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When to Begin Breastfeeding? The First 6 Hours

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When to begin breastfeeding? It’s important to start within the first six hours after birth.

The importance of breastfeeding within the first six hours is found within the top four benefits to mom and baby.

Welcome to the “Power Hours”!

Oxytocin:  Your baby is born and placed upon your chest, you take mental pictures of your baby’s 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes and real photos too. You say your first “hello” and then offer your breast to your baby. You gift your baby the best start to life they can receive and help release oxytocin within your body too. Oxytocin helps your uterus to continue to contract and funnels breast milk into your milk ducts for successful breastfeeding to commence!

Colostrum:  Colostrum is the first breast milk your baby will receive and it’s vitally important! It helps provide your baby with protection from infections and helps to boost their immunity system. Colostrum is a “superfood” for newborns!

Comfort:  Birth isn’t easy for mom or baby. But when your baby latches onto your breast you’ll find it brings comfort to you and soothes and calms your baby too. Breastfeeding is often instinctual for both mom and baby and the most natural thing in the world. When something comes easy you’re comfortable, calm, and at peace within it; and so it is for your baby too.

Confidence:  Not only comfort but also confidence! Successful breastfeeding, within the first six hours, is a mom victory after giving birth! Just like a smile, mom-confidence looks good on you! Celebrate each milestone, everything new, even those things that you as mom adjust to, accomplish, and do. Look back at your record of accomplishments often and remember how much you’ve been through! You can face all new things with full knowledge you’ve mastered new things before.

When to begin breastfeeding? As soon as you can. Don’t let the above worry you! If your birth story is filled with complications, or you have a Cesarean that doesn’t afford you the opportunity to bond with your baby immediately after childbirth, remember: All is well and it will be okay. The “Power Hours” are most powerful within the first six. However, if complications preclude you from having baby latch onto your breast until some point after those six hours the benefits remain and wait for you to celebrate when you hold your baby skin-to-skin and breastfeed him.

when to begin breastfeeding
When to begin breastfeeding?

A real life example:  Laboring for 22 hours, (7 latent, 12 hours “active”, and 3 of them being transitional), my son was born with a fever. Ruling out serious ailments, he underwent test upon test including a spinal tap! I wasn’t able to deliver the placenta and began to hemorrhage. Surgical intervention became necessary for me, but it was four days after Christmas 2007 in Juneau, Alaska and it took an hour and a half for the proper surgical team members to assemble!

The nurses prepare you, during birthing classes, regarding the potential of things that might go wrong. Well, pretty much everything went wrong that could’ve! Nine hours was a long wait for my baby and me to reunite. However, I held him for the first time and while pictures were taken offered him my breast. He latched on straight away. Separation is never easy; however, breastfeeding still has the potential to go seamlessly once it begins.

Regardless of what type of birthing experience you and your baby face you can find your way to breastfeeding success. Sometimes, interventions by a lactation consultant are needed to make it work, but just like other parts of life these words ring true: Never stop trying! You’re always closer to breakthrough than you think!

When to begin breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding within the first six hours is ideal but even if you have to wait, as I did with my firstborn, everything works itself out right as rain in the end. Things aren’t always simple but breastfeeding can be done even when there are obstacles to overcome.

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