Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. It’s a way to provide all kinds of benefits to your baby and yourself. What new moms realize is that it can be hard! These are 11 tips to help you on your breastfeeding journey.
- Take a class.
Be sure to take a prenatal breastfeeding class. This will help you to understand how breastfeeding works, different positions to be comfortable, when to call for help, what bumps in the road you may come across, how to pump, and so much more. Here is a great infographic on the general benefits of breastfeeding.
- Get a list of professionals’ information beforehand.
Make sure you have a list of 2-3 lactation specialists handy before you give birth. You don’t want to be having a difficult time and trying to research names while stressed. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
- Buy 1 or 2 bras now.
There is a good chance your breast size will change once you start breastfeeding (read: they will probably get bigger!). But get one or two nursing bras/tank tops while pregnant so you have them when you get home from the hospital. You can look for sizes like small, medium, large instead of more specific bra sizes until you know what you are after birth. Be sure to get wireless and no shelf tank tops!
- Order your pump.
Most insurance companies cover breast pumps now. Call your insurance company to see if they will cover one. If they do, then they will direct you on where to order it. Some may need a doctor’s prescription to order and others will connect you to a company to order.
- Know when to call for help.
This is where that prenatal class comes in. Try to learn what is normal and what is not normal. For instance, pain = NOT normal. Your nipples do not need to “get used to it”. Nipple pain is associated with a poor latch and needs to be evaluated. Don’t wait to call for help. The moment you feel like something is off, or there is medical concern, call a lactation specialist! We want to nip the problem in the bud before it escalates.
- Know the law. Know your rights.
In New Jersey you have the right to breastfeed in any public area. Know your rights.
Here is the link for New Jersey’s Breastfeeding law.
Here is the link for pumping in the workplace law.
- Find support groups.
While pregnant, research various support groups in your area. Go while you are pregnant! You will learn a ton, hear other people’s experiences, and have a safe space to ask questions, vent, make friends, and so much more.
Local OB/Midwife offices
- Call your insurance.
While you are on the phone with your insurance provider ordering your pump, go ahead and ask them if they cover lactation specialists as well! Call your HSA/FSA account too in order to see if it is covered.
9. Watch YouTube videos.
Some great videos to watch in order to get ready for breastfeeding is:
The breast crawl (the magical hour after birth when baby crawls to the breast to feed)
Hand expression (pumping without the pump)
10. Watch a documentary.
If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch a great breastfeeding documentary called The Milky Way (for free!).
11. Set up breastfeeding stations.
Take some time to set up a basket in the places you think you will breastfeed more frequently. This could be the bedroom, the nursery, the living room, etc. Put things that you would need while you settle in to nurse your baby. These items could be a phone charger, remote, magazine/book, snacks, water, chapstick, more water, burp cloth, nursing pillow, etc.