Preparing for Breastfeeding: Before Baby Arrives
Bringing a new baby into the world takes a lot of planning and preparation – and that same kind of preparation is key if you’re pregnant now and planning to breastfeed. Here are some tips on how to prepare for breastfeeding and ensure your journey starts strong.
Talk to your hospital or healthcare provider about breastfeeding
If you’re taking advantage of the birthing center tours most hospitals offer, ask about how they will support your decision to breastfeed. If the hospital is designated as Baby-Friendly, this means they have taken extra steps to support breastfeeding. It’s good to ask if there is a Lactation Consultant on staff who will work with you before and after delivery. And you’ll want to know their standard procedures if you’re separated from your baby immediately after delivery for any reason.
Take a breastfeeding class
Take advantage of a breastfeeding class if your hospital offers it; this is a great way to familiarize yourself with the basics of breastfeeding while preparing for baby. If you’re unable to make it to a class, online resources may be an option for you.
Develop a breastfeeding support system
Informing your friends, family, or partner about the benefits of breastfeeding and the level of your commitment to it can help build their understanding of just what’s involved. The more they know about what you’re undertaking, they more they can help you best learn how to prepare for breastfeeding. A support system that gives advice, encourages you, and cheers you on will be important to you on your breastfeeding journey.
Learn about breast pumps
If you’re planning to pump, the right breast pump will be essential to your success. Start researching the different breast pump options available and make the best decision for your goals and situation. Will you be home when you pump? Will you return to work and pump in the workplace? Will you need to be on-the-go with your breast pump? Be sure to consider these questions ahead of time as you prepare for baby, and also reach out to your insurance provider to find out If a breast pump and breastfeeding supplies are covered under your health plan.
While you can never fully prepare for every single thing that will happen when baby comes home, being as informed as possible will give you a strong start. Breastfeeding will be a journey for you and your baby, from the early days of figuring things out until it’s time to wean. The knowledge and preparation you put into the start of that journey will pay off for both of you!