Breastfeeding: Getting Started
Breastfeeding provides the ideal food to your baby, and it also helps build the important bond between baby and mom. We know you’re busy, and we can share some ways you can prepare, plan, and simplify your daily routine that will make breastfeeding go more smoothly for both of you.
Be confident about what you want for you, your baby, and your family.
When it comes to birth and feeding your baby, everyone has an opinion—relatives, friends, co-workers, even strangers at the grocery store. When they share these, relax and remember that you are the expert when it comes to your baby and what you want.
It may be helpful to surround yourself with people who are informed and believe in what you are doing. Need help finding support? Try attending a breast feeding class or look for a support group.
Think about ways to handle others’ comments with phrases like “Our doctor really supports our parenting and nutrition choices." ...“Hmmm…this really seems to work best for our family.” “Thanks so much for your concern. You know, what we really need is help with [laundry, meals, etc.]”
Know your hospital’s labor, delivery, and postpartum policies and procedures.
Do your research, and write a birth plan that includes your wishes for labor, delivery, and the post partum period (an unmedicated, gentle birth) with the goal of preserving and promoting your mothering and your baby’s feeding instincts. For instance, make sure hospital staff knows that if your baby has to go to the nursery, you want your partner to accompany her to minimize separations. Should medical intervention or a cesarean delivery become necessary, having a post-partum plan for your caregivers will be useful. (You can also ask for a “gentle cesarean.”)
Familiarize yourself with newborn behavior and the post partum period.
A newborn needs to feed frequently because her stomach is so small (it’s only about the size of a marble). And because babies need more than just nutrition from mom, be sure to hold her as often as you can. Skin-to-skin contact (resting on mom’s chest) is important for comfort, warmth, and bonding.
You may want to wait until after your baby’s born to purchase infant and breastfeeding products. After delivery, you’ll have a better idea what you need. And if you need a breast pump right away, your health care provider will be able to get a hospital grade pump for you.
Plan on a “babymoon.”
Once your baby is born, don’t feel obligated to play the hostess. You, your baby, and your partner need time to rest, and to get to know each other. These first few days and weeks are a time when you can start listening to your inner “mom” voice and when your family will get to know one another. Limit the number of visitors you have, or maybe ask friends and family to help by providing meals, running errands, and performing light chores around the house while you rest and feed baby.
To get breastfeeding off to a good start, keep it simple, ask for the help you need, and above all, enjoy your baby!