The first feed
Most babies will attach to the breast for their first feed if you place them ‘skin-to-skin’ at birth. This is also known as the ‘breast crawl’.
Let your baby lead for the first feed
- The ‘Breast Crawl’ at birth – YouTube
- Getting Started with Breastfeeding – Raising Children Network
- Birth, Skin to Skin, and the First Feed – National Health Service (NHS)
‘If you can’t have ‘skin to skin’ right after the birth, this is often due to medical reasons. Your midwife will support you to have ‘skin to skin’ as soon as possible. You can still learn to breastfeed and bond with your baby.’
Tips for establishing breastfeeding from the beginning
- Allow your baby to feed from the breast as soon as possible after the birth.
- Keep your baby close to you in the early hours following birth. This also strengthens your baby’s immune system.
- Feed whenever your baby demands. This could be between 6 to 12 times in a 24 hour period.
- If you have a breastfeeding plan, talk with your health professional about what is important for you – be assertive and realistic.
- A lactation consultant or midwife is an expert who can support you for your baby’s early feeds.
- If you can’t breastfeed early, expressing may stimulate your milk supply.
When plans change
Sometimes even the best plans may change. Your health professional is there to support you if you feel that your experience is not what you had planned.
- ‘Bonding with your baby is more than feeding.’