In the midst of your mid-pregnancy research, you might have overlooked a very important question if you're planning to breastfeed. You know that you want to nurse, you've got your nursing pillow, your nursing bras, your breast pump and all of the other breastfeeding accessories, but have you asked just how soon you can breastfeed after giving birth? It seems like a simple question (and luckily it has a very simple answer), but it may get overlooked in your rush to check things off your list before baby makes their grand entrance.
Luckily for you, the answer to the question is essentially "as soon as you want to." According to Baby Center, the very first time you hold your baby is the perfect time to breastfeed for the first time. Not only does it nourish and comfort your baby, but it provides both of you with many benefits as well.
According to Belly Belly, having an "undisturbed first hour after birth" is a great way to establish a healthy breastfeeding relationship with your baby right off the bat. Starting out with skin-to-skin time helps with bonding and your baby's ability to latch on to the breast properly. It may not come easily right away, but the benefits are well worth it.
Similarly, the same article noted that having skin-to-skin time and breastfeeding right away helps your baby's system regulate itself after birth, making sure their body temperature, blood sugar and more, is at proper levels before any of the other routine testing is done.
Many hospitals promote the notion of skin-to-skin time immediately after birth, but others do not. Be sure to check with your doctor beforehand about the practices of the hospital and let them know that you plan to breastfeed right away. Unless there's a medical emergency, your baby should be given to your right away. It's the best way to establish mother-baby bonding and set you up for a successful breastfeeding relationship right from the start.