Pregnant moms often ask me what they need to do to get ready to breastfeed once their baby arrives. Breastfeeding is one of the most valuable things you can do for your new baby and it is also something most new moms have never done before. Preparing before the baby arrives to learn about breastfeeding will leave you more comfortable and happier. We know that knowledge is power. The more you know, the easier feeding can be.
Top 7 List to Prepare for Breastfeeding
- Take a Breastfeeding Class. While many first-time pregnant women take a childbirth education class, a much lower percentage take a breastfeeding class. The moms who do take a breastfeeding class report that it was tremendously helpful in preparing them for breastfeeding. Did you know we just launched our Prenatal Feeding Class? Our workshop can be taken virtually or in person and we will teach you everything you need to know to be ready to nurse your baby. It also includes an E-book and a one on one private feeding assessment with an RN.
- Start collecting your colostrum after 37 weeks. Antenatal hand expression is the skill of expressing and storing colostrum while still pregnant. Colostrum is the first milk your breasts produce during pregnancy and is high in protein and rich in antibodies. Practicing hand expression prior to your baby’s arrival will allow you to build a freezer stash of colostrum to take with you to the hospital in case your baby needs supplementation. You will also find a new comfort level with yourself and your breasts that will make breastfeeding easier. Once you have your healthcare providers’ approval at 37 weeks, we would love to show you how to hand expression!
- Make a list of local Lactation Consultants/Lactation Counsellors who you can call for help. When a mom needs help with breastfeeding, she needs help NOW! Having a list of 2 lactation consultants/lactation counselors ahead of time will prevent you from feeling desperate and defeated. Reach out to your local LC’s and meet them ahead of time, find ones that line up with your feeding goals and who feel like the right fit with your family. Many are available for virtual visits right now!
- Make a Feeding Plan. Birth plans have been around for a while but feeding plans and postpartum plans are becoming more important. A feeding plan allows you to express your wishes and intentions when it comes to feeding your new baby. Even if you are planning on formula feeding your baby creating a feeding plan is equally as important. Think of the things you want and want to avoid when it comes to feeding your new baby. Don’t forget to include your local LC’s on your list. Keep a copy of your feeding plan in your hospital and on your fridge for easy access!
- Get good Prenatal care. I know this seems given but routine prenatal care can help you avoid premature birth and complications. You can also talk to your healthcare provider about any breast surgery/injury you may have had, medications you are taking during pregnancy and safety while breastfeeding and any underlying medical conditions that may affect your ability to breastfeed. You can also review what breastfeeding supports are available to you while in the hospital
- Talk to your friends who have breastfed – they are your cheerleaders and will be there for the long haul. Find out what tips and tricks they wish they’d known about ahead of time.
- Get the items you need for breastfeeding. Make sure you are stocked up in advance, so you don’t have to rely on family and friends to pick up the items for you. My suggestions on what to include are 2 nursing bras (Canadian owned & run by a power boss mom Joanna) Knixwear Leakproof nursing bras are my favourite. Nursing pads – I really like the fabric reusable ones as they do not cause chaffing and irritation on those sensitive nipples. Nipple ointment that is safe to breastfeed with like Lansinoh or Medela, lots to choose from but you want it to contain 100% lanolin. Pajamas with buttons for easy access for nursing. Frozen peas/gel packs/cabbage leaves to help ease engorgement. A nursing pillow, breast pump, breastmilk storage bags, bottles and any other items you feel you might need.
If you have any questions about your pregnancy and/or breastfeeding your newborn reach out to your local Mama Coach! We are all offering virtual visits right now instead of our normal in-home visits to keep you and your family safe.