Breast Feeding

Benefits Of Initiating Breastfeeding Within The First Hour After Birth

As everyone knows, I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding. I breastfed my son for 8 months and pumped for 18 months (total).

newborn second after birth

Since starting this site a year and a half ago, I have covered many articles that list the endless benefits to newborns from breast milk.

However, I have never heard some of the claims that are being made on a Jamaican website.

The dietitian writes that:

Findings from one study, published in the journal Pediatrics 2006, showed that ensuring initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth could cut, by 22 per cent, all neonatal mortality.

If facilitated, healthy babies can instinctively find the breast and will initiate breastfeeding in the first hour in women who have normal vaginal delivery. The baby’s senses are highly developed and a healthy baby is very alert during this period. Studies show that if the baby is wiped, except for hands which should retain the taste and smell of the amniotic fluid, covered and placed skin to skin on the mother’s abdomen, then the baby will crawl and latch on to the breast. This first skin-to-skin contact is also important in causing the bacterial colonisation of the baby’s skin with the mother’s bacteria.

Other advantages of this first hour initiation is that baby learns feeding skills quicker, it prevents low blood sugar levels in the infant and the mild laxative effect of the colostrum helps in the passage of the meconium – the first blackish stool.

There are various routines which surround this initial period which prevent initiation in the first hour. Many times babies are initiated with artificial formula to prevent low blood sugar levels, among other procedures, and it is only after these routine procedures are complete that the ‘cleaned’ and swaddled baby is given to the mother to be put to the breast.

I believe that most hospitals are putting the baby to breast immediately after they are delivered.

This may be one of the things that you may want to discuss with your nurse before hard labour hits.


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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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