First feeding

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In the first hours of your baby's life, if not immediately after the birth, you'll be encouraged to offer your baby a feed. Your midwife will ask you if you want to breast or bottle-feed.

If breast-feeding, you'll be offered help to get your baby latched on. If you've chosen to bottle-feed, the hospital may provide bottles of formula milk.

Don't worry if your little one doesn't seem interested to begin with: he'll be tired from the birth and may just want to sleep. You'll have plenty of opportunity to keep trying over the next day or so. While some babies take to breast-feeding immediately, others need a bit of time and practice.

Even if you've successfully breast-fed a baby before, it can be tricky getting a floppy, tiny newborn positioned correctly, and a bit of help from a midwife or your partner can make all the difference, so don't be afraid to ask.

Midwives see breasts every day, and help thousands of women feed their babies, so they don't think twice about giving your nipple a squeeze to get some milk out or pushing and pulling your breast to get it into your baby's mouth.

This can be a bit disconcerting, but unfortunately when you feed a baby your breasts are no longer the private, hidden parts of your body they once were. They become much more functional and public, so you may as well get used to it early on!

Continued below...

You may be encouraged to try a bottle if your baby doesn't take to breast-feeding in the first couple of days. Remember, however, that hospitals have breast pumps and you can ask to be shown how to use one to express your own milk for your baby, so you can persevere with breast-feeding until you both get the hang of it.

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