Breastfeeding supports the development of the mother-babyrelationship and helps the mother to get to know her baby as well as to understand the baby's way of expressing his/herself. Breastfeeding doesn't only mean food for the baby, but also closeness, warmth and comfort. Breastfeeding is also beneficial for the mother and it helps her recover from the pregnancy and the delivery.
Right after birth the baby is placed skin-to-skin on the mother's chest and the first breastfeeding session takes place when the baby is ready for it. The skin-to-skin-contact continues also at the ward.
When a baby is born, the mother is producing colostrum. Even small amounts of colostrum is enough to secure the nutrition during the first few days of a healthy, full-term baby, if the baby is allowed to breastfeed on its own demand. In the beginning the need for milk is satisified with only a few milliliters of colostrum. During the first days the baby eats often, usually every 1-2 hours. Frequent and long breastfeeding sessions ensure that the baby gets enough milk and that the production of milk increases. It is important to pay attention to the baby's cues for feeding, the position, latching, efficiency and swallowing sounds.
Breastfeeding isn't always easy, but by means of guidance, practice and support, one can usually make it function. A well-functioning breastfeeding is very handy: ready made nutrition is available whenever and whereever the baby needs it.