Ashleigh Richmond, IBCLC, RLC, CPD
Congratulations! You have a baby on the way. You’ve picked your provider, you have a doula ready to go and you are preparing your birth plan. Infant feeding is usually pretty far down the priority list during pregnancy, but I’m hoping to change that for you. I’ve spoken to many soon-to-be parents during their pregnancy who really want to breastfeed, but aren’t sure how to prepare. Here are some things to add to your to-do list that will help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
Take a breastfeeding class
Breastfeeding is natural, but it takes practice. It’s helpful to know what to expect to set yourself up for success. A good prenatal breastfeeding class will go over the benefits of breastfeeding, what to expect in the early days, latching techniques, tips and tricks and possible challenges. I offer a comprehensive, interactive class that goes through all of this with plenty of time to answer your questions throughout. Sign up here: https://www.guidingmothers.com/classes
Read books about breastfeeding
I know books are “old school”, at least they are if you ask my son, but there are some great resources out there. Some of my favorites are: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding from La Leche League, Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher and The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers by Dr. Jack Newman. If you prefer websites check out kellymom.com. Be wary of the information on social media. If it’s not coming from a lactation professional it may not be accurate.
Know who to call when you need help
It takes a village to raise a child and also to breastfeed. Find your local IBCLC lactation consultant, have their contact information handy and connect with them prenatally. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the gold standard of lactation professionals. Our education is extensive and lactation specific. For most of us, it takes years to get through the education, clinical hours and then to sit for our board certifying exam. I highly recommend a prenatal visit with an IBCLC if you are at high risk for lactation challenges. These would be previous breastfeeding difficulties, diabetes, insulin resistance, PCOS, thyroid disorders, IGT, breast/nipple surgery or trauma. If you have certain medical insurance plans, a visit with an IBCLC may be covered. Contact your local IBCLC for more information. Finding a local support group can be very helpful as well. This could be WIC groups, La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, Baby Cafe or another support group.
Build your support network
Breastfeeding a newborn is a full-time job. Who in your support network can help with day to day life. Can you start a meal train? Do you have a family member or friend who could take your older child for a few hours? What about a postpartum doula? Postpartum doulas are an extra set of skilled hands that would allow you time to rest, be there for you emotionally during postpartum and can help support your feeding goals. Doulas Milwaukee is a wonderful resource when looking for postpartum doulas.
Prioritize Skin to Skin
Your breastfeeding class will go over how to get the best start to breastfeeding, but the #1 recommendation is to do skin to skin immediately after birth. Discuss this with your provider and make sure they are aware that it’s a priority for you. As long as both you and your baby are medically stable this should be easily accommodated. Skin to skin stabilizes your baby’s temperature, heart rate and breathing rate. It also colonizes your baby’s immature gut with your bacteria which is what we want! Best of all, your baby will be right next to the breast when they show their feeding cues making it easy to latch them on. Keep your baby skin to skin as much as possible during the first weeks of life. It’s also a great parenting tool to use as your baby gets older to calm them.
Good information and support is essential when breastfeeding. Every parent has their own feeding goals for their baby. My goal is to help you meet your goal, whatever that may be. No judgment, just guidance and love. You’ve got this!
*Disclaimer: Any content provided by doulasmilwaukee.com is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for personalized medical advice by your doctor, midwife, or other healthcare professional. Click return to homepage.