1. Skin-to-skin contact. This means that you’ll want to make sure your doctor and nurses know you want to hold your baby skin-to-skin as soon as he is born. Like right when he comes out you’ll want that baby snuggled up on your bare skin. There is TONS of research on why this is best but the basics are: your skin temperature will rise to naturally warm your baby, it helps baby regulate his heart rate, and it promotes breastfeeding. My mom told me there are even studies where a newborn baby is placed on the mother’s chest and without any prompting that baby will find it’s way to the breast and start feeding ALL ON IT’S OWN. God knew what he was doing.
So….now it’s time to breastfeed. If you are anything like me you have built this moment up in your mind to be awkward and scary. It’s not….well maybe it is, a little. After all you’ve been through (birth!) this is the easy part….bonding with your baby. Have your nurse show you what to do. Stick that baby on the boob and let him take the lead. As you can see I was almost flat on my back during my first attempt (because I just got out of surgery) so my husband had to help me. Luckily Hudson was awesome and went to town right away. I’m not gonna lie…it felt a little….strange. But it wasn’t totally awful.
Tips for successful breastfeeding in the hospital:
Now, with all that said, remember that the things mentioned above are all meant to promote breastfeeding. Birth can be unpredictable so if something happens and you are not able to do these things it does not mean that you can’t breastfeed your baby. They are meant to be ideal situations for starting breastfeeding.
There is no way to avoid this freak-out other than to surround yourself with rational people who will support you and remind you that THIS IS NORMAL. Make sure your mom, husband, friends….someone knows something about breastfeeding so that they can reassure you when you feel this way. Also, this is an excellent time to request a visit from a lactation consultant. They will come to your room, help you with your latch, watch you feed the baby, and answer your questions. Please please please take advantage of this service ladies!!!!
It takes a few days for your milk to come in. So don’t freak out. I had Hudson on a Wednesday and my milk didn’t fully come in until Saturday. That’s 3 days!!! And that is totally normal. Once I saw that milk I cried because I was so relieved! So trust me….it will work. Sometimes it felt like I had Hudson on the boob all the time….but putting your baby to your breast is what tells your body to start making milk. So, when in doubt, try again. And again. Eventually you and your baby will get it. The important part is that you keep attempting breastfeeding. Try not to worry about your latch and how much your baby is eating and instead focus on bonding with your new little one. It is the most precious experience of my life.
Breastfeeding a newborn baby is hard…but it gets easier! If you are struggling please see a lactation consultant asap.
Thanks for reading! Next week in part 3 of this series I’ll discuss getting breastfeeding well established and part 4 will be about pumping and going back to work. So stay tuned!