Your body knows how to feed your baby. In fact, your body has been preparing to breastfeed throughout your entire pregnancy. For 40 weeks, your body satisfied his needs – providing warmth, protection, food, and oxygen. The first hours after birth can really affect how he adjusts to life on the outside.

One way to ease your baby's transition to the outside world is skin-to-skin contact. Have him placed on the skin between your breasts without anything separating you – no towels, blankets, or clothing.

Your baby is very smart and probably knows what to do with just a little help from you. Babies tend to be alert right after birth – it's the perfect time to start to build a special bond.

You may see him bobbing his head looking for your breast. He naturally knows how to find his way to your nipple...all he needs is to be in the right spot, so hold him close, skin-to-skin. Click here to learn more about your baby's latch.

Holding your baby skin-to-skin helps your baby feel secure.

Your Birth Plan

As part of your birth plan, make sure you ask hospital staff if they can do routine newborn procedures with your baby on your chest rather than taking him to the nursery. Babies who are kept skin-to-skin are more likely to breastfeed well and breastfeed often, which is important for establishing your milk supply.

If you need help, ask your peer counselor to visit you in the hospital or call her. She will want to know how you are doing.