When thinking about birth option, mothers often fail to take into account the impact of birth on the initiation and establishment of the breastfeeding relationship. In this video I talk about that impact, and offer suggestions for mothers who want to get off to the best possible start.
Several key points to remember include the following:
- Research shows that babies born in an unmedicated birth tend to latch better right after birth than babies born to mothers with epidurals.
- Regardless of birth method, the single most important factor is skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
- It has been suggested that frequent feeding during the first 96 hours of life help to create prolactin receptors on your milk glands increasing the total amount of milk your body will ultimately produce. It isn't unusual for a newborn to nurse as many as 18 times a day in the early days. Let your baby nurse as frequently as he wants to.
- If you have a Cesarean, push for skin-to-skin in the operating room. If your hospital does not allow it, provide evidence for its efficacy and push. (the article referenced above includes several studies). The more mothers who push for it, the more quickly it will become accepted as routine practice.
- Make sure your care team is aware of your breastfeeding plan. As long as you and baby are both healthy, there is absolutely no reason for you to be separated at all. The AAP recommends that the newborn remain with mother throughout the recovery period.