Natural Birth

Breast Feeding after birth

Hey all you lovely ladies,

Just wondering how it works after you give birth...do you breast feed right away, or does it take a few hours for your milk to come in?

Also, I'm not sure how my hospital does things, but I'm going to ask the baby be placed on me, skin to skin for a while....how do I go about requesting they help me do this?

Thanks!

Re: Breast Feeding after birth

  • I birthed in a hospital with a mw. She passed baby straight to my chest. Then after a short time, started arranging LO onto the breast.

    I think skin to skin immediately after birth is becoming more and more common. But check what your hospital does.

    It wasn't instinctive to me to try and BF LO straight away. I was in such a daze after it all, and just so busy looking at her, and taking it all in. So my MW took the lead with the BF thing, but I'm sure if I'd taken the lead she would have stepped back and just done what was needed. 

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  • smsalatsmsalat
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    After having my DD, they placed her on my chest until the placenta was delivered....I tore really badly, and was close to having to go to the OR due to the extent of it.  So, they took her after a few minutes and did all the screenings, APGAR, Ointment, Vit k and had DH go over and help with the first bath all in the same room, so I could watch as I was being stitched back together.  After that they wheeled both of us to the post-pardom area of the hospital, and we were then re-united.  It was policy that baby be wheeled in her own basinette thing.  After that we had all the bonding time I wanted, and breast fed (unfortunately, it didn't work our for me). 
  • I birthed in a hospital with an OB.  They put LO to my chest immediately.  We bonded while I was waiting to deliver the placenta. Once I had delivered the placenta my OB had to stitch me up so my H held LO.  Once I was stitched up the nurse and my doula helped me latch LO. The nurse squeezed my nipple to get some colostrum out which helped LO latch better.  We nursed/worked on ltaching for about an hour.  Then they came in to do the Vit K, bath, and eye ointment.
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  • You will want to try to get baby latched on within the first hour. That is a formative time for breastfeeding. Remember that he won't get much, since you ate just producing nutrientrich colostrum. But a newborn's stomach is the size of a marble and they are loaded up with nutrients from the placenta, so they don't need a huge quantity the first few days, just frequent feeding to get your breasts stimulated to make more milk.

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  • We birth at home.

    Baby is immediately placed on my chest. We snuggle and wait for the cord to stop pulsing and delivery of the placenta (which has taken way longer than average for me both times). If baby seems interested in BF, I'd go ahead and do it then.

    Neither one has. 

    So after delivering the placenta and cutting the cord, I clean up/take a quick shower while LO is measured and weighed. Then I get all super comfortable in a chair or my bed and settle in for a long cuddle/nursing session. 

    It's fantastic.
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  • I would make sure during labor you remind the hospital and your support person of this.  Although my hospital's website and the guide on the tour said that they would do this and encourage bfing within an hour, they didn't.  I sort of forgot just being in awe of my little boy, and the other reason is that my baby wasn't crying and was making a funny noise so the pediatrician had to be called to make sure his throat wasn't still clogged with mucous.
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  • Breast feed within an hour after giving birth. You will feed your baby colostrum until about day 3 when your breasts swell with milk. If your breasts hurt from the swelling take a hot shower and run the water on them or use a hot water bottle and ice packs alternating.

    I had a homebirth and as soon as baby had her apgar she was on my chest skin to skin. I birthed the placenta pretty quickly and then began hemorrhaging. I passed our little girl off to my husband so the midwives could stop the bleeding. The bleeding stopped and our baby was trying to find the breast on her father's chest so I took her back and guided my breast to her mouth.

    I assume you should mention your desire for skin to skin with your OB or midwife. They will discuss with you how you can make that happen at your birth.

    Good luck.

