feed
- Keep him skin to skin until he breastfeeds
- Get help with positioning and latch
- “Laid-back breastfeeding” is one of the latest trends in breastfeeding. Just lean back and let your baby self-attach. It’s awesome when it works. Not so awesome when it doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to give you little one some help and guidance. Listen to your instincts.
Skin to skin
- Stabilization of baby’s temperature
- Blood sugar regulation
- Facilitates breastfeeding initiation
- Longer breastfeeding duration
- Babies cry less
- Encourages bonding
- Pain relief
- Supports neurobehavioral development
- Better cardio-respiratory function
- Stimulates maternal hormones that can decrease bleeding
- Less maternal postpartum depression
- You baby will breastfeed more often
- He will cry less
- Your baby will stay more alert during feedings
- It continues to have all the benefits mentioned above
- Do skin-to-skin should if your baby has a low temperature
- It is more effective than putting him under a warmer (Source).
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You want to learn as much as you can before your baby is here.
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Watch for cues showing that your baby is interested in eating.
- Colostrum is a laxative and aids in the passing of the meconium.
- It helps close the gut lining which helps prevent allergies and diseases.
- It is chock full of antibodies. Some people call it baby’s first vaccination.
Position and Latch
- Your baby is facing you.
- His nose is opposite your nipple
- When he opens wide pull him in quickly and closely.
- His chin should be pressed into your breast.
- His nose should not be pressed against your breast.
- It doesn’t hurt! It will feel like a very strong tug, but it should not be painful.
How Often Should You Expect Your Baby to be Breastfeeding in the First Day?
What if your baby doesn’t want to eat at all the first day?
- A long labor or a difficult birth
- Medications during labor (Source)
- Being premature (born earlier than 38 weeks)
- A tummy full of amniotic fluid
- Being “spitty” (although that is not a medical term, we use it a lot).
- This may be from a tummy full of amniotic fluid
- Spittiness usually doesn’t start until 12-18 hours after birth
- I have a theory that it is the tummy getting used to functioning and figuring out what it is supposed to do.
What to do if your baby is not interested in breastfeeding the first day
- Skin-to-skin (you can’t do too much)
- Massage his back, rub his cheeks, lips and gums
- Try hand-expressing some colostrum and rubbing it on your baby’s tongue or gums
- Hands-down, the most effective way I have found to get a sleepy baby to breastfeed is the side-lying position with skin-to-skin.
- Side-lying can be tricky with a newborn so get another set of hands to help you. A nurse, lactation consultant or midwife can help. She can show your partner how they can help with this position.
Things to Avoid the First Day
Avoid pacifiers in the first month of breastfeeding.
- Trying to get a sleepy baby to latch on for too long
Don’t actively try to get your baby to breastfeed for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time. If she’s not responding, let her sleep and try again in an hour.
Long sessions of trying will just wear her out and is usually very frustrating for you.
- Mittens on her hands – babies hands are a very important part of their feeding behaviors. She needs to be able to get to them.
- Tight swaddling – your baby needs to be able to move around. Skin to skin is best.
- Do lots of skin to skin.
- Watch for feeding cues.
- Enjoy your baby!
Do you feel ready for your first day of breastfeeding? What questions do you have after reading this? Leave a comment below and I will respond.
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Andrea Tran RN, MA, IBCLC
Andrea has been working with new families as an RN for over 35 years and a Lactation Consultant for over 25 years.
She has her MA in Health and Wellness with a focus in Lactation.