Baby is on the way! Here's what to expect when you're breastfeeding in the hospital.
If you've created a birth plan and talked to the hospital or birthing center, you already know what resources can help get your breastfeeding journey started. Here's what to expect with breastfeeding in the first 24 hours.
The First Few Hours
After giving birth, you'll likely feel tired and excited. As soon as you can, aim for skin-to-skin togetherness. During this time, your baby will probably find their way to your nipple, and your hormones will kick in to start making milk. This time together helps your baby feel secure and sets you up for breastfeeding success. Be prepared to feed your baby about every 2 hours at first.
In the beginning, it's normal to feel cramping during breastfeeding. This is because your uterus is returning to its pre-pregnancy size. Any cramps will lessen over time.
If your baby needs to be checked further or needs special care away from you, you can express milk. Your breast milk will provide important nutrients to help your baby grow and fight infections. Talk to your lactation consultant or nurse about using a hospital pump or visiting your baby for feedings if baby is receiving special care away from you.
Before Leaving the Hospital
Before you leave the hospital, ask what kind of breastfeeding support your hospital offers when you are at home. Some hospitals offer breastfeeding assistance visits or classes. Some have supplies you can take home with you. You can also contact your local WIC office and speak with WIC breastfeeding staff.