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  • CLLDLLCLLDLL
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    I used a hospital with an OB. I just made sure to discuss my wishes with my OB around 36 weeks and reminded her again during labor. I printed out my birth plan to give to the L&D nurses. They were very accommodating. We did skin to skin while we waited for the placenta to come. LO actually started rooting around for my breast at that point. They quickly weighed and measured him and let me BF. (I had asked them to delay Vit K and ointment until after BF'ing the first time.) He did awesome and it really was a special bonding time. My memory is a little foggy of what happened next, but I think we BF for around 40 minutes and then LO went to the nursery while I slept for a few hours. They brought him to me when he was ready to nurse again & then he stayed in the room with me the rest of the time.
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  • Baby was placed on me and we had skin to skin for a little bit. My friend who is also a doula was with us and once I was cleaned (and stitched up from the "skid marks") she said, let's breastfeed! I want to say it was about an hour. I hadn't even got up. Basically it was pretty immediate. I was like okay....kind of nervous, but DS latched on right away and we didn't have any problems!

    Oh, and DS was born on a Sunday morning and my milk didn't come in till Wednesday evening. Took awhile but it did. Just keep nursing around the clock.

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  • As the others have said, milk can take up to five days to come in, but your body starts making small amounts of colostrum in the latter half of your pregnancy. Let baby latch as soon as possible, and feed every few hours or more. Frequent demand will stimulate your breasts and make the milk come in.
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  • Skin to skin has been standard practice at all five hospitals I've looked at.  I'd still ask your caregiver to be certain and put it on your birth plan but it's probably going to happen, which is the good news because even 5 years ago that wasn't the case in most places!

    As for breastfeeding, I'm not BTDT, but I have attended several births and at about half of them the baby made it's own way to the breast and just started feeding.  One I swear clawed up her Mom's chest (she'd been down by the belly) to latch on.  So try not to stress it too much, babies a lot of times know what they are doing and if they don't most hospitals employ lactation consultants and you can request a little help from them.

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  • Like the PP's said, I'd make sure to discuss it with your provider near the end of your pregnancy. If you have a birthplan, that's a good place for the info too.

    As far as BFing goes, DS rooted around almost immediately and, luckily, latched on right away. I didn't get engorged when my milk came in (also lucky.) I could just tell that he was actually drinking/swallowing more than suckling after a few days.

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  • Thanks ladies! All your answers are really helpful.

    I've spoken briefly to my OB about a natural birth. She replied saying she likes to be as natural as possible too, but its always hard to tell.

    I'm 30 weeks and thinking it may be good to, like most of you said, write out a birth plan, and talk it over with my OB at around 37 weeks or so.

    The bummer is that she is transitioning out of our ONLY hospital here in Fairbanks, AK around my due date...so she could, or could possibly not be there.

     

    Any advice on all the different tests/antibiotics they give to a baby right after birth? I'm not really sure what all they do.

  • image joules235:

    After I had my daughter it was almost instinct to just bring her to my chest and breast. I had a birth center birth so skin to skin was assumed. If I were birthing in the hospital I would just tell the doctors and nurses that I want the baby placed skin to skin with me immediately after birth, they can do all the checking of the baby while she/he is on your chest.

    I would sit down and write out a birth plan with all of your preferences for labor, delivery and newborn care.

    It will take about 3 days for you milk to come in but to begin with you will produce colostrum which is the best and only food your baby will need until your milk comes it. The best advice nurse early and often, as much as your baby wants it.

    Ditto all of this (except I had my baby at a hospital). My son wanted to nurse right away, and I was ready to start as well, but I had an almost 4th degree tear, and they wanted to stitch me up first so I (guess?) wouldn't bleed too much...or at least that's what I'm thinking. 

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  • image angelalcoelho:

    Any advice on all the different tests/antibiotics they give to a baby right after birth? I'm not really sure what all they do.

    There's a podcast called "Pregtastic" that had two great episodes (the last two episodes, actually) about common hospital procedures and what they do.  It's a great little resource for finding out what all happens when you get to the hospital.  The guest is an OB that works both in hospitals and a birth center so he's seen both sides.

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  • Make sure you make it clear to your providers that you want skin to skin right away. My hospital does this standard but some don't. You can also request that weighing, shots, eye goop, etc. be held off for at least an hour. (Remember: It's YOUR baby, you call the shots!)

    Baby will try to find the breast on her own within the first hour of being placed on you -- Look up "breast crawl" on YouTube. :)

    Hopefully you will have access to a lactation consultant, or a nurse can help you initiate breastfeeding after awhile. You may want to research "laid-back nursing", which can be easier than traditional cradle positioning.

