Preparing for Breastfeeding

If you're planning to breastfeed, remember it's just like learning any other new skill. And you get better with practice. Here's how to prepare.

Get Info

  • Talk to your OB and pediatrician about breastfeeding.
  • Read a few books, such as the New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Don't Go It Alone

  • See if your hospital has a lactation consultant to help new moms learn about breastfeeding. Many hospitals offer this service for free.
  • If not, consider hiring a certified lactation consultant yourself. For more information, contact the International Lactation Consultant Association.
  • Keep handy your lactation coach's and pediatrician's phone numbers.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing.
  • Be prepared for some breastfeeding challenges. It may take patience to figure out how to get a hungry baby to latch onto your breast.

Make It a Family Decision

  • Talk to your partner about breastfeeding.
  • Plan how to make your mate feel involved in feeding.

Plan the Details

  • Talk with your doctor about how you should eat when breastfeeding. Ask how to know if your baby has any intolerance to certain foods you eat.
  • Ask your doctor about birth control while breastfeeding.
  • Talk to other moms who breastfeed or have breastfed. Ask them how they fit pumping into their work schedule and how they coped with sore nipples. Join a local new mom's group for advice and support.

Get Set to Go

  • Set up a quiet corner or room for breastfeeding.
  • Many women find the U-shaped pillows particularly helpful for nursing.
  • Some women find it helps to have their feet raised on a footstool.
  • Have your nursing bras washed and ready, if you haven't already started wearing them.
  • Line up several button down shirts or dresses to make nursing easier.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on June 05, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

University of Florida: "Emotional and Physical Preparation for Breast Feeding."

American Academy of Pediatrics:  "Things to Avoid When Breastfeeding," "Expressing Breastmilk on the Job," "Common Myths about Breastfeeding," "Breastfeeding Positions," "New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition, 2011."

CDC: "The CDC Guide To Breastfeeding Interventions," "Educating Mothers."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Manage Your Stress."

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