Font Size

Breastfeeding (cont.)

First Breastfeeding

Do your homework on the hospital policies on infant care and feeding. Look for Baby Friendly accreditation of the associated maternity hospital. Research indicates that women who do not receive training and/or assistance with breastfeeding while in the hospital have more than two times greater odds of not initiating breastfeeding.

  • Within a few minutes after birth, most babies can be introduced to breastfeeding. Relax. Most babies take a few licks, sucks, and pause. Sucking in frequent bursts and pauses is the usual pattern for the first few hours and sometimes even the first few days. The first milk the mother produces, colostrum, is the best food.
  • Breastfeeding also helps the uterus contract, which helps stop uterine bleeding.
  • Try to room-in with your baby. When you see your baby begin to open its eyes, look around, and put his or her fist into his or her mouth, then it is time to offer your breast.
    • Try to make the nurses understand that you wish to breastfeed and that your baby should not be given sugar water or formula without you and your health-care provider being aware and consenting.
    • You may need to have the nurses actually put a sign on your baby's bed restricting bottle-feeding.
    • Pacifier use does not impact breastfeeding success and does not decrease the duration of breastfeeding after breastfeeding has been established.
    • Breastfeeding should begin within one hour of birth.
    • Breastfeed on demand as often as the child wants.
    • Try latching the baby on at the first signs of hunger. Do not wait until the baby cries, or you will teach the baby to cry to get your attention. The baby will get upset more quickly the longer you take to respond.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/16/2016
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Breastfeeding

Amenorrhea Amenorrhea, the absence of menstrual ble...learn more >>
Breast Lumps and Pain
Breast Lumps and Pain Breast changes are common. From the time a girl b...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding - Prepare for Breastfeeding

How did you prepare for breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding - Positioning and Latch-on Skills

Did your baby have trouble latching on for breastfeeding? What did you do to improve feeding?

Breastfeeding - Home and Medical Care

Did you experience complications from breastfeeding? What treatment did you use to remedy the situation?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Counseling the Breastfeeding Mother »

In the time before managed care and "drive-through" deliveries, the vast majority of newborns remained in the hospital for several days after birth.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary