After birth, how soon can I start breastfeeding? How much milk does the newborn need?

After birth, how soon can I start breastfeeding? How much milk does the newborn need?

The best time to start breastfeeding is within the first half an hour after birth, when your baby is relatively alert to learn suckling the breasts. This allows your baby to get the precious colostrum— the “first milk”. Colostrum contains vast amount of antibodies and living cells, which provide better protection to the health of the newborn baby. You may wonder if the small amount of colostrum is enough for your baby. Actually, the low in volume but thick and sticky colostrum is just the right amount for the newborn's tiny stomach capacity, it also helps your baby to learn and coordinate the techniques of suckling, swallowing and breathing. Nonetheless, a healthy full-term baby is born with sufficient nutrients and water as reserve, so you need not to worry.

A healthy full term baby is most awakened in the first 2 hours after birth, inside the delivery room baby can have the intimate skin-to-skin contact with the mother; and after the first feed of colostrum the baby will be in a sleepy state and some babies will take a long rest and only wake up 1 to 2 times in between. On the first day, you have to breastfeed your baby at least 3 to 4 times. From second day onwards, your baby will be more awake and you may increase the frequency of feeds to 8 to 12 times a day.