Establishing The Relationship

The best time to breastfeed your baby for the first time is within half an hour so of birth.

when to breastfeed for the first time

That said, don't expect your little one to be hungry the moment she emerges from the birth canal -- give her a little time to recover and acclimate to the new surroundings. After 20 to 30 minutes, she'll probably be very alert and ready to nurse -- and may even start rooting around looking for the nipple! (If baby is going to be taken away to be washed and examined, ask if she can stay in the room with you instead. Really, they can give her a bath any time -- getting breastfeeding off to a good start is a lot more important.) If you haven't breastfed before, we highly recommend getting some positioning help from a lactation consultant, nurse or a good friend. Even "experienced" mamas can neglect to get a new baby latched on right... which generally leads to blood and pain in very un-fun places. Don't rush, get the help you need, and take your cues from the baby. Remember: she's born ready to suckle, and your body has been prepping you for the task for months, but that doesn't mean putting the two of you together will be completely instinctive the first few times. We have a lot of information on the site about nursing your baby -- see the breastfeeding article index right here.

Here are a few specific article recommendations:

Breastfeeding and bonding: Building a relationship
Breastfeeding: Is prep work needed?
Breastfeeding baby steps: 12 ways to get ready before your baby comes
Breastfeeding after cesarean
Help! I'm afraid to try breastfeeding


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