These tips for Setting Yourself Up for a Positive Breastfeeding Experience will help you in your breastfeeding experience no matter what goals you have.
*DISCLOSURE: THIS IS A SPONSORED POST ON BEHALF OF INSPIRA HEALTH. THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE 100% MY OWN.
We recommend reading this while you are still pregnant, but if you have already delivered, or even if you are still in the planning stages of your pregnancy, there are still benefits in setting yourself up for a positive breastfeeding experience. We hope you’ll save this and refer back to it as needed.
First and foremost, I want to start by saying whether you breastfeed only once or for five years, every drop of breastmilk that your child receives is a gift.
The second thing I want to say is that breastfeeding is HARD. Listen, I’m not going to sugar coat it: it’s not easy, and it takes work. The first few days (even weeks) as you adjust can hurt. These are the things that I truly wish someone told me when I started breastfeeding my first child.
To be quite honest, I never thought I would ever reach my original goal of breastfeeding for six weeks. I remember crying to Andrew, saying this was too hard. I remember telling him I just wanted to give up. Luckily, I had done a few things ahead of delivering my baby that set our breastfeeding dyad up for success and, despite those tough first days, we went on to nurse for four years.
How to Set Yourself Up for a Positive Breastfeeding Experience
There are plenty of things that you can do to ensure that you have a positive breastfeeding experience. Even if you are unsure about whether or not you want to breastfeed, it’s worth taking the time to prepare so that, if you decide to do so, you are ready.
Before Baby Arrives
The most important thing you can do is prepare yourself before your baby even arrives.
According to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Deborah Frye of Inspira Health, this preparation should be happening at your doctor’s office. In a recent phone interview, Frye said that one of her goals is ensuring that doctors are discussing breastfeeding in their practices with mothers well before delivery even happens. Her prenatal office training program enables doctors to set families up for success before the baby arrives.
But it’s not all the doctor’s responsibility. Ultimately, it’s up to you to educate yourself.
My top three reading resources before your baby arrives are:
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
- Known as the Breastfeeding Bible – it covers pretty much everything you could possibly want to know about.
- Basically, the internet form of a breastfeeding bible. Read as much as you can on the entire site and then bookmark it to refer back to constantly once baby is here.
- 50 Breastfeeding Myths Busted
- Definitely not as comprehensive as the first two listed above, but it’s a quick read that will help a lot of moms realize that a lot of what they’ve been told isn’t true.
Also, look into whether or not your hospital offers a breastfeeding prep course. Frye explained that every month, there is at least one breastfeeding course open to all expecting mothers at one of Inspira Health’s hospitals. Going to a meeting like this and being able to ask and have your questions answered is highly beneficial.
It’s also important to set up support systems before your baby arrives. It’s truly one of the most important things that you can do.
You need people who are going to be supportive of you, your baby, and your breastfeeding relationship. Ideally, this system includes your partner and maybe your mother, MIL, or best friend.
However, we know that’s not always possible for everyone. If that is the case, we highly recommend seeking outside support systems.
Frye informed me that at Inspira Health, every mother receives a follow-up phone call checking in a few days after leaving. Additionally, moms always have a phone number to reach her during normal business hours.
Knowing that you have that kind of consistent support is highly beneficial, but we know that not all moms are afforded that luxury.
Hospital breastfeeding support groups are another great option. According to Frye, there is a weekly support group at Inspira Medical Center Vineland open to women who deliver at any Inspira location.
Seeing other breastfeeding moms, meeting with an IBCLC, and truly feeling at ease in their breastfeeding journey is helpful for every mom.
If your local hospital does not offer this, my next advice would be finding a local La Leche League near you.
Wherever you find a group, I actually encourage going to a meeting or two before your baby arrives so that you can see and be around other mothers nursing, and ask any questions upfront that you may have.
It was valuable to me to become comfortable around other mothers who were nursing so that when I went out in public around people I didn’t know, I had more confidence.
Once Baby is Here
Once the baby is here, it’s all over after that. JUST PLAYING!
In all seriousness, once the baby arrives, it’s likely that everything I told you to do above is going to fly out the window (at least for the first few days). It’s important to remember to stay calm and remember that you already have support systems in place.
It’s good to enlist your partner to help with breastfeeding the new baby. Simple tasks like bringing you the baby when you are in a comfortable position or grabbing you water to drink while you breastfeed are ways your partner can make you feel supported and reduce your stress.
I’d encourage you to set a goal of breastfeeding for at least six weeks and try to stick with it. By using all the tools in outlined above, you should be more than capable of making that happen, and any goals you set after!
We hope you found this post on setting yourself up for a positive breastfeeding experience helpful! Leave a comment below. Let us know what your favorite tip is or, if you have another helpful tip, we’d love to hear that as well!