Breastfeeding is natural, but not always instinctual, especially the first time you nurse your brand new baby. Most moms expect a blissful, bonding nursing relationship right off the bat, but the truth is that the first few days nursing your newborn can be a bit tricky. If you're wondering how to survive your first breastfeeding session, you're definitely not alone.
More often than not — barring any complications — the first time you'll get to nurse your baby will be immediately after giving birth. Of course, this will be an amazing moment between the two of you. However, it can also come with its fair share of stress and emotions as you adjust to the reality of the baby in your arms.
I remember the first time I held my daughter after giving birth. Along with the sense of awe, love, and exhaustion, came the terrifying realization that I had no idea what I was doing. I had never held a newborn, led alone tried to breastfeed one.
Obviously, we eventually got the hang of it, and our first nursing session was beautiful despite the stress. Knowing what to expect for that first nursing session can ensure that the stress is minimized and you're able to focus on what matters most: you and your brand new babe.
1. Be Patient With Yourself
Breastfeeding a newborn is especially tricky. You're both getting acquainted with each other and it can be a little bit hard to get the hang of at first. Don't expect your first session to be perfect. With all of the post-labor adrenaline and hormones, you're bound to need a bit of time to adjust.
2. Let Your Baby Take The Lead
Babies are born with an incredible reflex called the rooting reflex that allows them to move towards the breast, and latch on all by themselves, according to La Leche League International. Although you'll obviously need to support your baby and hold them in the right position for a good latch, letting their instincts do some of the work will make it a smooth transition.
3. Get A Few Pointers Beforehand
Reading up on the easiest breastfeeding positions and latching techniques before you go into labor can help you have much needed knowledge on what to expect for the first few sessions.
A piece from Parenting noted how important it is for nursing moms to relax while breastfeeding. If you're tense, stressed, or nervous, your letdown reflex won't flow as easily and you'll have a hard time getting enough colostrum to your brand new baby.
5. Ask For An Uninterrupted First Hour
An uninterrupted first hour alone with your baby is one of the biggest things you can do to ensure a successful first nursing session. Having the first hour to bond, do skin to skin time, and nurse your baby is amazingly beneficial for you and your baby, according to Belly Belly.