Immediate skin-to-skin contact and being able to have your baby "room-in" with you increases breastfeeding success. Drying the baby, assigning Apgar scores, and doing the initial assessment typically should be done while your baby is with you. You can also delay having your baby cleaned, weighed, measured and bathed until after he or she has had a chance to nurse.
Supplemental feedings of formula in the hospital have almost doubled in the past ten years, a practice known to derail nursing.
You'll want to do this especially if you've never been around nursing mothers, have questions or concerns or just really need a hand getting started.
You have the right to participate in decision-making involving you and your baby and you have the right to know the benefits, risks and hazards of drugs and procedures. Remember: as the authors of "A Good Birth, A Safe Birth observe, "If you don't know your options, you don't have any."
Barbara L. Behrmann, Ph.D. is the author of The Breastfeeding Café: Mothers Share the Joys, Secrets & Challenges of Nursing, University of Michigan Press, 2005. She is a frequent speaker around the country and is available for talks, readings, and conducting birthing and breastfeeding writing circles. The mother of two formerly breastfed children, Barbara lives in upstate New York.
American Academy of Pediatrics: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Section on Breastfeeding. Pediatrics. 2005; 115; 496-506. Accessible at http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/115/2/496
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services: "Having a Baby? Ten Questions to Ask."
Gaskin, Ina May. 2003. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. New York, NY: Bantam Books., page 165.
Kroeger, Mary. With Linda J. Smith. 2004. Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding: Protecting the Mother and Baby Continuum. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Martin, Joyce A., MPH; Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D.; Fay Menacker, Ph.D.; Paul D. Sutton, Ph.D.; and T.J. Mathews, M.S. Preliminary Births for 2004: Infant and Maternal Health. 2004. Division of Vital Statistics. CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
Ryan, Alan S., Zhou Wenjun, Andrew Acosta. 2002. "Breastfeeding Continues to Increase Into the New Millennium." Pediatrics. Vol. 110, No. 6. pages 1103-1109.
Copyright © Barbara L. Behrmann. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.