It’s not my first rodeo with breastfeeding, and I know what to expect with my 3rd baby but if I’ve learned anything it’s that preparing for breastfeeding before giving birth can be so helpful in your journey!
Here are some general tips for how you can prepare along with what I’m doing personally.
EDUCATE YOURSELF! #1
If nothing else, read up on breastfeeding so you have an idea of what to expect. I highly suggest The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding (thought it definietly gives you that ‘breast is best’ ONLY vibe which I don’t agree with pushing on new moms, I think that it’s still worth a read for all the information it provides). Even in my 3rd pregnancy I’m skimming it for a refresher!
I really, really suggest taking a breastfeeding course before giving birth and having your partner attend with you. If you’re feeling lost on where to start with this, ask your OBGYN and look at your hospital’s website. La Leche League is also a great resource. Now there is more and more breastfeeding support becoming available, drastically different from just 5 years ago when I was pregnant with Piper!
PICK OUT A PUMP!
Call your health insurance company and find out what their protocol is for breast pump coverage. I have a new insurance during this pregnancy and it’s on my list to call in the next few weeks. In the past I’ve been able to pre-order my pump but not actually have it ship/order until my baby was born. Somewhat annoying because it would be nice to familiarize yourself with the pump before having a newborn on hand, but my pumps have been 100% covered, so I didn’t complain! I would suggest watching a tutorial on how to use the pump you decide on and reading about it before you are sleep deprived and trying to figure it out! I had the Spectra S2 and Willow with Flora and loved both, I’m going to see what my insurance covers before starting research on what pump I want!
TALK TO YOUR PARTNER
Leading up to labor I’ve told Austin that it’s his job to make sure the nurses know I want to breastfeed my baby as soon as possible after birth. I’ve ended up letting them know this, but in case things happened quickly or I forgot I wanted to be sure he was on board to let my team know my wishes. I felt fortunate that it was second nature to the nurses at my hospital to do this anyways but it reassured me knowing Austin had this if I couldn’t!
GET YOUR SUPPLIES READY
Next week I’ll be sharing an updated post full of all of my breastfeeding essentials along with new products I’m trying this time, but I’m going to list out the main things I plan on having all ready when I get back from the hospital!
+Nursing baskets – one for our bedroom and one for the living room that hold all the supplies along with snacks, a book/Kindle
+Nipple Creams – Lanolin for the extremely chapped nipples I know I will have along with a gentler formula for every day use
+Warm & Cold Compresses – to help with engorgement
+Hakaa – to collect milk from the opposite side you’re nursing and start your stash
+Freezer bags + storage system for when you start pumping
+Plenty of PJs that you can easily nurse in. I like to have at least 5 sets of PJs that are nursing friendly, Piper spit up so much that I went through multiple nightshirts every night and quickly realized I didn’t have near enough.
+Nursing pads – I like both disposable and re-usable for leaky boobs, I have them for the first few months
+Nursing bras with support for when you leave the house, for sleeping to hold in your breast pads and for pumping hands-free.
DOWNLOAD AN APP
I don’t know how a first time mom would survive without a baby app to track feedings, pee/poo and sleep!!! GAME CHANGER! Set it up before your baby is born and sync up with your partner. It also helps you remember what side you are on when feeding, how long your feeding is etc. We have used the Sprout’s apps through all of our pregnancies & newborns and will continue to do this time unless I find something better!
STOCK UP ON LACTATION SNACKS
I highly suggest not taking anything to increase your milk supply until your milk is fully in and your baby is on a regular feeding schedule. I’m always engorged for several days and if I were eating lactation cookies that whole time I can’t imagine how I’d feel!! But it’s nice to have everything ready for once your supply evens out and you and baby have a good nursing relationship established!
I love lactation balls and cookies. I will make a few batches to freeze in the weeks leading up to my due date.
Hydration, hydration, hydration! I will plan on having several bottles of blue gatorade on hand along with this product my friend recommended.
Mother’s Milk tea and Pink Stork tea are also favorites to keep in stock!
And I saved the best for last. The truth is you can’t breastfeed alone. You WILL need support. Try to form that circle before you give birth. Connect with other moms in the same phase of pregnancy as you, get the referrals for trusted lactation consultants so you have them ready to go if you need to call. Join a Facebook group or local meet-up. Do this ALL before the baby is born so you are READY!