There are plenty of reasons to breastfeed— health benefits for mom and baby, cost savings and environmental benefits. If you’ve decided you want to nurse your baby, here’s how to prepare before your baby is born.
1) Learn the ropes.
Try to attend a class at your local hospital or birthing center. Get a reliable book on breastfeeding. Many find Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher to be a good choice. Breastfeeding With Confidence by Sue Cox is another excellent book. See if you can spend time around someone who is breastfeeding her baby or attend a La Leche League meeting. On the job training is easier if you’ve seen someone doing the job at least once.
2) Line up help.
Make sure there is someone you can call once you get home for the inevitable questions you will have. Hospital lactation consultants can often do brief troubleshooting or refer you to someone who can help. La Leche League has local chapters and a national hotline. It would be best to line up a lactation consultant who can come to your home, since you can’t get out easily during the first days.
3) Have the right equipment.
Get a good quality double breast pump. Many moms who are not going back to work feel they may not need it, but if they end up with problems, a last minute trip to the local baby store may not give you the choice and variety that would be yours if you’d shopped earlier. Many moms like a feeding pillow— your choice should be based more on your size than on what your friends use. Moms with a long torso can use a wider pillow than shorter mothers. You don’t want the baby positioned up by your neck. A bed pillow can work just fine. Several hot/cold gel packs can be very helpful. Heat helps a lot of moms let down, and cold is great for the inflammation associated with engorgement and plugged ducts
4) Nurse immediately after delivery, eve