First breastfeed
By Kidspot Team |
First breastfeed
It is well known that if the baby is able to have a breastfeed within the first hour after birth, this is one way you can increase the chances of the following breastfeeds being a smooth, positive experience. Remember that doing anything for the first time can make you feel hesitant and nervous. If you are feeling anxious or reluctant, this is normal. Just be aware that breastfeeding for most women and babies is something that needs to be learnt and it can take some time for it to 'come naturally'.

In most cases the mother and baby will work out the first breastfeed in their own time, if left to their own devices. Being given the time and space to do this is important. Some caregivers will suggest (or physically place) the baby on the breast before the woman and baby are mentally, emotionally and / or physically ready. This could be aimed at 'getting that task out of the way' in a busy work environment.

Pushing this first feed can be upsetting, or even feel invasive, causing both mother and baby to become tense or distressed. Try to avoid feeling pressure from caregivers to place your baby on the breast before you and your baby are ready. Talk to your caregiver during the pregnancy about your preferences (if you know who will be at the birth) or write them in a birth plan.

When you do feel ready, and your baby is sending you signals that they are ready (through the 'rooting reflex'), you can offer them the breast. For some this just involves placing them close to the nipple and allowing them to seek it out and attach themselves. For others you may need to position them (and yourself) to help them to latch.

Usually sitting up is the easiest position to latch for the first feed. If you have had a Caesarean and prefer to lie on your side, ask your caregiver to help, as it can be difficult to see what you are doing and manoeuvre with an intravenous drips etc. (Feeding lying down tends to be easier when the baby is very used to latching (after a week or two).

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