Prepare for Breastfeeding
Before Giving Birth
Sundays are for moms – and moms-to-be! This is the first post from our new partner, Bravado! Designs. Bravado! Designs is the premier nursing clothing company and breastfeeding expert. They will bring tips for Skimbaco readers once a month. Many women spend months preparing for labor and delivery. However, now is the time to also prepare for the mom-and-baby dance that lies ahead. Breastfeeding is a learning process for both you and your baby. A little advance planning and preparation while pregnant can set you up for breastfeeding success and ease your transition to becoming a nursing mother. 1. Watch someone breastfeed. The single most important thing you can do is to sit with a new mother while she breastfeeds. Observe what she does and ask questions; new mothers are generally eager to help others. If you don’t know anyone who is currently breastfeeding, attend a local breastfeeding support group. Your midwife, OB/GYN or pediatrician can help you find one, or visit La Leche League 2. Talk to your partner about breastfeeding. Your partner will probably be your greatest source of support. Have a candid discussion about what is involved – chances are he doesn’t really know – and how he can best support you. 3. Do some research. Ask mothers who have enjoyed breastfeeding success to share their own experiences and challenges. Explore the many resources available, both online and in print. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the breastfeeding process, how to get a good latch, and what the first few weeks will be like. Looking for a place to start? Check out the Bravado Breastfeeding Resource Library. 4. Talk to your employer. Talk to your employer if you plan to breastfeed when you return to work. Speak to your employer prior to going on maternity leave. Identify a location where you can use a breast pump privately, and discuss the need for reasonable breaks. It is far easier to plan your return to work in advance than to show up on your first day back and figure it out on the fly. Learn more about how to prepare for going back to work. 5. Establish a good breastfeeding support network. In the first few weeks of sleepless nights and dealing with the reality of being a parent, having a good breastfeeding support network around you is critical. This means people who encourage you, lend a hand whenever you need help, and make you feel like you are not alone. Having one or two strong breastfeeding supporters in your corner can make all the difference in those first few, often challenging, weeks. Looking for some online support? Check out the Breastfeeding Diaries, an online blog that chronicles the breastfeeding journeys of real moms from diverse backgrounds. 6. Identify a professional resource in advance case you need help. Sometimes a new breastfeeding relationship doesn’t start smoothly. Lactation Consultants specialize in helping new mothers achieve breastfeeding success. To find one, ask other mothers, your OB/GYN or pediatrician, midwife, or visit the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). Getting help if you need it early on can make all the difference for breastfeeding success.
When you’re going in for prenatal checkups, ask if your delivery hospital has a breastfeeding workshop. We took a zillion prenatal classes while I was pregnant with Roo and even though a lot of them felt oddly like high school health classes (only filled with pregnant ladies!), hearing all of the worst case scenarios really helped. I was so convinced breastfeeding was going to be unbelievably hard and was pleasantly surprised at how well Roo took to it, immediately. With Jasper, I already knew I was going to breastfeed but he had to stay in the NICU for ten days with a feeding tube and I was so paranoid that he wouldn’t know how to latch on. I borrowed a hospital grade pump so he could still be fed my milk and by the time he was released, he was a milk hog!
That being said, I think it’s important to be compassionate and non-judgmental towards women who don’t breastfeed, regardless of whether it’s because they can’t or if they just don’t want to.