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.
- 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.