As you get ready to become a parent, preparing for breastfeeding is one of the important steps you may want to consider. About a month before your due date, spend some time learning about breastfeeding and how to make it work for you and your baby
It can be easy to assume that breastfeeding should be effortless, especially with the pressure to be a perfect parent. However, the truth is that there is more to it than meets the eye.
Becoming informed about breastfeeding will help you feel more confident and prepared once your baby arrives. Taking a few steps to learn about breastfeeding before baby comes can make a big difference in your success.
5 Tips for Preparing for Breastfeeding Success
Order a Breast Pump and Accessories
Many people choose to pump for a variety of reasons. For some, it may be to continue providing breast milk for their baby after returning to work from maternity leave. Others may pump because they produce more milk than their baby can consume during feedings, or they may be working to increase their milk supply. No matter the reason, pumping can provide many benefits for both mother and child.
When you have decided on a breast pump, you will need to get some storage bags for your milk. Some other helpful accessories include bottles, bottle warmers, nursing bras, burp cloths and more. For recommendations check out our full list of must-have breastfeeding products.
Learn about Breastfeeding and Where to Find Support
Although latching is key, there are other important aspects to breastfeeding. For example, how you position the baby and how often you breastfeed can make a big difference. Plus, it’s not uncommon to face certain challenges while breastfeeding. So what are some of the most common breastfeeding problems and how can they be remedied?
Ahead of your birth, make the time to seek out resources that can tell you all you need to know about breastfeeding. This can be as simple as googling, but it can also mean taking a breastfeeding class, getting involved with a support group like La Leche League, or connecting with a professional lactation consultant (who you can often find through your hospital, your pediatrician, or your insurance provider).
Having a support system will give you someone to contact directly with any questions or concerns you have about breastfeeding and your baby’s nutrition.
Establish Skin-on-Skin Contact Right Away
Your new baby is here! Congratulations! One of the best ways to start bonding with your baby and promoting breastfeeding is to do skin-to-skin contact. This means holding your naked baby against your bare chest. Not only does this create a safe and comforting space for your baby, but it also helps stimulate feeding. Keep in mind that babies are born wanting to breastfeed, so with a little bit of preparation, you’ll be up and running in no time.
Plan to Prevent Nipple Confusion
Babies can become easily confused and frustrated when they are constantly being switched between the breast and the bottle. This is known as nipple confusion, and it can cause newborns to become irritable around feeding time. To avoid this, it’s important not to switch back and forth too often or too early.
If you give your newborn a bottle before you start breastfeeding, it can be hard for your baby to latch onto the nipple. They may also have trouble understanding the difference between breastmilk and formula. As a result, they may not be able to breastfeed successfully or may refuse to latch altogether.
Nipple confusion is a real problem for new moms, but it can be avoided if you plan ahead. Do not introduce a bottle until your breastfeeding routine is well established. This will help your baby avoid any confusion between the two different types of nipples.
Use Family and Friends to Help Maintain Feeding Times
Before giving birth, have conversations with your partner, family, and friends to see how they can give you support as you establish a breastfeeding routine. This can mean keeping feeding times consistent even when you’re not around by making sure your family has access to your stored breastmilk and bottles or seeing how your inner circle can help you with everything else while you’re spending time breastfeeding—like cooking, doing household chores, running errands.