Immediately after birth

Congratulations! You did it! Your baby is here. There are a few things you can do right away, to get motherhood off to a great start.

1. Hold baby skin-to-skin immediately

The benefits of holding your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth are tremendous:

  • Makes it easier for baby to latch on and latch on well.
  • Lets baby maintain body temperature better even than in an incubator.
  • Helps baby maintain normal heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.
  • Gives baby good (higher) blood sugar levels.
  • Baby is happier and less likely to cry.
  • Baby is more likely to breastfeed exclusively and breastfeed longer.
  • Baby can better tell mother when it is ready to feed.
  • Baby is less likely to develop allergies because he gets the same bacteria from you.

How to initiate Skin-to-Skin:

  1. Immediately or within minutes of birth, have the doctor or midwife place baby naked, wearing only a diaper and hat, on your bare chest so that you are nestled chest to chest.
  2. Turn baby’s face to the side in a position that opens baby’s airway.
  3. Place blanket over the baby.
  4. Make sure you are comfortable as well; ask for pillows or adjust the bed so you are at a gentle recline (not lying flat or sitting up straight).
  5. Allow baby to stay snuggled for at least one hour immediately after birth.
  6. Continue to practice skin-to-skin for at least three months. It’s a great idea for fathers to do skin-to-skin as well.

2. Breastfeed within one hour of birth

Try and breastfeed your baby within one hour of birth because this will:

  • Help your uterus contract, which speeds up delivery of the placenta and reduces bleeding and the risk of post-partum hemorrhage.
  • Help immediate bonding with baby due to release of hormones (oxytocin).
  • Stimulate the production of milk.
  • Make breastfeeding more successful; extensive studies have shown that it leads to a longer and more successful experience with breastfeeding.
  • Decrease tension and stress for baby and mom due to release of hormones.

How to initiate Breastfeeding:

  1. Lay your baby skin-to-skin as directed above (if possible). Research has shown that many babies immediately placed skin-to-skin after birth will latch on and start breastfeeding all by themselves.
  2. Turn your baby's whole body toward you, chest to chest.
  3. Touch her upper lip with your nipple, and, when she opens her mouth wide, pull her onto your breast, holding your breast for support. Her mouth should cover not just the nipple but as much of the areola (the darker part surrounding it) as possible.
  4. Don't worry if your baby has trouble breastfeeding. It requires patience and lots of practice. Ask a nurse or friend with breastfeeding experience for help. You can also call one of our breastfeeding experts for free advice anytime.
  5. Breastfeeding should not be painful. If it is, try fixing the latch that you have as best you can by pushing the baby’s bottom into your body with your forearm. This will tip the baby’s head back so her nose is in ‘sniffing position’. If necessary, try gently pulling down the baby’s chin and/or bottom lip so he has more of the areola in her mouth.


Category: After birth (post partum)

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