Early initiation of breastfeeding is important for successful breastfeeding. You will usually be able to have skin to skin contact soon after birth. Most babies are alert and start to suck immediately.
When your baby feeds, the nipple and areola are taken into the baby’s mouth. With suckling hormones stimulate the glands to let-down milk, baby will feed in bursts, pause and start again. Letting your baby finish the first breast and come off spontaneously helps your supply to establish in the early days. During the first days of feeding, you may feel some contractions in your abdomen as the baby feeds. The usually mild discomfort signals the release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size.
Breast size does not have an effect on the amount of milk or the quality of milk a woman produces. Milk is made entirely according to a system of supply and demand. The amount of milk which baby drinks one day will affect the amount of milk made the next.
How you position yourself, how you hold your baby, and how you offer your breast all affect how baby latches on. This will determine how comfortable you and your baby will be during breastfeeding. Choose a comfortable well supported sitting or lying position to avoid getting a stiff back, shoulder or neck muscles, or cracked nipples from the baby poorly latching on to the breast.
Once your baby has taken the breast well into his mouth and has established a good feeding rhythm, you can let go of your breast.
Having baby correctly attached to the breast is very important for successful breastfeeding.
Feeding may be uncomfortable for the first few seconds after your baby first attaches as the nipple is pulled into the back of the baby’s mouth. However, if that continues to be painful it may be that baby’s position is not quite right. Take your baby off the breast by putting a finger in the corner of her mouth to release the suction and try again.
Signs to watch for when feeding
It is important at this time not to give artificial milk.