6 Ways to Prepare For Breastfeeding Before Baby Arrives

Breastfeeding is natural, but doesn’t always come naturally. Many women struggle with it. But there are certain things you can do before your baby arrives to help you prepare to reach your lactation goals.

Some top lactation consultants (IBCLCs) share what you can do ahead of time to prepare for breastfeeding.

 
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“Gather Information and Resources”

-Chelsea DeSorbo, IBCLC, RLC at Bliss Lactation

“Gather information and resources! Take a breastfeeding class, schedule a prenatal consultation with an IBCLC, read books related to breastfeeding, identify local resources such as support groups, lactation consultants, and friends who can support your goals for breastfeeding.”


“Set up an interview.”

-Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC at Lactation Link

“Set up an interview. Many healthcare offices offer an interview with the provider before becoming a patient. Use this time to ask some questions such as, if they have a breastfeeding-friendly office policy, are supportive of continuing breastfeeding even if an issue like jaundice arises, or if they have IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to refer to if you experience problems.”


“sit in on a local breastfeeding support group.”

-Julie Matheney, IBCLC at The LA Lactation Lady

“The number one thing I would recommend is to take a high quality prenatal breastfeeding class. We as a society have such a lack of understanding of how our bodies work. You need to know how milk is made and have a basic and realistic understanding of what breastfeeding will look like. If you’re really proactive, sit in on a local breastfeeding support group. It’ll give you an idea of some of the difficulties that women may face and you’ll know where to go should your own problems arise.”


“Have a lactation consultant lined up.”

-Barbara Ryan, IBCLC at Barbara Ryan IBCLC

“Take a class, read books, talk with other moms. Have your healthcare professional look at your health history and examine your breasts to make sure medically and physically things are discussed to make sure you have the best breastfeeding outcome. For example, if you have flat and inverted nipples there are things you can do in pregnancy that can help pull them out if needed. Also, have a lactation consultant lined up. Meet with them before your delivery so it’ll give you a more confident start and you can lean on them once baby is born.”


“Include a feeding plan for the first 3 days in your birth plan.”

-Danielle Downs Spradlin, IBCLC at Oasis Lactation Services

“Tell everyone on the birth support team that you intend to breastfeed. Include a feeding plan for the first three days in your birth plan. Mention things like pacifier use, where baby will sleep, and what to do if you and baby get separated after delivery.”

“Set Expectations.”

-Beverley Rae, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Resources

Breastfeeding is a learned skill that requires a lot of practice. In the early weeks it’s often not the breastfeeding so much as all the ‘other stuff' (and especially the lack of sleep) that makes it feel so daunting. Ask for help and hang in there!

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