    The first day, Baby's stomach is the size of a tiny marble. Colostrum is the first milk you make. It's golden in color and you only need that TINY amount at a time. The more you nurse (not just feeding, but allowing Baby to suckle even when not actively drinking), the more you signal to your body to make milk. Your 'real' milk will come in within a few days, but that early colostrum is almost always plenty until then so long as you are nursing on demand. Your baby will seem to breastfeed almost constantly - That's a good thing, as it is literally informing your body how much milk to produce.

    Even at a week old, Baby's stomach is too small to hold more than a couple of ounces per feeding. Keep track of wet and poopy diapers - Enough coming out means enough going in! 

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  • Thanks ladies, this is all very helpful.

    I'm wondering...how often do you nurse in the beginning?

    I've heard that you should nurse a newborn every two hours....but it almost seems like that's not the case if I'm only giving her a little bit of colostrum each time....

    Shed some light? 

  • image angelalcoelho:

    Thanks ladies, this is all very helpful.

    I'm wondering...how often do you nurse in the beginning?

    I've heard that you should nurse a newborn every two hours....but it almost seems like that's not the case if I'm only giving her a little bit of colostrum each time....

    Shed some light? 

     

    That's actually correct.  The more you do it, the quicker your milk comes in.  By the 3rd nursing session, the nurse was pointing out when my baby was swallowing.  I don't know if it was the 1st or second day but at some point in the hospital, my baby spit up a tiny bit.  I was so excited to know for sure that he was swallowing something!  It's supply and demand with bfing.  My milk officially came in 3.5 days after my baby was born.

     In the hospital you can call a nurse each time you want to nurse and you should!  It's free help.  Some are better than others but in the end, they all know how to teach you.  Then of course see the lactation consultant.

     If you end up with some hiccup in the beginning, don't stress it.  Because of my baby and the mucous, and then a slew of guests, I didn't bf until maybe 5-6 hrs later.  It wasn't ideal but in the end it all worked out.  Breastfeeding was amazing.  Do lots of reading about it now because trust me, you won't have any time for it once your lo is here! 

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  • I would highly recommend a birth plan (and give it to the nurses with a batch of cookies Wink if you are delivering in a hospital.

    Just keep it short - anything longer than a page, people are going to ignore it or forget what you wrote. Keep it to the 5-10 things most important to you (e.g., Please do not offer pain medication / wishes regarding clamping the cord or donating cord blood / delay routine care to facilitate skin to skin contact for the first hour after birth / etc).

    Ask to see the hospital's LC right away. They can walk you through a lot of the early logistics of breastfeeding. Frequent is good - it will stimulate milk production. Also, continue doing skin to skin contact after that first hour - I held DS on my chest basically the entire time I was in the hospital, unless I was sleeping.

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  • Hopefully your hospital is one that supports it - more and more are seeing the benefit. But even if not, your wishes should be granted if baby doesn't need special medical attention after the birth.  And in doing so, you keep the baby as long as you want.

    Most likely, if baby ends up being interested in nursing, which many are, especially in an unmedicated birth, you will get baby latched. Accept help if it's offered if baby doesn't get on right away. Baby will probably suckle and nurse for 45 min or so, and then fall asleep for a while.  If you nurse frequently, you can expect your milk to come in within 1-3 days, on average. Sometimes it's longer, but baby's tummy is so tiny, the colostrum they're getting is just enough for them, especially because they should be nursing frequently (more frequent than every three hours around the clock).

    I recommend reading a nursing book if you haven't gotten one yet. My favorite has been The Nursing Mother's Companion. 

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  • For me, first birth was very hard on baby (and my vagina) and she was taken to the NICU almost immediately.

    Second birth, baby was ok, but I didn't want to have her immediately. I wanted her checked out very well before I got her. I enjoyed about 30 minutes to an hour of showing her off to dd1, and my parents. Then they all three left and I started nursing.

    As far as what you want to happen. Tell your ob, then tell your main delivery nurse. She'll make sure it happens, as long as there are no complications.

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