Just because breastfeeding is natural, doesn’t mean it’s always easy. If you are pregnant and plan on breastfeeding, set yourself up to succeed.
If your hospital or midwife has a lactation consultant, meet with them to have your baby’s latch evaluated. Getting a good latch helps ensure baby is transferring milk and mama will not be in pain. A lactation consultant is a great resource for a new mom.
When you first start breastfeeding, it is normal to experience engorgement and discomfort. The Lansinoh Breastfeeding Starter Pack includes lanolin and therapy packs to provide relief.
Lanolin or other nipple creams can help with nipple discomfort. Anything to get you through the first few weeks will help you succeed in the long run.
Nursing a baby takes a lot of time. Save your arms and get a breastfeeding pillow. It will be a great place for baby to nurse and will help keep them propped up to a good position.
If you know you will have a C-section, the Dr. Browns Gia Nursing Pillow is a great option. It is firm and taller than other pillows, which will elevate baby and keep them off your incision. Besides breastfeeding, these pillows can also come in handy for tummy time or for when baby is learning to sit.
When you are ready to be out and about, you’re going to have to feed your baby. While some moms are comfortable with breastfeeding anywhere, others prefer the privacy a nursing cover provides.
You can use a cover designed for breastfeeding, or use a swaddle blanket for privacy.
If you’re returning to work or just want to give someone else a chance to feed the baby, a good breast pump is important. Most insurance plans now cover a free breast pump. However, if you are not happy with the breast pump offered or want to try a different pump, you can either rent a hospital grade pump or purchase another pump.
Besides the actual pump, you’ll need storage containers and bottles. There are many, many options to choose from. Start with a smaller supply of bottles until you know which style baby prefers. Some babies are very discerning about their bottles!
Tip: Keep pump parts inside a reusable wet bag in the refrigerator between pumps while at work. This is helpful if you don’t have easy access to a sink or time to completely clean all parts between pumps.
As baby gets older, they may get easily distracted. Try to wear a nursing necklace or bangle to give them something they can easily grasp.
Set Realistic Expectations
Breastfeeding can be a significantly different experience from woman to woman and even child to child. Short term goals may help you succeed.
A great piece of advice I heard was to never give up on a hard day. If you have a bad day with breastfeeding or pumping and want to quit, wait a day. If you still feel like you are done, that is completely fine. If you quit on a bad day, you may regret it later. Think it over before you make a decision.
Above all else, make sure baby is fed and thriving. Remember, you’re one good mom!