Originally printed in Yeg Inspired Newborn Guide magazine, 2016 issue #1
If you’re expecting, now is a great time to start thinking about breastfeeding! Planning ahead can help you set the foundation for meeting your breastfeeding goals. Learning the basics now can also help you understand what you can expect and how to avoid some common bumps in the road.
Like writing a birth plan, writing a breastfeeding plan gives the opportunity to map out how you want to approach things. Some points to consider include:
Birth: Planning for a low-intervention birth can set the groundwork for easy early breastfeeding. Avoiding medications when you’re able to helps ensure baby is alert and organized during early feeds.
Immediately after birth: Keeping baby with you and skin-to-skin as much as possible helps get breastfeeding off on the right food. You can minimize separation by having baby placed your chest immediately after birth and delaying routine procedures such as weighing ad bathing.
Early feeds: Frequent feeds throughout the days and nights are key to establishing a solid milk supply. A minimum of 10 to 12 feeds per 24 hours is a good rule of thumb. Offer both sides at each feed and let baby nurse until they’re satisfied.
Supplies: A few basic supplies are good to have on hand before baby arrives. Often, a few comfortable nursing bras and some nursing pads are all that you’ll need. Some parents like to use nursing pillows but often pillows you already have at home will work just fine.
Self-care: It’s easy to have high expectations of the early weeks, but plan ahead to ensure your focus will be on recovery from birth and establishing breastfeeding. Stock up on freezer meals or easy foods, plan for the absolute minimum for housework, and delay entertaining visitors. This special time where you and baby are learning about breastfeeding is time you won’t get back!
Resources: Find out who can help you out when you encounter difficulties. Connect with your local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and consider booking a prenatal appointment if you have concerns about breastfeeding. Look up your local La Leche League meetings and have a Leader’s phone number on hand. Some good written resources to access include the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or the website KellyMom.com. Peer-to-peer support groups online can also be invaluable.
Breastfeeding is a rewarding experience and meeting your personal breastfeeding goals can be easier with these basic steps. Enjoy your baby and let the happy breastfeeding hormones flow!