How to Breastfeed a Newborn in the First Week After Birth

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby and for making the choice to breastfeed your baby to give him a healthy start in life. Nursing can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience and it benefits your baby as soon as he is born.

It’s helpful to know what to expect during the first week of breastfeeding, but even with some advice, this time will be spent learning and discovering just what works for you and your newborn.

Breastfeed your newborn within 30 minutes after giving birth, if possible. This isn’t always an option if your baby needs medical attention or if you have to have a cesarean birth. Your newborn’s sucking reflex peaks within 20 to 30 minutes following his birth, according to La Leche League International. If this opportunity for nursing your baby is missed, his sucking reflex may be weaker for the next day.

Give your baby the opportunity to suckle your breast for that first hour after you welcome him into the world for the best start. Before your milk starts to come in, you’ll be able to provide your baby with what is often referred to as “liquid gold.” Colostrum is the liquid that precedes your milk and it’s filled with all the fluid and nutrients your newborn needs during her first few days, notes HealthyChildren.org. It’s high in protein and low in carbs and fat, and is gentle on your baby’s tummy.

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