Ready to Breastfeed? Start Here.
So you're ready to breastfeed, but where do you start? After all the research you've done, your head might be swirling with finding a launch point.
The journey starts before you begin. Breastfeeding entails a lot of learning. Here are some things you can do before the arrival of your little one to set yourself up for success.
If you haven't already, do some research! We have plenty of articles to get you in the right headspace. However, no matter how natural it may seem for some moms to feed their babies, it will not be easy for every woman. That's why research can help, but you’ll have some questions in mind that even months of preparation won't help to answer.
Research involves reading books, joining breastfeeding classes, and attending seminars that focus mainly on breastfeeding. A breastfeeding educator or counselor can support you at any phase in the process. The more you learn, the more you'll be eager to breastfeed. This also means your insecurities will be lessened. Knowledge can be empowering!
There are also helpful websites, such as ours, you should bookmark as good sources to turn to whenever you're confronted with complex issues. Sort out useful sites based on studies backed by evidence and personal experience ahead of time so you can reference them when you hit a snag.
Finally, download breastfeeding apps! A lot of apps provide daily tips and in depth information to assist your journey.
Choose A Provider Intentionally
We often neglect the importance of knowing and deeply trusting our provider. Don't brush this aside! It's necessary to know the person you'll entrust both you and your child’s life and health to.
Choose a provider who's a breastfeeding advocate. If you use a doctor, let her (or him) know you're planning to breastfeed your baby, too. It’s necessary to have support from medical practitioners if able because it's their area of expertise.
Let your provider know as much as possible. Share the condition of your nipples. Are they inverted or flat? Do you have any sensitivity or piercings? How about breast surgery? If you notice unusual changes like lumps or hematoma, you will have to discuss all these as well so you can be advised accordingly.
It's also essential for you to tell your doctor or midwife about your decision to room-in with your baby if you choose to give birth in the hospital. However, be ready to implement contingency plans. To have the best chance of success, avoid delay between birth and when you hold and feed your baby.
Choose a Lactation Consultant
Think you may have breastfeeding issues? Or maybe you just want to have a resource at hand in case. Ask your provider to recommend a lactation consultant. They will be your first line of support thanks to their experience and knowledge, which can make it easier for you to breastfeed your baby.
You'll learn breastfeeding basics and be able to get answers outright without having to do a deep internet search. There are certified breastfeeding consultants who are professional, skilled, and with a high accreditation level, but you can also use someone with more experience than official credentials.
Your relatives, family, and friends may also refer you to a lactation consultant, so ask for a personal reference.
Create Your Support Teams
Find a Hospital or Birth Center with Trained Staff and Adequate Facilities
Confirm with your doctor if it's possible to give birth in a hospital or center with trained staff who implement a system that facilitates breastfeeding from childbirth.
There are designated baby-friendly hospitals with professional staff who can provide help and support to both mom and baby. You may also consider hospitals with policies that encourage best breastfeeding practices such as skin-to-skin contact and rooming-in after delivery.
Mother to Mother Support
There are various support groups and programs that encourage sharing tips and experiences from mother to mother. These are often under the supervision of designated counselors who are breastfeeding experts.
Some programs provide food packages and breastfeeding supplies to moms who participate in events and activities.
Spouses, Partners, Family, and Friends
While you will be directly feeding your baby, the journey of breastfeeding is not only yours. It’s going to become your new way of life for however long you and your child decide. So, the support of your husband, partner and other family members and even friends is essential in your breastfeeding experience.
Educate your personal support system on what to do. Once your baby arrives, you will need help with just about everything, especially in the beginning. Prepare a list of things-to-do, like laundry, daily or weekly cleaning up, and running some errands. It will be challenging for you to manage all these while breastfeeding.
Finally, include your partner (and other children) as well. Bonding with a baby also includes cuddling, burping, and skin-to-skin contact, too.
How Can KeaBabies Help You Prepare?
Well, we have a large selection of amazing products to help you feel prepared for the beautiful bonding journey of breastfeeding. Here are a few honorable mentions:
You will be very busy after childbirth, especially when you decide to breastfeed. It's quite the bonding journey and we hope we provided you with ample literature to create a successful experience. Your preparation will allow you to smoothly exit the learning phase and enter being ever present while breastfeeding to create an even deeper lifetime bond!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.