You have been thinking about breastfeeding your entire pregnancy. You are reading books and soaking up as much information as you can in anticipation of that first latch. You are not alone.
The First Latch
Many women throughout the world anticipate that first latch. They dream about it, they plan it out, they want it to be perfect.
Most women think that their newborn will be born and be a breastfeeding superstar, but that is not always the case. It is a learning experience for both the woman and the baby. I have seen women struggle with the first latch and get frustrated when it is not “perfect”.
First Latch in the OR
But how important is that first latch?
From a nutritional standpoint, not very. Your baby is getting all the nutrition it needs via the umbilical cord until the moment it is cut. I assure you, your baby will not starve if you struggle with the first latch.
The first latch is more about the emotional bond you are establishing with your newborn. That first moment when they start searching out the breast, the eye contact, the closeness, the sweet smell of your newborn baby.
I see new mothers concerned over a good latch immediately after birth, but that first latch doesn’t even really matter in your long term breastfeeding relationship. You will have time to get the mechanics down. Instead of focusing on a “perfect” latch, use this time to bond with your baby.
If you and your baby are having a hard time latching by the second feed, then you can call in the reinforcements! Many hospitals have lactation counselors on staff (both CLC and IBCLC) and of course Lancaster Doulas has a full staff of CLC’s as well to help you out if you find yourself in need of additional support.
Enjoy your new little bundle, and cut yourself some slack. You just had a baby for crying out loud !!!
Lancaster Doulas LLC provides breastfeeding support in Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster,
Lebanon, Montgomery, Schuykill and York Counties.