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Just-born Breastfeeding

I will take us through the first month of your breastfeeding journey with some thought provoking right and wrong answers.

  1. You’ve just given birth to your baby. Your best efforts toward getting your baby to suck and swallow colostrum from your breast in the 1st hour, whether in the birthing room, delivery room or recovery room should begin with:

      a. keeping your just-born baby skin to skin against your body as he comes out of your vagina, first on your abdomen, then using your two hands, slowly moving him up to your breasts. After c-section, holding him to your body as soon as possible.

     b. allowing the nursing staff to take your baby to the nursery, after showing him to you, to be bathed, weighed and measured.

       c. allowing the nursing staff to put your healthy newborn under the warmer immediately after his vaginal birth to band him, footprint him and get his paperwork started.

2. To get your sleepy just-born baby interested in your breasts in the next 4 hours you should:

       a. keep him wrapped up all nice and tight and warm, sleeping in his crib beside you, until he cries that he is hungry.

       b. put your baby‘s closed mouth against your nipple and jiggle him. If he doesn’t open and suck, try again in an hour.

       c.keep him close to your breasts, express some colostrum and spread it on your nipples and areolae. Put some on his lips every 5 minutes or so, by rubbing your nipple directly on his lips using an up and down stroking motion. Watch for his feeding cues.

3. What are the cues that tell me this is time to offer him my breasts for feeding?

       a. early non-verbal cues might include opening his eyes, waving his hands, followed by opening mouth and tongue movements.

         b. a smart phone timer set to ring every 30 minutes.

         c. whimpering followed by robust crying.

4. In order to get your just-born to open wide and take breast tissue into his mouth and not just the nipple you should:

         a. use a bottle nipple, gently push it into his mouth and let him suck on it for 1 minute. Quickly remove it and put him to your own nipple.

         b. Push him onto your breast when he is crying and his mouth is opened.

        c. elicit a large opened mouth by stroking downward on his lips, with your nipple. He will likely drop his jaw and tongue after a few attempts.

5. My just-born’s first feeding attempt will likely consist of:

      a. 4 or 5 licks, followed by a shallow, slightly painful latch-on and a suck-swallow cycle or 2, and the recognition that a lactation consult’s guidance is needed today.

         b. a big opened mouth and deep latch-on with sucking and swallowing for 5 uninterrupted minutes.

         c. after a failed trial feeding at breast... the bottle of formula left in his crib by the nursery staff.

ANSWERS: 1-a, 2-c, 3-a, 4-c, 5-a

Your just-born baby’s first few hours, learning you...learning the world...are the precious beginning moments of his life with you.  Keep him with you 24 hours a day, offer him your breast as a feeding cue and he will, in return, offer his cues that he is ready. The newborn nursery is no place for a breastfed just-born.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

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