Immediate, uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact within the first hour after birth is an important first step in breastfeeding.
Hold your baby (wearing a diaper only) on your bare chest for at least an hour after birth or until your baby has their first feeding. During skin-to-skin contact your baby may look for your breast to feed. You can also hand express a few drops of colostrum to encourage your baby to latch.
If your baby can't be with you after birth, you can hand express to help your body start to make milk for your baby.
Learn more about how to
hand express breast milk.
The early milk your baby gets is called colostrum. It is nutritious, rich milk and is all your baby needs in the first few days. Colostrum strengthens your baby’s immune system to fight germs. Your mature milk usually comes in about 3 days after birth.
- Sit upright, not flat, in a comfortable chair or bed.
Hold your baby chest-to-chest with their head turned to one side.Cover your baby with a blanket, leaving your baby’s head uncovered.
- Make sure your baby’s nose and mouth are visible and uncovered.
- Make sure your baby is free to lift their head.
- Makes breastfeeding easier
- Helps your body make breast milk
- Keeps your baby warm, calm and lessens crying
- Stabilizes your baby's heart rate and breathing
- Supports your baby's development
- Helps you and your baby bond and recover after birth
- Lessens your baby's pain during minor tests and procedures like vaccine shots
- May reduce postpartum depression
As your baby grows, continue skin-to-skin holding every day for the first month or so and whenever your baby needs comfort. Your partner or another trusted person can hold your baby skin-to-skin and provide your baby with some of the same benefits. Always practice skin-to-skin care when you are wide awake and follow
safer sleep practices.
Premature babies also benefit from skin-to-skin care, called
You can find professional and community support through your healthcare provider, public health nurse or community health clinic, and by calling Healthlink BC at 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse.
Baby’s Best Chance
HealthLink BC Breastfeeding
• Attend prenatal classes in your community.
• Join a breastfeeding support group such as
La Leche League.
• Keeping your baby skin-to-skin
• Kangaroo Care