Prepare for Breastfeeding Success

August 29, 2018

What you do before your baby arrives and even in those first few hours and days after she’s born can set the stage for your breastfeeding experience. Here’s how to prep yourself for success.

Get help before your baby arrives.
Consider meeting with a lactation consultant before you give birth. She can share tips to help in the beginning and you can call her later if you have a problem. Look for an expert through the International Lactation Consultant Association, whose board-certified lactation
consultants (IBCLCs) have the most training.

See the real thing in action.
Ask a friend who’s nursing if you can watch how she does it. Otherwise, you could attend a La Leche League meeting or another breastfeeding support group where you can see moms feeding their babies.

Enlist your partner.
It’s hard to go it alone, so get help if you can. “If possible, your partner should be there when you meet with the lactation consultant, in the hospital and later. You may be so overwhelmed and sleep-deprived that it will be hard to process information,” says Jan Ellen Brown, IBCLC, co-author of 25 Things Every Nursing Mother Needs to Know.

Tell the hospital staff what you want.
Get your hospital and nursing staff on board with your wishes. Ask if it’s possible for you to keep your baby in the room with you at all times. “Rooming-in will make it easier for you to bond with your baby, learn her feeding cues and better establish breastfeeding,” says Laurie Jones, M.D., IBCLC, a pediatrician in Phoenix. Make the most of your hospital stay.

Try to nurse within the first hour after delivery.
Most babies are born ready to nurse. “Two hours later, your baby may be hard to rouse. You may produce just a few drops of colostrum, but a newborn’s stomach is only the size of a marble,” says Jenny Thomas, M.D., IBCLC, author of Dr. Jen’s Guide to Breastfeeding.

Don’t wait to get help.
If it doesn’t feel like it’s working, it might not be. If nursing hurts or something just doesn’t
feel right, call a lactation expert.

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