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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs related to maternity home stay \ immediate post delivery period

Q1. When can I hold my baby & start breastfeeding after delivery?

A. Mother should hold the baby in naked skin to skin contact within half an hour of delivery (prior to this you can hold the baby cheek to cheek & kiss it too). It is also recommended that baby's face should touch nipple & areola. This is called early contact & should last for at least half an hour. As soon as baby shows readiness to suckle the baby should be breastfed. Early contact & first breastfeed has several advantages.

A] Baby remains warm.
B] Baby gets friendly germs from mother's body. This prevents infection in the baby.
C] Helps early initiation & establishment of breastfeeding.
D] Mother continues to produce milk for longer period of time.
E] Controls post delivery bleeding in the mother.
F] Establishes a good bond between the mother & her baby.

In case of caesarean delivery first contact & breastfeed should be given as soon as mother is out of the effects of anesthesia but not later than 4 hours after delivery (If possible baby should be shown to the mother soon after delivery in the operation theatre. As recommended after normal delivery mother can hold the baby for a short time in close cheek to cheek contact & kiss it). Mother will need extra help from the maternity home staff & her relatives for initiation & establishment of breastfeeds.

Q2. My mother in law wants to feed few drops of honey to the baby before I give first breastfeed after delivery. Is it a good custom to do so?

A. Any drink prior to first breastfeed is called 'Prelacteal feed'. It is not recommended to use prelacteal feeds because it can introduce infection in the baby. If the quantity of prelacteal feed is large it can delay first breastfeed because baby's stomach would get full.

Q3. I have been told that it takes 2-3 days for the milk to come? What should I feed to the baby during this period?

A. Though milk takes 2-3 days to come, mother produces colostrum in this period. Colostrum is less in quantity but high in quality. It is highly nutritious & hence sufficient for the baby. It is also protective & can be considered as the first vaccine which the baby gets. Colostrum promotes maturation of baby's intestines. Hence baby does not need any milk, water or any other fluid in this period. Your relatives also should promote you & support you to put the baby frequently to the breast. Neither you nor your relatives should force the staff to give top milk or water to the baby in this period. Maternity home staff also needs to be properly trained in lactation management in order to help, support & encourage mother in this period. However your motivation to exclusively breastfeed in this period is most important.

Q4. Where the baby should be kept after delivery?

A. Not only that the baby should be kept in the same room (rooming in) but should be kept in the same bed (bedding in). Baby should not be kept in the cradle. Mother can easily take care of babies needs with baby lying next to her. Mother also feels relaxed with this arrangement. Bedding in promotes demand feeding. It helps early & successful establishment of breastfeeding. Bedding in also prevents infection in the baby by promoting mother's friendly germs to colonize on the baby. Mother learns to take care of the baby herself. It is not recommended to keep the baby in baby room.

Q5. How frequently (and for how long) should I feed the baby? How long should I feed on one breast?

A. Baby should be given demand feeding. Feed your baby whenever baby wants & for as long as it wants. Some babies are 'fast feeders' while some are 'slow feeders'. Feed on one side as long as possible because the milk which comes initially is rich in water & sugar (foremilk), while the milk which comes in the later part of the breastfeed is rich in fats (hind milk). Demand feeding stimulates milk production & prevents breast engorgement. It also helps to reduce the intensity of normal jaundice seen in most babies after delivery.

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Disclaimer: All material provided at Breastfeedingindia.org is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Consult with your doctor regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.