Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition

Why is breastfeeding in the first hour of life so important?

In the first hour of life, the baby is most alert and able to imprint the unique suckling movements necessary for successful breastfeeding. As time passes, the baby becomes sleepier as he recovers from the birthing process. During this entire first hour of alertness, itÂ’s important to keep the baby with the mother, ideally skin-to-skin. Uncomfortable distractions and separations should be avoided until after the first feed. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommends that the infant should be dried and Apgars assessed while the baby is on the mother, and that Vitamin K and eye prophylaxis should be delayed until the first feed, up to one hour.

DiGirolamo et al. found that failure to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of life was one of the strongest predictors of early termination of breastfeeding at two months.

Posted in: The Best Start: Birth to 48 hours