How to begin breastfeeding

To ensure the best possible start for you and your baby, you should begin nursing as soon as possible after the birth and nurse your baby often.

Begin nursing as soon as possible after the birth. The best time to start is within the first hour. The idea is to imprint the baby with your breast while she is alert and responsive. Your baby is more likely to respond to her natural instinct to suckle if you have had little or no medication in labor and if she has access to your breast before she undergoes the customary procedures of weighing, identification and so on. You may need to ask for this breastfeeding opportunity specifically.

Cesarean mothers should nurse their babies in the recovery room, if possible. The first attempts may be more comfortable if mother and baby lie on their sides, facing each other. When you can sit up, use the football hold to relieve pressure on your abdomen. Use two pillows, at your side and across your abdomen.

Nurse your baby often. It is not unusual for a newborn to sleep a great deal the first 24 to 36 hours after birth, especially if the mother was medicated or had a difficult birth. During the first few days, you may need to initiate feedings every two to three hours; your goal should be to nurse at least eight to 12 times in 24 hours.

Look for signs that the baby is sleeping lightly and is arousable for feedings. Early feeding cues include slight eye movements even when they are closed, lip-smacking sounds and arm and leg movements.

Crying is a late sign of feeding readiness. Remove blankets and gently rub or stroke your baby to arouse her.

FILED UNDER:
Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow http://t.co/wfewf

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web