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Early skin-to-skin contact begins ideally at birth and involves placing the naked baby on the mother's chest, with his/her body covered by a warm blanket, and his/her head covered with a hat

Early, uninterrupted skin to skin contact between mother and baby has been shown to benefit breastfeeding outcomes

It is extremely beneficial if baby can be placed skin to skin as soon as possible after delivery to help regulate baby's temperature, normalize blood glucose levels, and initiate breastfeeding

With baby being in the, "right place, at the right time," he/she can begin breastfeeding once hunger cues are displayed

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One of the best ways to encourage milk production and early breastfeeding is to use hand expression

To hand express colostrum:

form a letter "C" with the thumb and fingers around the breast tissue, (not the nipple), press back toward the chest wall, compress the breast tissue between the thumb and fingers 

Hand expression can help to reassure mothers and their families that there is milk present, even in the first hour after delivery

Hand expression will help to empty the breast and signal activation of the hormones responsible for milk production 

Hand expression just prior to latching-on can help entice a baby to latch

Hand expression is more effective for milk collection than a breast pump the first days after delivery, when there is less volume to express

Breastfed babies are encouraged to nurse 8-12 times a day; that's every 2-3 hours (or sometimes even more frequently)

The reasoning behind this is that the baby's stomach can only hold 5-7mL per feeding

The newborn's stomach will fill quickly, but also empty quickly; hence, the feeding frequency

Allow baby to have unlimited access to the breasts

Latch baby to the breast at the first signs of hunger; stirring/awakening from sleep, rooting/seeking, (turning head to side), and opening mouth

Frequent feedings empty colostrum from the breast and will help to signal to the mother's body that it is now time to make more milk 

To prevent excessive weight loss and establish adequate milk supply, a newborn baby should not go longer than 3 hours between feedings (even if it requires waking the baby to eat)

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