Significance of Breastfeeding Newborn Babies as Soon as Possible After Birth
One of the most valuable gifts a mother can give her baby is breastfeeding. Choosing to breastfeed provides many lifelong advantages and benefits to both mom and baby, but one of the best is the way that you and your baby get to know one another.
Breastfeeding helps strengthen and form a bond between you and your baby that comes from you providing comfort, security, and warmth. It is invaluable.
Breastfeeding your baby is a learned art, it is not something you immediately know how to do, or your baby is born knowing how to do. It takes time and patience in learning before feeling completely confident. Be kind to yourself and try to limit your activities while you and baby are learning to breastfeed. Always feel comfortable to ask for help and support to make breastfeeding a success.
As you are breastfeeding your infant, many questions and situations may develop regarding yourself, your infant, your milk or your breasts. We have provided answers to these expected questions and concerns to help improve your success in breastfeeding your baby.
After your baby is born, you are the only thing your baby needs for the first 24 hours of life. You offer love, comfort and warmth, and provide the colostrum, the early breast milk, that your baby needs to adjust to life outside the womb.
Immediate and frequent breastfeeding as soon as possible after your baby is born will help you and your baby in many ways. The information found in this section will describe many of the benefits for early breastfeeding moms and babies.
- Breastfeeding your baby at birth is best because this is when you and your baby are most alert.
- Your baby’s sucking reflex is strongest during the first two hours of life making breastfeeding right after birth ideal.
- Breastfeeding your baby at birth helps guarantee success in breastfeeding and imprint your baby’s sucking reflex.
- Instant satisfaction is associated with this sucking reflex and helps to make future breastfeeding experiences easier for you and your baby.
- Immediate breastfeeding improves the health of your baby by protection from infection by providing nourishment and protection through antibodies present in the colostrum-your early breast milk!
- Immediate breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact help your baby adjust more quickly and easily to life outside the womb.
- Breastfed babies at birth cry less and have more stable blood sugar levels.
- Immediate breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact also help your baby reach and maintain a healthy body temperature.
- Vernix present on your baby’s skin and yours from birth helps your baby recognize your smell and stimulate to breastfeed.
- Early initiation of breastfeeding helps lengthen the amount of time that you breastfeed in regard to weeks and months, possibly years!
- Breastfeeding at birth strengthens attachment and bonding between you and your baby.
- The scent of your baby’s vernix left on your skin at birth stimulates your body to release oxytocin which is the hormone of love, bonding and milk release that will help in your success breastfeeding.
- The result of your baby breastfeeding at birth helps to release maternal oxytocin which stimulates contractions of your uterus, thus resulting in delivery of your placenta. The stimulation of oxytocin release helps decrease your blood loss after giving birth.
- Early breastfeeding helps you recognize your baby’s signs of rooting and mouthing to breastfeed.
- Early and often breastfeeding helps decrease breast engorgement.
- Breastfeeding often and early help milk to come in sooner and helps your body make more milk.
- Early and frequent breastfeeding help decrease the amount of weight your baby loses after birth.
- Early and frequent breastfeeding helps your baby to poop sooner and more often, lowering baby’s risk of developing jaundice.
These are just the beginning of the many reasons to begin breastfeeding as soon as mom and baby are able. The advantages are endless.
We understand there are circumstances that may interfere with the choice or the ability to breastfeed. Therefore, discuss the healthy alternatives with your midwives at Women’s Excellence in Midwifery for more information about these alternatives to breastfeeding newborn babies.