Breastfeeding the very first time

Straight after birth, the newborn baby tends to be awake and alert for about two hours, which is when the baby breastfeeds for the first time.

Ingela Ågren

2 min read

Ingela Ågren

Breastfeeding the very first timePhoto:Preggers

During these hours the newborn will benefit from uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with the mother. The baby will soon try to find the nipple and start making sucking motions. They may move their hand to their mouth and start sucking it, they may make motions with their mouth and tongue and crawl toward the breast. This is called the rooting reflex. Many babies who are left on their mother’s chest will find their way to the nipple on their own if they are allowed to take their time. Sometimes the baby needs a little help to get close to the nipple, where he/she may lay for a while to get comfortable until the baby latches on.

It may take time for the first breastfeeding to start and it is different for every child. You need to be patient and some babies can be too tired and thus need more time. Once the baby has latched on, let he/she suck as long as he/she wants. If the baby doesn’t want or is unable to breastfeed straight after delivery, you should still keep the child skin-to-skin and wait for signals from the baby that it is ready to suck. If for some reason, the mother is unable to have the baby skin-to-skin then the partner or a close relative or friend can hold the baby against their skin.

Allowing a baby to lie skin-to-skin during the first few hours after being born, means the baby keeps warm better, cries less, has more stable blood sugar levels, etc. It also makes it much easier for the parents to observe any signals the child shows of wanting to breastfeed, rather than if they lay in a cot.

Ingela Ågren

Ingela Ågren

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