Within the first hour after birth, your baby will be ready to be fed. Your breasts produce his first food, a special substance called colostrum. It's a yellowish-orange fluid full of protein and immunity boosting antibodies. A few days after birth your breast milk will come in.
Your body was made for breastfeeding, and your baby was made to nurse, but that doesn't mean you won't need a little help to get started. While you're still in the hospital, someone should help you put your baby to your breast as soon as possible, help your baby latch onto your nipple, and show you how to tell when he's nursing correctly. Ideally, breastfeeding right after delivery helps get things started.
If you still need help after you go home, ask the staff at the hospital whether they can recommend any resources. Lactation services, the hospital itself, and healthcare offices are good sources of help. Everyone needs some help, and even very experienced moms will encounter special issues.
"Nursing is a different experience for every mom and baby. It was more challenging than I thought, but I stuck with it, listened to advice from other moms and nurses, and eventually got into a groove that worked for both of us."
Karen, Mom of Dominic, 2 months
Mom-to-Mom Nursing Tips
- A good latch is key. Wait until your baby's mouth is open wide and then help her latch.
- The areola should be in the baby's mouth.
- The squeezing action on the areola is what releases the milk.
- If it doesn't feel right, use your finger to break the suction and try again.
Click here for more tips and information about breastfeeding.