How to Prepare for Breastfeeding While Expecting
See our tips and advice on how to prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy, so you can be confident and ready when your little one 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. In an effort to help those expecting a baby in the near future, we’ve provided tips and advice on how to prepare for breastfeeding and ensure your journey starts strong.
Understanding Breastfeeding Support at Your Hospital
If you’re taking advantage of the birthing center tours most hospitals offer, ask 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. You’ll also want to know their standard procedures if you’re separated from your baby immediately after delivery for any reason. By understanding the processes, facilities, and support available at your hospital, you can feel confident when the time comes to bring your baby into the world.
Take a Breastfeeding Class
Take advantage of a breastfeeding class or a lactation support group if your hospital offers it; this is a great way to familiarize yourself with the basics of breastfeeding while preparing for your baby. Once your little one arrives, a support group – whether virtual or in-person – can help you navigate common breastfeeding challenges while providing access to healthcare and lactation professionals for personalized support. If you’re unable to make it to a class, online resources may be an option for you. It’s an excellent way to answer any questions that you may have regarding breastfeeding.
Find Breastfeeding Support Amongst Family and Friends
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 what’s involved. The more they know about what you’re undertaking, the more they can help you best learn how to prepare for breastfeeding and encourage you to continue after your baby arrives. A support system that gives advice and cheers you on will be vital to you on your breastfeeding journey.
Find the Ideal Breast Pump
If you’re planning to pump, the right breast pump will be essential to your success and can help you along the way. 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 at your 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 your 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.
Invest in Pumping-Friendly Clothing
In addition to a breast pump, you might find it beneficial to invest in nursing-friendly clothing and accessories. Nursing bras, pillows, and tank tops can make breast milk feeding more comfortable and practical, helping you conveniently breastfeed or pump whenever and wherever you are.
While you can never fully prepare for every single thing that will happen when your 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. Preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy is highly beneficial for you and your little one and is an excellent way to know what to expect ahead of time so you can be ready to meet your breast milk feeding goals.