Timely Initiation of Breastfeeding
Benefits of breastfeeding at birth
- Stimulating the production of breast milk and helping prevent engorgement.
- Promoting skin-to-skin contact and enhancing bonding between mother and baby.
- Helping the uterus contract and reducing postpartum bleeding.
- Protecting the baby from infections and allergies by providing colostrum, the first milk that contains antibodies and other protective factors.
- Supporting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, which is recommended by WHO and UNICEF for optimal growth, development and health of infants.
- Reducing the risk of newborn death by up to 22%.
Preparing for Breastfeeding at birth
How to initiate Breastfeeding right after birth
Overcoming Common Challenges in Breastfeeding Initiation
Breastfeeding in the first few days
The first few days of breastfeeding experience are a critical component of a successful breastfeeding journey. Usually hospitals have nurses and lactation consultants that are available to offer guidance and assistance making it a perfect time for new mothers to learn about latching, positioning, and milk production. The first couple of days of breastfeeding in the hospital allows mothers to learn some basics of breastfeeding in a hands-on manner and establish their milk supply.
Take advantage of the resources available in the hospital to help you start your breastfeeding journey.
- Identify a lactation coach at the hospital that you could seek help/advice from
- Ensure your baby sleeps in the same room as you
- Breastfeed your baby on demand, whenever they show signs of hunger or interest in feeding. This may be as often as every hour in the first few days. Remember, babies have small stomachs and need to feed frequently. Putting your baby to the breast every few hours will also stimulate milk production and help you build your milk supply.
- Avoid giving any other foods or liquids to your baby during this time, including water, formula or pacifiers. Supplementation can interfere with the natural process of breastfeeding. Inform the hospital that you wish to breastfeed exclusively, no supplements unless necessary and that you wish to avoid using soothers.
- Use a breast pump if you are unable to breastfeed your baby directly.
- Monitor your baby’s feeding patterns and output (wet diapers and stools) to ensure they are getting enough milk. By day five your baby should have at least six wet diapers and three yellow stools per day. You could track this in an app, on your phone or in a diary.
- Seek help from the lactation coach if you need guidance on how to position and latch your baby onto your breast or if you have any concerns about your milk supply or your baby’s weight gain.
- Learn the techniques of breast massage, this will help avoid engorgement. Learn about the various breastfeeding positions and basic breastfeeding techniques. Getting these basics right can go a long way in establishing breastfeeding.
In this video, you will learn about 5 tips for successful Breastfeeding: