Women have been breastfeeding their babies since the beginning of time. That doesn't mean, however, that it's something that just happens on its own. After all, you've never breastfed before, and your newborn has never eaten before, from a breast or otherwise. So before you pack your bag for the hospital -- or get frustrated with breastfeeding postpartum -- become acquainted with this important new job.
Nursing may be tough in the beginning, but with patience, effort, and lots of support, both of you will get the hang of it. The best part? Your baby will thrive on your milk and the cuddly closeness that breastfeeding offers. Trust us -- and trust in your body!
It's a good idea to try breastfeeding in the hospital as soon as you can, preferably with a nurse or lactation consultant on hand. Though a newborn knows instinctively how to suck, getting his lips and your nipple in the right position (called "the latch") may take some trial and error: The nipple may slip out of baby's mouth, he may not know what to do with this big thing in his face and cry, or he may just be too sleepy from the birth process.
Don't get discouraged; the nurses and lactation consultants can help you position him properly. And even if you don't get it right for several hours (or a whole day!), your baby won't starve. He's born with extra energy stores to get him through this phase.