Prenatally, there are several things you can do to help your breastfeeding experience get off to a good start!
First, you need to choose a healthcare provider for yourself and baby that is supportive of breastfeeding. Talk with your doctor or midwife about how birth interventions can effect breastfeeding. Also, consider having a doula experienced with breastfeeding with you for support during and after delivery.
Another important step you should take is to enroll in a breastfeeding class near you. Consider bringing your partner with you for support. Having knowledge of breastfeeding basics can help ease postpartum stress and make you more confident in your breastfeeding journey.
Contrary to what you may have heard, you do not need to prepare your breasts or “toughen up” your nipples prior to delivery. If you have issues with flat/inverted nipples, serious medical conditions, or history of breast surgery, consider speaking with your doctor and a lactation consultant.
During your pregnancy research and establish what breastfeeding resources are available to you. These can include baby cafes, La Leche League groups, WIC counselors, and lactation consultants. Reputable online resources include: Kellymom.com, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics and Center for Disease Control. At The Care Connection, we offer a twice monthly Mom’s Morning Out group led by a lactation consultant to ask questions, get help with breastfeeding, and meet other moms that are going through similar experiences.
Lastly, when it comes to delivery inform hospital staff that you plan to breastfeed and your baby should not be given formula, water, pacifiers, or artificial nipples without your permission. If you are developing a birth plan, this would be an ideal place to put this information.
Everyone has a different experience with breastfeeding. At The Care Connection, we are here to help prepare you, support your journey, and help you to feel confident as a breastfeeding mom. If you have additional questions on preparing to breastfed, please give us a call, we’re here to help!
Written By: Shawna Radder, RN, IBCLC