Having a baby is such an exciting time! As new (or even repeat) moms, we have a ton of things to think about - from what name to choose to what stroller buy - and it can get quite stressful! Fortunately, planning to breastfeed doesn’t have to be one of those stressors. With a few well-laid plans, you and your babe can get breastfeeding off to a great start. Check out my five tips below!
Prepare Prenatally! They say knowledge is power, so take advantage. Check out a local prenatal breastfeeding workshop or class. Check out your local La Leche League for meeting times or one-on-one support. Browse the internet for useful breastfeeding information—but be careful, look at websites with credible health information like those from health organizations.
Consider your birth plan! The way a baby is born can have some affect on breastfeeding. For example, certain interventions and cesarean sections can delay milk production. That being said, sometimes things happen in birth that we did not plan for. That’s okay! Know that there is help available afterwards if you experience problems.
When baby is born, keep him or her nice and close! Have a “babymoon” where the two of you hunker down and spend lots of time cuddling, doing skin-to-skin and nursing. Skin-to-skin, or having baby bare chest to bare chest with mom, is very comforting for babes, stimulates production of breastmilk in moms, and encourages babe to latch.
Check that latch! How does it look and feel when baby is breastfeeding? Baby should have a nice wide latch with their lips flared out like a little fishy. Baby won’t be on just the nipple but will have some areola in the mouth as well. After some initial suckling, baby will be taking long deeps sucks, you will see that baby is swallowing, and baby will be having an adequate amount of pees and poops. Most important, mom should not be in pain!
- Get Support! I can’t promise you that there won’t be bumps along the road (trust me, I have been there!) but the good news is that there is a ton of great help available to you. Talk to your partner about how they can help (burp and change baby, drive mom to any appointments and take notes for her, etc…). Look for local community support groups like the La Leche League. Seek help from trained lactation professionals like those at your local health unit.
I hope these tips help to get your breastfeeding journey off to a good start. Should you experience any challenges, don’t forget there is help available! Good luck mommas!
- Heidi Reynolds, Lactation Educator & La Leche League Leader