Barring any birth complications, a new mom should initiate breastfeeding with her newborn right after birth or at least within an hour after the baby’s delivery. Make sure you discuss it with your doctor and include that in your birth plan.Studies have shown that newborns who were not breastfed within an hour may have a hard time latching, sucking, and swallowing
“Skin-to-skin contact allows the baby to regulate their temperature, allows the baby to regulate breathing and such also encourages healthy breastfeeding behavior,” explains mom and doula Noelle Pollack of the Pinay Doulas Collective. Ideally, your newborn should be on your chest until he latches on your breast and finishes his first feeding.
Babies develop the rooting and sucking reflex in the womb at around Week 28 to Week 30. When they’re born, they will seek their mother’s breast for warmth and to feed. This helps your baby receive the crucial first milk called colostrum, a very sticky and thick substance that contains antibodies and nutrients your baby needs.
Colostrum is produced by a woman’s body while she’s pregnant, and it is expressed through the breast as soon as the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, Pollack explained. If breast milk is liquid gold, colostrum is like a potent concentrate of breast milk. It would be enough for your baby; you don’t need to produce a lot of milk in the first few days after birth.
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On our baby’s first day out of your womb, expect to latch and feed him every hour or two. A newborn has a stomach capacity of a calamansi, which is about less than 1.4 teaspoons of breast milk. Because of this, they feel full right away and also get hungry again right away.
PH law dictates that babies should be roomed-in with their mom as soon as possible after birth, so the mother can feed baby on demand. It means you need to feed your baby whenever he’s hungry. You’ll know when your baby needs to feed by being aware of his hunger cues. “When the baby is stirring, putting his or her hand to the mouth, making a suckling effect, then offer the breast,” Pollack said.
So, on the first day of your baby’s life, you can expect to breastfeed anywhere from 12 to 24 times — it really depends on how often your baby gets hungry. Typically, newborns feed every hour or two for the first few weeks.
Breastfeeding a newborn can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time, but you and your baby will get the hang of it soon. The more you latch, the more milk you get, and the faster you can establish breastfeeding and settle into a routine.
For more tips on newborn breastfeeding, click here.