During the first few hours after birth most healthy newborns can instinctively attach all on their own, the skin to skin contact keeps your baby at the perfect temperature and stimulates feeding instincts. Your baby’s suckling will contract your uterus and speed up delivery of the placenta. It will also play an important part in bonding.
Immediately after birth, the baby is put on the mother's bare abdomen. The birth attendant dries the baby with a clean cloth but leaves the white protective layer called Vernix on the baby’s skin.
The baby finds her mother’s breast via the sense of smell. Her hands have the scent of amniotic fluid on them, which has a similar scent to the nipple; therefore, the baby’s hands are not cleaned, and the mother is advised not to wash her nipples before breastfeeding.
The baby is left quiet and undisturbed for at least one hour after the birth, even when she has finished feeding. Most babies are quite alert during the first few hours after birth. The baby will open her eyes, feel around and smell her surroundings. She will start to move her hands, feet, and body as she wriggles her way towards the breasts. She may have periods of resting and activity. She may salivate and suck her hands.
She will use her sense of smell to find the nipple, which has a similar scent to her own hands. On her own, she will find the nipple and try to grasp it with her hand and mouth. Eventually, she will take the nipple, self-attach and start to suck. It is best to let your baby attach all by themselves.
Avoid helping your baby onto the breast or pushing the back of your baby’s head. Doing this will slow down the natural process of attachment.