Breastfeeding Your Newborn in the Hospital

Everyone told you what labor would be like, but not one person was right. That is because each labor is different from the next. The key characteristics, though, are generally feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. As soon as your beautiful baby enters the world, she is probably ready for her first drops of colostrum. Breastfeeding immediately, while extremely beneficial, can also be incredibly difficult. Surprisingly, there are still doctors who offer poor advice to maintain a breastfeeding relationship. This is simply because they are not specialized in breastfeeding and do not spend time researching it. If you want to, and are able, to breastfeed your newborn, follow some of these tips to help ensure a successful nursing relationship.

Immediately After Birth

Whether you delivered via c-section or vaginally, immediately after birth skin-to-skin time is highly recommended. This encourages bonding between the newborn and mother while also helping to bring your milk down. Ideally, your baby will nurse within the first 30 minutes to 1 hour after birth. Her first shots, being weighed, etc, can occur after this time.

In terms of breastfeeding, skin-to-skin encourages the breast crawl. This is the most natural hold for your baby to begin nursing. Many mothers are led to believe that positions like the football hold are the best. In fact, though, the breast crawl allows your baby to find your breast by yourself. It allows

  • Baby to rest head between breasts
  • Baby moves head and ‘crawls’ up to the breast
  • Baby to choose breast and place it in her mouth

Even as a fresh newborn, your baby can actually move enough to find the boob when she is hungry if she is close enough. It allows you to give her milk without shoving it in her face. Other holds, of course are necessary and helpful throughout the course of your breastfeeding experience.

In Recovery

Momma’s, your nipples have never been so sore. It feels like the worst sunburn and gets worse each time your baby nurses. While uncomfortable, it is completely normal. Nursing is a physical sensation that your body has to get used to – similar to a callus on a finger. Pack some Soothies in your hospital bag that you can slap on between feedings. These are cool gels that can be peeled off, without washing, before feeding and placed back on afterward.

Your baby starts nursing with colostrum until your milk is fully established. If you are lucky, your baby wakes to nurse every one to two hours. This is because the milk takes only 90 minutes at most to fully digest. Other babies want to nurse every 15 minutes. Others never ask to nurse and you need to force them. Recently, a doctor was overhead telling a Momma with a five day old that it was okay to nurse her only every six hours. That is not okay. No matter what temperament your baby has, she is ideally fed on demand and every two hours at most. This allows her to

  • Establish your milk supply
  • Bond
  • Rid her body of the meconium

There is no question that breastfeeding a newborn is exhausting. With every nursing, more than likely there is a diaper change as well. Many Momma’s start to feel like nothing more than a dairy cow. Just remember, this passes. As you recover mentally and physically from pregnancy and labor, these moments nursing because shared memories with smiles, giggles, and many milk comas.