You're planning on breastfeeding. Now what?
You’re planning on breastfeeding when your baby arrives. What do you need to do before hand?
Be sure you are fully educated on what it takes to breastfeed. Hydration, patience and support from your partner, pediatrician and family is paramount. Talk with your partner about what you will need from them once baby comes. Get a Lactation Consultant on your back burner sooner rather than later because once you’re in the throws of newborn life you won’t have the brain cells to research someone you click with.
The breastfeeding class you may take before your baby arrives will cover the bare basics. Find a more in depth class or contact a doula or midwife for information. Mother/baby birth and postpartum workers are trained to be the first line of defense before a LC.
Before baby is born get a nice water bottle. I hear the same statement over and over when it comes to breastfeeding parents. “As soon as my baby latches I get incredibly thirsty. And if I’ve forgotten my water bottle in the other room I’m in trouble.” Something you can ask your partner to do is that when they are home, they make sure you have a snack and water near to hand when you are nursing your baby. Have this conversation before the arrival of baby so that you are both on the same page.
Now what about those of you who have an older child? How do you keep them entertained when they are home, it’s just you and the kids and you need to nurse? Create a bag of special toys, games they can play alone, books or other quiet solo activities. This bag will only come out when you need to nurse. It will keep your older child occupied so you can focus on a good latch and your baby’s cues. However, don’t feel guilty if you need put the older sibling in front of the television for a short time while you nurse. Knowing that your children are safe so you aren’t stressed is more important than the no screen rule. If there is another adult around (partner, family, friends, doula) they can play with the older sibling and make sure you have water and snacks.
Be sure to check out your local breastfeeding groups and Le Leche League. They will be a great place for resources, questions and support. I hope this short intro helps and I wish you success in your breastfeeding journey!