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What to expect from your first breastfeed when birthing in a hospital

Depending on interventions (If any), during the labour/birth, newborns are generally quite alert for an hour after birth. Babies can take 5-50 minutes to become interested in feeding. You’ll know your baby wants to feed as they open their mouth and try to latch onto something (rooting reflex).

If it is not interrupted for any reason the first feed will usually take 2-3 hours. Unless there is an urgent or emergency situation it is important you are not processed through the system rapidly during this time.

During this time your baby is creating a vacuum with their mouth and drawing out thick colostrum. Colostrum is high in protein, minerals, vitamins and antibodies. It is all your baby needs until your milk comes in on day 2-5 after birth.

You have time. The hospital have time. You must advocate for yourself, put your hand up and say I am not ready to go yet, we are still having our first breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is a learnt skill for you and your baby and doing anything for the first time might be challenging. Many babies eventually latch themselves. Ask your care provider to check the way your baby is latched if you have any concerns.


Thompson, 2019, Robinson & Price, 2006 .

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