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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

The Importance of Breastfeeding Immediately After Birth

The Importance of Breastfeeding Immediately After Birth    l #birth #breastfeeding

We all know the importance of breastfeeding because breast milk is the best nutritional option for your baby, if at all possible. But did you know that breastfeeding can play a vital role in mother and child bonding during the first hour of life?

Giving birth is such a beautiful, life changing experience. Even through the difficulties, even if it’s really hard or traumatic, when all is said and done you are handed this precious little bundle of baby that makes it all worthwhile. Then all you want to do is hold your little one and get those first few minutes of bonding in.

It is typical in hospital births, however, for the baby to be whisked off for various tests or to be cleaned up if the mother doesn’t express (sometimes adamantly) that she wants those first few moments with her baby.

The first hour after a baby is born is often referred to as the “power hour.” Why? Because it is within that hour that skin-to-skin contact and nursing can have great benefits for the mother/baby relationship. A newborn baby can even instinctively crawl on its own towards mother’s breast if the circumstances are right (unmedicated birth, skin-to-skin contact, etc). This is called the “breast crawl.”

Benefits of Immediate Breastfeeding

There are several reasons that emphasize the importance of breastfeeding immediately after birth. These reasons will benefit both the mother and the baby.

  • Skin-to-skin contact results in babies that are more likely to latch on correctly.
  • Baby is more alert during this time, which makes establishing the breastfeeding relationship easier.
  • Nursing helps release oxytocin in the mother which aids in uterine contraction.
  • Sucking is a calming activity for babies.
  • Baby stays warm, using mother’s body heat to help regulate its own.
  • It helps your milk come in faster.
  • It boosts baby’s immune system.
  • It is said that immediate breastfeeding leads to longer nursing relationships.

I learned the importance of breastfeeding immediately after birth through personal experience.  When my first child was born, they carted her off just a few minutes after she was born and promised to be back “in a few minutes.” Nearly two hours had passed before they brought her back to me and we had latching issues that resulted in the use of a nipple shield for several weeks. With my other three children, I held them skin-to-skin immediately after birth and nursed them within 20-30 minutes and did not have one single issue when it came to our breastfeeding relationship.

Of course there are circumstances that may cause this to be difficult or impossible. If this happens to you, don’t worry. You can still have a great breastfeeding bonding experience with your child. Skin-to-skin contact can help cement your bond, no matter when it is performed after birth. You don’t need to rush or supplement first thing. Babies aren’t actually hungry until several hours after birth. If you have trouble, find a lactation consultant who can help give you the support you need.

Did you breastfeed immediately after the birth of your child?

Dusty is a stay at home, homeschooling mother of four and has been married to the love of her life,  a Southern gentleman, for 8 years.  She is trying to find her own path in this great wide world while devouring chocolate and leaning on the Lord.  She blogs about homeschooling, homemaking, motherhood and faith at To the Moon and Back.


  1. I couldn’t agree more! With my first I held him for just a few minutes before they took him away for all the tests and such. We struggled with breastfeeding. With my second I held him on my chest and breastfed him for over an hour as soon as he was born. He breastfed with absolutely no problems or difficulties! It was amazing!

    • Dusty Shell says

      It truly is amazing! The natural instincts in the first moments are remarkable. Your story is very similar to my own!

  2. Beautiful post Dusty. Yes, if you want to breastfeed, it’s important to find a certified lactation consultant. Actually, I recommend that the lactation should be searched out prior to birth. This would be true whether or not you are giving birth in a hospital. I have never given birth in a hospital but have heard mixed stories about hospital lacatation consultants. I have used a number of lactation consultants in this area (MD, DC, VA) and can testify that they are very good – and many are associated with the hospital, but it’s not always true. I think it’s a worthwhile investment to meet with one at least 1 time prior to birth – so then a relationship can be established. If you have phone number on hand on the day of the birth, you can always give a call to see if she can meet you at the hospital. Perhaps your husband or partner can call her during labor just as a heads up.

    It’s so helpful from the start having the support. Your LC can diagnose problems like tongue ties, etc that can be taken care of from the beginning – before problems start. There are some problems which can be nipped in the bud right away.

    Personally, with my 3rd homebirth, my midwife told me that my son had a tongue tie which I took care of the next day.

    • Dusty Shell says

      Great advice! I only used a lactation consultant with my first child and she was one that worked in the hospital. I don’t have anyone to compare her to, but she did seem to be rushed and slightly impatient. If I had known that I could contact someone during pregnancy, that would have been a great help to me then.

  3. I would love to see some breast feeding advice for moms who will have a c section.

    The lactation consultant I had with my first two girls was amazing. She offered a class once a month, I learned a crazy amount of information, and she was through the hospital. I met with her after birth and she spent as long as I needed her to with me and even called after I was home to make sure we were still fine. I think that it depends on the consultant not if they are from a hospital or not.

  4. No, I didn’t nurse until a few hours after my c-section. However, we did just fine and my son nursed until his third birthday.

  5. Janine Cox says

    While I am not a mother, i find the art of breastfeeding to be a fascinating and beautiful thing that a mother can do for her child. during biblical times, there was no formula, bottles, or any of the other stuff. it was just the breast just like GOD intended. any one that can take the time to learn how to breast deed should be applauded and not be made ashamed because of the natural act itself.


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