Baby's first feed
Holding your baby with their skin next to your skin immediately after birth will calm and relax you and your baby.
Skin-to-skin contact with your baby in the first hour after birth will help get the first feed off to a good start. Your midwife will assist you to position your baby safely in skin to skin contact. In this position Mum and baby instinctively do many of the things that make it easy to feed:
- baby is held close to the breast
- mum and baby feel calm and relaxed
- mum strokes baby’s hands and feet
- baby begins to give early feeding cues including, stirring, mouth opening, turning his head, seeking or rooting for the breast
- Responsive breastfeeding involves mum responding to her baby’s early feeding cues
- baby gradually moves towards the breast and attaches to the breast.
The following pictures show the early, mid and late feeding cues of a baby:
(Used with the kind permission of Queensland Health - May 2017)
The following links are Feeding Cue Infographics in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. (Used with the kind permission of the County of Los Angeles Public Health, Division of Chronic Disease and Injury - April 2017)
Most babies are alert and anxious to suck after birth however some may be a little slower to do so. Each baby is an individual and unique. You and your baby may start the first feed by yourselves or you may need a little help and guidance from your midwife.