I recommend four steps to help you prepare to breastfeed. I will go into more detail about each of these steps towards breastfeeding preparation below.
- Gather breastfeeding information
- Have conversations with your family to create the foundation of your breastfeeding support network.
- Take a Breastfeeding Continuing Education Course
- Reach out to a Lactation Consultant or Breastfeeding Organizations to build a support network with breastfeeding experts.
Gathering Information – You have already taken the first step in preparing to breastfeed by seeking out breastfeeding information like what is provided on Breastfeeding-Questions.com. Take your time and peruse the many articles designed to answer frequently asked breastfeeding questions.
Building a Family Support Network – Two of the most important people during the first weeks of breastfeeding are your partner and your mother. Your mother can be a great source of support especially if you were a breastfed child. If your mother will be playing an active role you may want to cover the same breastfeeding conversation topics recommended for your partner and listed below.
Your partner may not have taken the time to explore their own feelings with regard to your breastfeeding. Good communication with your partner before the birth will help you have a firmer base of support. They may need help to understand the new role your breasts will have. Some breastfeeding topics may wish to discuss with your partner are:
- Benefits of breastfeeding to your child
- Benefits of breastfeeding to you as a mother
- Ways your partner can offer support, practically and emotionally
- Ways your partner can bond with the baby
- How will your partner feel about your breastfeeding in public
Breastfeeding Continuing Education Courses – Prenatal breastfeeding classes are a great way to help you when preparing to breastfeed. You will generally find breastfeeding continuing education classes (breastfeeding ceu) offered at the hospital or the local La Leche League. Breastfeeding Classes can either be a single day or run over several weeks and will generally cover the following:
- Physiology of breastfeeding
- Importance of correct breastfeeding positions
- Breastfeeding expectations, hopes, and fears
- Breast milk expression
- Breast milk storage
- Role of the partner
- Opportunity to meet breastfeeding mothers
Building a Support Network of Breastfeeding Experts -Breastfeeding experts are an important part of your informational and breastfeeding support network. Often this is the last pillar completing your breastfeeding support network because breastfeeding experts like your lactation consultant play a stronger role after your child is born. It is a good idea to have spend time meeting with various breastfeeding experts before the baby is born. This gives you a chance to see who best meshes with your personality before you need them. Here a few other reasons to involve lactation consultants and other breastfeeding experts before the birth:
- If you are expecting twins (or more)
- If you have inverted nipples
- If there is a high chance of cesarean section during birth
- You are high risk for premature birth
- If you had difficulty breastfeeding a previous child
Building Breastfeeding Support Networks:
Six Suggestions For Creating a Supportive Nursing Environment
Build Your Breastfeeding Support Network