Breastfeeding On Day 1: What You Need to Know
2 of the most important elements of your 1st day
You have just experienced the non-medicated birth of your healthy baby and all the people around you are supportive of your breastfeeding goals.
1. Keeping your baby skin-to-skin. What does this really mean?
Your just-born baby has been placed on your abdomen/chest, his hands extended in front of him, his belly skin on yours. You will keep him with you, hugging him to your body, keeping him warm and secure. He will seek out your nipple, he can smell the familiar scent on his hands in front of him and he can see your darkened areola. Whether you allow him to creep there at his own or place him directly on your breast, he will get there. He will raise and lower his head, bobbing for something to latch onto that smells so good to him. Nourishment; your thick and rich colostrum. This is his perfect first food. You know that expressing some onto your nipples and breast will encourage him to latch.
2. 24-hour rooming in. What does this mean?
There is no need for him to go to a “nursery.” You are his nursery. You have everything you need in this moment to sustain your newborn completely. If you are in a hospital you will have to stand your ground (hard to do when you’re lying down) for non-separation from birth through to your postpartum room.
Your postpartum room, your bedroom at home, wherever you are after the birth of your baby – this is your nursery. You are available to him 24 hours a day. You have learned that you will have to try different positions to find an optimal breastfeeding set-up. You know, from reading my previous articles here on Mommy Knows Best, about supporting him from head to toe, aligning him straight, the feeling of your body pressure on his belly, chest and upturned chin that’ll get him to open his mouth and offering your whole breast, not just the nipple. By keeping him close to you, you will be offering him feeding cues. By keeping him close to you, you will see his hunger cues and become a breastfeeding team, speaking each other’s language, bonding. Don’t give him away, especially now.
A lactation consultant’s visit, hopefully in the first 24 hours, will ensure a proper latch, which is critical in avoiding nipple pain from repeated attempts using a latch that is too shallow. If you have stinging...it’s too shallow.
Breastfeeding is between you and your newborn. You happily accept scientific advice from breastfeeding educators. You know he will want to try to latch, suck and swallow and you will do everything you can to get him to do so. Your breast should be offered to him as often as he is awake and alert enough to be stimulated by your skin, scent, colostrum and voice. If he is deeply asleep, this is your time to rest, with him safely beside you.
It’s pretty simple... on Day 1.