Starting at the Hospital

Starting breastfeeding can be intimidating – especially if you are a first-time parent or have not breastfed before. Babies are healthiest if they are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life. However, any breastfeeding is better than none.

Our Mid-Shore WIC staff and your hospital care team can help you successfully start breastfeeding right away. Doing so provides your baby with colostrum, a thick, deep yellow milk that is only produced during the first few days after birth. Colostrum is sometimes called liquid gold because of the health benefits it provides to babies, including protecting them from infection and helping their digestive system to grow.

Tips for Successful Breastfeeding at the Hospital (English)
Tips for Successful Breastfeeding at the Hospital (Español)

Tips for Starting Breastfeeding at the Hospital

  • Let the nursing staff know right away that you plan to exclusively breastfeed. You can download our Breastfeeding Checklist (en Español) for the hospital and give it to your nurse when you get to your room. 
  • Start breastfeeding within the first hour after your baby’s birth. 
  • Ask for help when breastfeeding. Your hospital care team can help you learn the correct breastfeeding techniques and show you ways to know that your baby is breastfeeding well.
  • Request that your baby be kept in the room with you so you can hear their cries and start responding when they give hunger cues. You can also request that any examinations of the baby be done in the room with you if possible.
  • If your baby cannot nurse at your breast or if you are separated from your baby for medical reasons, ask your care team to teach you how to hand express milk. Also request that they bring you a hospital-grade electric breast pump no later than 4 hours after you give birth.
  • Stick with it! It may take some experimenting to find the position that works best for your baby and it may take 3 to 5 days for your breast milk to fully come in. As long as your baby continues breastfeeding, your body will get the signal to make more milk. 
  • Leave the free formula samples, bottles, and pacifiers the hospital may give you behind – the use of these can be a barrier to your breastfeeding success.
  • Ask about non-hormonal birth control options, which will not reduce your milk supply the way hormonal ones will.
  • Ask for help getting a hospital-grade electric breast pump to take home if you will need to pump after you leave the hospital. 
  • Connect with our Mid-Shore WIC staff as soon as you get home so you can get the breastfeeding support and help you may need to continue breastfeeding at home. We are just a phone call or text away!


Maryland WIC

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