Having a baby, whether it’s your first one or not, can be exhausting or confusing on what to do. These tips will help you to get a good idea of what to do once you give birth or leave the hospital:
Getting off to a good start
- Begin nursing as soon as possible after delivery, ideally within the first hour.
- Nurse your baby “on cue” whenever baby is interested.
- Alternate your starting side. Let baby nurse as long as he is interested before changing sides.
- Keep your baby with you (“rooming in”) when possible.
- Do not use bottles or pacifiers until breastfeeding is well established (3-4 weeks) unless medically indicated.
- Keep a breastfeeding log of feedings, wets and stools
- Trust your instincts! Every mother and father parent differently. You will get to know your baby’s cues and respond more naturally to your baby with practice.
- Your baby may want to cluster feed sometimes (4-8 feedings within a few hours) and then sleep for awhile. Try to rest when your baby rests.
Skin to skin & rooming in
After birth, full term healthy babies are placed diaper-only on mother’s bare chest and then covered with blankets. This is called “skin to skin” and this practice has many benefits for infants:
- Infants adjust more quickly to their environment.
- Infants have more stable blood sugars and decreased levels of stress hormones.
- Babies are warmer.
- Babies have a natural instinct to attach to breast.
For mothers, skin to skin helps:
- Placental separation.
- Prevent uterine bleeding.
- Increase bonding with infant.
- Produce greater amounts of milk.
Infant’s crave skin to skin time. We recommend doing skin to skin often in the first few days and weeks of life. If your baby has not shown feeding cues after a few hours, try placing him skin to skin on your chest to help arouse him for feeding. Mothers are encouraged to room in with their infants 24-hours a day; the benefits are:
- Babies cry less.
- More likely to breastfeed exclusively.
- Less risk of jaundice.
- Mother’s have increased milk production.
- Stronger mother/infant attachment.
- Mother’s learn to respond more quickly to their infants.
Stay tuned for more Nourishing Notes and lactation tips!