How can I best prepare for breastfeeding my newborn?
As your expected due date gets closer and you have completed your birth planning and prenatal classes, you have probably wondered how breastfeeding will go for you and your baby. For parents expecting multiples, the anticipation and worries are even greater.
Here are some tips you can take advantage of when it comes to your hospital stay and breastfeeding support after delivery:
- Schedule a prenatal hospital tour. You’ll have a chance to see the layout of the hospital unit, including the labor and delivery area, postpartum and neonatal care area.
- On the hospital tour you will be able to ask questions about who is going to provide the care you need to initiate early breastfeeding, or use a breast pump should that be necessary.
- If you are delivering in a birth center, you will find all the care is provided in one room where you spend all of your time together.
- Most birth centers now have staff that are dedicated to helping moms and babies with early latch-on and infant feeding plans. Some medical centers have Board Certified Lactation Consultants, while others have Lactation Educators and some have Lactation Peer Counselors.
- Most hospitals have registered nurses working in all areas of prenatal and postpartum care, and most of them have advanced training in breastfeeding. These nurses will help you with early attachment, starting immediately after the birth and continuing through the entire hospital stay.
- Many hospitals now provide at least one, if not more, visits by a lactation consultant to your room prior to being discharged. Lactation Consultants also work at the bedside of NICU babies to make sure they are feeding well before they are sent home with you.
- If you feel you are not having the success you expected, ask for help while you are still in the hospital. The consultants can show you basic positioning and latch-on skills; they can also evaluate your infant while they provide care and make sure your baby is off to a good start. The consultants can also check for tongue-tie or lip-tie and alert the pediatrician if this needs to be addressed. In the event that your baby is moved to the special care nursery, the lactation staff will provide pump education and support to ensure your milk production is initiated early.
- If you are concerned that you’re not getting the help and attention you need, let your primary nurse know so they can take necessary action to get you the support you need.
- Talk with your baby’s pediatrician or your obstetrician before you leave the hospital, and get contact information for the lactation consultants they recommend for additional help.
- Ask your friends and family if they have a professional who helped them with nursing and get the contact information. Check your lactation consultant’s experience and credentials before you book an appointment.
This experience should be a positive one for you and your family. You need to surround yourself with kind, caring and supportive individuals who will nurture you and your family through the first few weeks and beyond.
You deserve to have the breastfeeding relationship you planned for, and having a support team around you from the beginning is essential for your success. Ask questions, ask for help and when something doesn’t feel right, reach out for more help. Although there are no guarantees of breastfeeding success for any mother or baby, we want you to have many options available to you when you start the breastfeeding journey. Let your lactation consultant be part of that journey with you.
Looking for more support on your breastfeeding journey? Reach out to a lactation consultant on our team for more personalized care for you and your baby.